“The key ingredient in all of the tunes is Jan Todd’s singing which stops you in your tracks and is the voice of someone who knows precisely how she can use her singing to speak directly to the listener.” – Chris Baber, JAZZ VIEWS
The Weight of Clouds is the third album for multi-instrumentalist frostlake (Jan Todd) and is a double length box of delights. It is a large collection of songs written 2020-2021, when staying in was the new going out.
“The Weight of Clouds is a spellbinding album from frostlake, the project of multi-instrumentalist, composer and songwriter Jan Todd (Orchestra of The Upper Atmosphere). frostlake presents a beautifully-constructed album with gorgeous whispered and layered vocals, deeply inspired by British progressive psychedelia and folk-rock, along with a wide range of captivating musical instruments that include folk-style and psychedelic guitars, bass, mesmerizing electronic soundscapes, percussion and more.” – Angel Romero – Progressive Rock Central
It builds on the debut CD White Moon, Black Moon’s observation of the natural world and the second CD Ice & Bone’s reflection and personal memories. This new album takes a step into daylight towards skies and stars, away from dark dreams and horrors, but still maintains an unsettling, eerie calm in very British psychedelia.
“The sixteen tracks and well over an hour that is on offer here cover all moods and situations, but always with the bright and sunlit outlook that evokes the arrival of spring. The Weight Of Clouds is a delight from start to finish.” – Mr Olivetti- FREQ
“You absolutely need to listen to the whole album…. because there are beautiful ‘hidden’ melodies to be discovered, such as the amazing Five A.M. There’s not a single weak moment to be heard, and while listening it definitely puts you in a Nordic mood, kinda celtic/folk/scandi ish if you know what I mean. Without a doubt, this is a surprising release and one to check out if you want to hear something really authentic.”
– Gabor Kleinbloesem, STRUTTER’ZINE
A strong song-writing partnership has developed between Jan and Terry Todd and half of the material is co-written. Terry Todd’s acoustic bass and 12 string guitar hold together rolling rhythms in psychedelic soundscapes, often made otherworldly with Jan Todd’s hushed or layered, soaring vocals. The more organic voices of assorted acoustic instruments blend into atmospheric electronics, giving that distinctive frostlake feel.
The Weight of Clouds is an eclectic mix, from the bold and upbeat cinematic, quirky or stripped back guitar and vocals, to the ambient or quietly pastoral and is one to dip into time and again.
frostlake – Jan Todd – vocals, voices, lyrics, acoustic/electric/12 string guitars, E-bow, floor harp, cross strung harp, soprano lyre, jouhikko, alto tagelharpa, viola, e-violin, clarinet, melodica, Hulusi flutes, Idiopan, Korg MS2000, midi keys, Korg wave-drum,
Drum creations, percussion, electronics, field recordings.
Terry Todd – acoustic-electric bass guitar, 12 string guitar.
Jan Todd is interviewed by Lee Henderson for the magazine Big Beautiful Noise – read it via this link.
The set (the third release from frostlake) not only showcase Jan Todd’s haunting singing (often layered so that ghostly echoes and harmonies of her voice have the intensity of a choir) but also the wide repertoire of instruments that she uses to provide colour and context to her songs. Terry Todd, who co-wrote half of the songs of this set, is a sympathetic rhythm section with bass and 12-string guitar driving the emotional intensity of the songs. Having said that, it would be wrong to separate the duo into individual components because the flow and balance of the music depends so heavily on the understanding they have in their playing. As with any Discus release, trying to pigeon-hole this music into a single genre is foolish. There are hints of folk and traditional music, in the lyrics and the vocal phrasing; there are hints of electronica and ambient music, in the layers of sonic textures; there are hints of jazz, particularly in the bass lines and chord structures; and, at times, there is a song of folk-rock in the ways the percussion and drum patterns can drive the music (but much of this is tempered by, for me, a sense of indie music from the ‘80s, particularly on the opening track ‘The Ultimate Thrill’). The structure of the songs, and their ordering on the album, provide a sense of a journey, albeit one in which one travels on a ‘rainbow in curved air’ (to borrow the title from Terry Riley, who also sprang to mind when listening the subtly shifting rhythms in the pieces). I could continue listing genres and the ways in which these intertwine in the music here, but the key ingredient in all of the tunes is Jan Todd’s singing which stops you in your tracks and is the voice of someone who knows precisely how she can use her singing to speak directly to the listener. – Chris Baber, JAZZ VIEWS https://www.jazzviews.net/
Jan Todd‘s third outing as Frostlake finds her appearance as part of The Orchestra Of The Upper Atmosphere lending a warmer and more open feel to this double-length collection when compared to the icier, more dramatic Ice And Bone from 2019. There is a lightness and an airiness to her voice this time around that brings to mind the first shoots of spring bringing to an end the great thaw of Ice And Bone’s winter. Jan’s voice and the ’80s influenced production of opener “The Ultimate Thrill” does briefly echo the Cocteau Twins; and really, it is that dreamlike sensation, the diaphanous ease that causes the turn of the ear, but the cello break and the light patter of the drums change the mood. Jan is quite the multi-instrumentalist and plays everything herself, apart from some assistance from Terry Todd on bass and twelve-string guitar. There are all sorts of guitars and harps and a lyre. There is viola and clarinet and loads of percussion, let alone the found sounds. It is a hugely impressive array and one that finds Jan choosing the perfect accompaniment in each case, be it the echoing cloisters of “Strange Land”, with its air of mystery and devotion, or the coastal Riviera breeze of “Always There”. There is a delicate sense of motion throughout The Weight Of Clouds that lends a clearer, less dense feel than the more claustrophobic previous album. It all feels effortless, the swirl of accordion on “Hidden Walls” like morning mist or the whisper of oboe on “Blue Into Gold” lending pastoral tranquillity. The pieces are all so carefully constructed, with the addition of found sounds and field recordings the icing on each cake or sparkling motes as light hits a canvas. The pieces are always welcoming, but there may be a hint of yearning as found in the guitar tone of “Another Room, Another World”, while the bass-led lullaby “In The Stars” is a delight. A word must be said of Terry’s bass playing, which is supple and really tasteful, often appearing to lend some freedom to the tracks and allowing Jan an opportunity to push into a freer direction. The precipitate, almost ambient piano and ethereal voice of “Anchored”, with its ache of violin, is one direction, while there is a sense of doubt that hangs over “A Piece Of Me”. Jan’s drumming has a strength and efficiency which pushes those tracks so well-propelled beyond folk and funnily enough, in places, I am reminded of some of the more adventurous indie stuff from the ’80s. By the time we arrive at the gentle swell of the final track “Clouds”, we have been on quite a journey. The sixteen tracks and well over an hour that is on offer here cover all moods and situations, but always with the bright and sunlit outlook that evokes the arrival of spring. The Weight Of Clouds is a delight from start to finish. – Mr Olivetti, FREQ
Frostlake centers around multi-instrumentalist Jan Todd (with assistance on acoustic/electric bass guitar and 12-string guitar from Terry Todd), who, on this third outing, strikes aural gold. Not that the previous two releases were but prelude, mind you. It just seems boldly apparent that Todd’s opened up vast, unheard worlds in his quest for the ideal copy. This entire album simply soars, adrift on the kind of strange, otherworldly cadences that so besot some of the finest British psych and experimental mindsets propagated throughout the 60s and 70s, when rock music wasn’t content with the vagaries of popularism and sought to reinvent itself in often arresting ways. Frostlake upholds those legacies without aping them wholecloth, both absorbing past influences and sucking the listener to its pastorally-piquant vortex. Jan Todd’s heavenly vocals, delicately threaded throughout the album’s gentle fires, suggest shafts of sunlight glimpsed betwixt fog-enshrouded woodlands, the rustling of pinecones by unidentified fauna, and all sorts of Lewis B. Carroll hallucinogenics magically brought to life. The elegiac “Liquid Life”, with its miasmic coos and silvery whispers, augmented by will-o’-the-wisp electronics, soft-pawed beats, and the trilling throb of holiday-season bells, reveals this recording’s inventive soul in microcosm. But the delights hardly end there: “Give It Time” and “In the Stars” might be the bastard offspring of Lemon Kittens and the Legendary Pink Dots glimpsed through rose-colored glasses, with a decidedly feminine bent. And the acousmata of the closing “Clouds”, awash in airy drift and heavy-hearted melancholia, serves as nothing less than the perfect coda to Frostlake’s latest, enigmatic offering. – Darren Bergstein, Downtown Music Galley, NYC
Enchanted and bewitching – like they invented a whole world and kept it going right through the album – I love this! – Dereck Higgins, Tuesday video blog
Now this is a very interesting release on the DISCUS MUSIC label, because it is early 70s prog/psychedelic folk related and features female vocals, which is something we haven’t heard before on this label. It concerns the 3rd album of FROSTLAKE, which is the pseudonym of multi-instrumentalist JAN TODD. Jan sings and plays guitar, E-bow, harp, viola, clarinet, electronics, percussion and a lot more, and I have to admit that she is a very talented musician/singer/songwriter when hearing her sing and play. Along with TERRY TODD on bass and 12-string guitar, they wrote and recorded together the new album The Weight Of Clouds, which consists of 16 songs that were written and recorded during the pandemic. The result is a lovely diverse album that clearly has an own identity, although you can smell the influences of the early 1970s British psychedelic/folk very clearly. I think people who appreciate for example artists/bands like MARISSA NADLER, JESSICA PRATT, ANNA VON HAUSWOLFF, PENTANGLE, RENAISSANCE, and such, they will also love the psychedelic calm dark atmospheric (electronic light) folk of FROSTLAKE. I enjoyed this album from start to finish, and I’ll bet live on stage it will put you into a sorta hypnotic trance. You absolutely need to listen to the whole album, which has a playing time of more than 70 minutes by the way, because there are beautiful ‘hidden’ melodies to be discovered, such as the amazing Five A.M. There’s not a single weak moment to be heard, and while listening it definitely puts you in a Nordic mood, kinda celtic/folk/scandi ish if you know what I mean. Without a doubt, this is a surprising release and one to check out if you want to hear something really authentic. – Gabor Kleinbloesem, STRUTTER’ZINE
Mit The Weight of Clouds (Discus 121) bringen frostlake nach „White Moon, Black Moon“ und „Ice & Bone“ ihr neues Songalbum. Terry Todd ist an Bass- & 12-String-Gitarre wieder der treue Schatten von Jan Todd, die bei der folkloresken Intonation ihrer Poetry selber schon mit Gitarren, seltsamen Harfen, Lyra, Jouhikko, Talharpa, Bratsche, E-Bow, E-Violin, Klarinette, Melodica, Hulusi, Stahlzungentrommel, Drums, Percussion, Midi-Keys und Korgs Althergebrachtes mit Hitech zeit- und hautnah erscheinen lässt. Britisch-pastorale Psychedelia also in der ‘Electric Eden’-Tradition, und Jan Todds heller Gesang schwebt da ätherisch zum heartbeat of the Earth am Gegenpol zu Loot, Loathing and Lunacy. Dabei nennt sie neben Raubbeuterei, Hass und Wahnsinn Liebe als erstes, das Menschen zu Killern macht. Sie sehnt sich nach another strange land als wahrem Zuhause. Geleitet von einer Licht-Gnosis mit umgekehrten Vorzeichen, eine, die sich Schritt für Schritt ins Dunkle wagt, weg von den Seelenlosen, hin zu den verborgenen saviours of light. Einem Licht, das im Dunkeln scheint, anders als der falsche Schein, der die Guten wie Motten anzieht, die sich in Lügengespinsten verfangen, statt ins Blau und Gold einer Blumenwiese zu finden. Gefangen im eigenen Kopf, während draußen eine andere Welt wartet. Das Leben zerrinnt wie Regentropfen an Fensterscheiben, die vom wahren Leben trennen. Vergehen die Sorgen, die Träume, die Missverständnisse mit der Zeit, wenn man sich die Bettdecke über den Kopf zieht? Der Traum, sich als Albatros frei ins Unbekannte zu schwingen? Das aber ist so fern wie ferne Sonnen. Während wir, statt Vater und Mutter zu verlassen und dem Traum zu folgen, vor Anker liegen. Aber wer will die Treue und ein Herz brechen, um einer Verlockung, einer neuen Liebe zu folgen? I’m not free, don’t want to be. The weight of responsibilities wiegt schwerer als Wolken. ‘What Remains’ ist die verrinnende Zeit, the caesium ticks on and on. We’ll all melt away in photons. Einsteins Formeln, Einbahnstraße, freier Fall towards the sun. Wir alle: Keepers of the hours here on Earth. Sie, die Erde, und die Sprache sind unsere Behausung auf Zeit. Und ist Todd nicht eine jener Denkenden und Dichtenden, die Heidegger Hirten und die Wächter dieser Behausung genannt hat und dass ihr Wachen das Vollbringen der Offenbarkeit des Seins sei?– Rigobert Dittmann, BAD ALCHEMY
frostlake presents a beautifully-constructed album with gorgeous whispered and layered vocals, deeply inspired by British progressive psychedelia and folk-rock, along with a wide range of captivating musical instruments that include folk-style and psychedelic guitars, bass, mesmerizing electronic soundscapes, percussion and more. – PROGRESSIVE ROCK CENTRAL http://progressiverockcentral.com/
First impression: although lots of instruments are used, vocals and guitar are most prominent. All songs are consequently framed in the same style with a well-defined, consistent sound format that is carried out from start to finish. This constitutes an otherworldly sounding world of its own compared to what Kate Bush did. Call it pop songs submerged in a slightly psychedelic atmosphere, though with underground aesthetics, but more sophisticated and easy-going. The songs are melancholy and pastoral in the atmosphere. They have a dreamy and ethereal character, sometimes a bit reminding me of the work of Durutti Column. Typical English pop. Very enjoyable, but more contrasts between the tracks would be nice. – Dolf Mulder, VITAL WEEKLY
On avait bien aimé le précédent album du duo anglais FROSTLAKE et on a également bien aimé celui-ci : « The weight of clouds », avec son petit côté folk tout à fait agréable. Jan Todd y joue une série d’instruments et chante, tandis que Terry Todd joue de la guitare et de la basse (acoustique et électrique). Une chouette atmosphère et un bon mix de chansons dont je vous ferai écouter une 1ère chanson dans l’émission du 23/11/2021. – Guy Stuckens, RADIO AIR LIBRE
Much of the music here is as refreshing as a clean breeze from a pristine ocean, just after dusk, and when you need such a replenishment of your sanity. In an innocent constitution of 1960’s haunted folk, mixed with gorgeous floating apparitions and a voice that equals a most gentle angel, Frostlake’s third album ‘The Weight of Clouds’ is as stunningly beautiful as anything you have ever heard in this genre. Images of many, audio portraits of sinewy sirens and ghosts, yet so gentle as a kiss on the lips in your deep sleep, and in dreams of lore, those so welcome. This and more, built on an agile often tribal percussion bed, beautifully laid out rhythmic flow, and primal birth that world music lovers will absorb with glee. If the listener hears a contrast of both the heavenly atmosphere of early music the way not only actual ensembles from early music performed it but also along with more modern outfits who blend the old and new (such as the best of Dead Can Dance, ethereal goth artists from ‘Heavenly Voices’ and that ilk., Plus the pure and soothing 60’s psychedelic folk scene who had the true intent to seduce you into their castles in the air, then you have a nearly full (and I warn you that it is NOT quite full) picture of Frostlake ‘The Weight of Clouds’ (Discuis 121CD). The artists, which consists of only two, and their instruments are : Jan Todd – vocals, voices, lyrics, acoustic & electric 6 and 12 string guitars, E-bow, floor harp, cross strung harp, soprano lyre, jouhikko, alto tagelharpa, viola, e-violin, clarinet, melodica, Hulusi flutes, Idiopan, Korg MS2000, midi keys, Korg wave-drum, drum creations, percussion, electronics, and field recordings / Terry Todd – acoustic-electric bass guitar, 12 string guitar. A beautiful multi panel physical CD package, with gorgeous art, made up of 16 tracks, all with a gentle sweeping effect. (Be sure to check out the interview I did with Jan here at Big Beautiful Noise, to know further facts about her and this recording). While I witnessed the more diverse and build up of gentle to aggressive recordings from the first and second Frostlake albums, this third release is more consistent with the over all tempo and temperament, which keeps the listener in a soft cradle throughout. Yet compositions do introduce a hint of what is to come, with numbers like ‘Another Room, Another World’ (track #7). Of course this was a time when so many (if not all of the world) were captive and held in their dwellings, had time to reflect or panic (as it seems the high powers so much hoped for), or make the most intimate and emotional pieces of music of their lives. Jan Todd, who most recognize as a strong composer and musician of Orchestra of The Upper Atmosphere (another gem of an outfit on Discus Music), has what appears to be unlimited skills and reserve to produce multiple projects. She also chose to reflect and make music from her soul. If the recording has any slant to the balance of what is so far described, it would be to the devotional, dreamy, delicate, and radiant cuts to usher each recipient into a carpet ride among the sweet blue clouds, and lofty heavens above.Jan’s completely pure vocal work, often layered, is at the steering wheel and is impossible to dislike or not be mesmerized by. Once you get to the end tracks, it is for certain one will get taken in by the rich ‘What Remains’ (track #15) . The concluding piece ‘Clouds’ is as great a last track as ever was. Some might hear it as the mournful last farewell at the grave-site, others a nocturnal sleep time, but however it is translated, it gives finalization to the album, and brings tears from the grace it emphasizes. The last seconds of it reveals wee morning hours with just a capture of birds singing, The dream is over and the next day is now. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED and this sits on the TOP CHOICES of 2021 list at Big Beautiful Noise. – Lee Henderson https://www.bigbeautifulnoise.com/frostlake-the-weight-of-clouds-2021?fbclid=IwAR2Y1t81NN4y0sBG5BJOGTQmYKlyUFng33lS47dVdsF8WCt0c5eslfItIZA
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