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  • Writer's pictureFrosti Jonsson

A Successful Concoction of the Organic and the Mechanical

Updated: Jul 21, 2023

What a lovely album review music journalist Arnar Eggert wrote about the album tengsl. Thank you for kind words and taking the time to listen and share our story. Listen on Spotify, Apple Music or download and order Limited Edition CD via Bandcamp.

Tengsl is a collaboration between Bistro Boy (Frosti Jónsson) and X.U.L. (Gašper Selko) and is published by the Icelandic Möller Records. The limits and boundaries of music are happily pushed up on this album.

Bistro Boy is Frosti Jónsson's stage name, but he also runs Möller Records along with others, one of Iceland's major electronic music label. Bistro Boy has released all kinds of electronic music in the past decades, sometimes with an "ambient" format and sometimes not, and now it's time for a collaborative project, but the album Tengsl was made with the Slovenian musician X.U.L. (Gašper Selko) - the album seeks inspiration from electronic music, classical music and something in between.

Gašper Selko is a musician and composer but his career began at the music school in Kamnik, Slovenia. His last album is A Guide For Lost Traveler (2021), but a remix of the song "A Morning Song of a Cloudspotter" was their first collaboration.

Frosti describes it as if those companions were brought together by pure chance. Work on the album soon began, in March last year remotely. Arrangements and sheet music were finished in early autumn, and recordings were then made in October. Strings and trumpet where invovled in the making of the album, but all the music is written by Frosti and Gašper, and the strings were recorded in Studio Adergas, Slovenia. Gal Vogric directed the recording, but the instrumentalists were Ana Novak (violin), Abel Modic (violin) and Maša Tomc (cello).

Musicians from different backgrounds have long tried to become unexpected roommates, from the fusion of rap and rock in Judgment Night or then in the series of the Tilraunaeldhús, which carried the title of Ból member since 2000, when the Organ Quartet Apparat won e.g. with radio amateurs ("self-proclaimed friends!" as Hörður Bragason said then).

Here, two men meet, one with roots in classical, while the other has mostly been in the field of electronic music, with classical background as well. And the purpose, is to see what comes out of it, different sectors and approaches are thrown together. The first track, "Eindir I", begins with a beautiful trumpet blast and is not a little reminiscent of the opening track of Talk Talk's 1988 masterpiece, Spirit of Eden. "The Rainbow" began that great journey in the same way, cautiously but still with unhesitating dignity. "Eindir II" delivers with a courtly blast punctuated by a computer "bleep" at the beginning before entering the programmed rhythms.

It all feels that way continued normal, somehow combined and very so modest. The work is more or less like this, a successful concoction of the organic and the mechanical so to speak. See e.g. "Threads II" which continues in "ambient"-dizziness, tasteful short beats and then organic tones that are this time low in the mix. "Eindir V" is super short, piano arrives in the area and gets to hang there alone for the longest time. "Thræðir III" closes the work, beautiful and balanced, where a synthesizer landscape sits under a brass sky. I'll stop listing the whole breakdown as it's unnecessary, the rest is of the same quality standard and I'm not going to "spoil" the whole movie.

A successful date must be guessed and was it blind in the beginning or by chance as Frosti describes. What will happen next, no one knows, but there is certainly a good chance for development and more body, if the comrades choose to do such a thing.

Translated from Icelandic. Original review published June 17th, 2017 in Morgunblaðið and

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