Tuesday, April 23, 2013

black cherry

Goldfrapp moved away from the ambient sounds of their debut towards a driving synthpop strut for this sultry sophomore seduction.  Riding high on the critical success of 'Felt Mountain' the duo of Will Gregory and Alison Goldfrapp moved a bunch of synthesizers and musical equipment into a small studio in Bath, England and began working on 'Black Cherry'.  Goldfrapp reveals:    "It’s funny, because when we did that first album people would say to me ‘what are your influences’ and I’d always say Ennio Morricone and disco and they’d look at me and go ‘what’. This album isn’t a disco album but those records are my influences. What I loved about all of those old disco albums is that they were these big, opulent, fantastic string arrangements, fantasy and you could dance to them as well. When you are a musician, you take little things from lots of different things. What I find frustrating is that people are always trying to pigeonhole what Goldfrapp are about. But to me, this is only the beginning really of a whole load of things. We both have eclectic tastes, but also for me touring that album ('Felt Mountain') and singing those songs over and over again as much as I love them I found the immaculateness, the perfectness and the tempo of it in particular I found really claustrophobic after a while. I longed to express something else. I wanted to give it an energy that wasn’t on the last album...It was really great when we got back into the studio after 'Felt Mountain' and touring a lot to start jamming and playing more stuff ourselves; having fun with it, turning things up and getting a bit more physical with it...We just needed somewhere to put our gear and we had this little studio. We kept having these fantasies that we would go somewhere a lot more elaborate or somewhere with a nice view. But once we got going on the album we got scared to up root ourselves because it might stop so we ended up staying there. It wasn’t really a conscious decision...Ultimately we’re the same two people and where ever we go it’s us. You can’t run away from yourself. Obviously your environment is important but I don’t think it’s that relevant although it can be an inspiration...When I’m making music, the image, the place and where that is and what’s going on in a song runs parallel for me; there all part of the same thing. But then the image you present to the public, your self persona, is completely different which I find quite difficult. It’s not the same creative process as when your writing; making videos and photo shoots. I never look how I really want to look. I always think, ‘God I look crap in that’ or ‘shit, I wish I hadn’t done my hair like that’. You know that’s real whereas in your mind, the fantasy world in your head it all looks like the penultimate video epic film. Then the image is your perception of a personal situation so it’s really important to me but at the same time when your making videos and your doing press shots it’s kind of out of your control. It’s a bit of a weird contradiction, videos. I mean, making a video for a song is just kind of a crazy idea because the song already has a narrative and an image to it and then you make a video and your making another narrative and image and quite often the two don’t gel. You have agendas like what the record company wants, what MTV wants and all this other bullshit that goes into it, what the director wants so it’s very difficult where in your head it can all be much more exciting. But then accidents happen and you can never predict it when your compromising for other people. Sometimes you might not plan something and something fantastic happens. You can’t ever predict those things."

Gregory considers:    "I think we did more jamming on synths with this album. On 'Felt Mountain' we would tend to set up pads with a few other sounds and improvise over that. This time we'd set up a basic beat for a couple of them and improvise with the synths wildly over it, and then go back to find things we liked rather than go for a purposeful melody over a chord. There was improvisation on 'Felt Mountain', but this time it was improvising at a much more basic level — just making noises, really, or events or accidents or things that we liked the sound of that we could loop up. So there was a more fundamental approach, building from sound events. But apart from that I think we just wanted to turn everything up and get a bit more raucous and dirty — have a bit more fun...I think we followed our intuition more this time. We needed to write something that wasn't like 'Felt Mountain', so that was a mission, and we had some ideas about the vocals. Alison's very versatile and has a lot of other voices in her than we got out on 'Felt Mountain' — so we really wanted to explore how we could develop that. We wanted to do vocal harmonies, use layers and different vocal effects. For example, on 'Train' all the harmony is in the vocals, there's no harmony in the track. So we kind of slipped that round a bit."

'Black Cherry' went to number forty-five in France, thirty in Ireland, twenty-five in Germany, nineteen in the UK, and number two in Belgium.  


'Strict Machine' became the first of three consecutive number one hits on the US dance chart for Goldfrapp.  It hit number twenty in the UK.  

'Train' hit number twenty-three in the UK.

'Black Cherry' 

full album:

Black Cherry from Goldfrapp on Myspace.

All tracks written by Alison Goldfrapp and Will Gregory, except where noted.

1. "Crystalline Green" 4:28
2. "Train" 4:11
3. "Black Cherry" 4:56
4. "Tiptoe" 5:10
5. "Deep Honey" 4:01
6. "Hairy Trees" 4:37
7. "Twist" 3:32
8. "Strict Machine" Goldfrapp Gregory Nick Batt 3:51
9. "Forever" 4:14
10. "Slippage" 3:57

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