such a shame that i found you too late, i really would like to own the second continent, too :( always there is another great album and i love every single song. the combination of ambient sound with field records are still amazing. drifting satellite is one of my favorites, but it's not my final favorite.
Favorite track: Drifting Satellite.
With his latest album Always There, Somewhere, Frond charts a journey of personal discovery through friendship. It’s a record about finding answers in each other, rather than from only within ourselves. Though the ideas formed pre-pandemic, the themes of social connection and tactility seem to foretell what we are now craving.
The key theme is about permanence. “Connections may be lost in time but our actions make their mark in history; they can't be undone and will always be there, somewhere ” says the artist Richard Bultitude. One connection Richard valued immensely was his friendship with musician Tom Relleen, who the album is dedicated to. Before Tom's death from cancer in August, Tom was able to provide invaluable input and steer the record into the bright, beguiling and coherent long player it is today.
Richard believes that documenting important moments and trying to preserve them is woven into the fabric of being human. Whilst field recording is still a niche practice, Frond believes that capturing the sounds of a place is as essential as taking a picture. The church bells in Realisation are an instantly recognisable signal of celebration and the passage of time. The silky hisses used throughout Every Particle are the slowed down sounds of a campfire recorded very close up (a cheap mic was sacrificed for this purpose) and are there to represent sensuality, intimacy and emotional chemistry. Later on in the record we encounter a chorus of insects in the opening of Ascending. They were recorded in a dark sky area where there was a clear view towards the galactic centre. The music attempts to capture the sensation that we’re being slowly pulled towards it — enveloped by it.
Using bold scales, bespoke string instruments and crystal clear arrangements, the album is a confident sequel to the darker, abstract solipsism of 2014’s 'The Second Continent'. This earlier Frond is not completely unrecognisable here; there's still enough of the artist's unique sound design, intense atmospheres and mournful chord progressions for this release to cement his sound within the ambient genre.
Frond was in no hurry to complete this project, which was a two year labour of love. He gave himself the space he needed to select his sound palette, process his recordings and carefully arrange each piece. Like the listening experience itself, it was worth taking time over.
Review by (pob) in Gonzo (circus) magazine:
"De Britse kunstenaar Richard Bultitude maakt onder de naam Frond herinneringsdocumenten uit samengestelde geluidscomposities en veldopnamen. 'Always There, Somewhere' is zijn tweede uitgave op het nederlandse Esc.rec.-label. De klankverslagen op deze gelimiteerde cassette zijn op ambient geörienteerde weefsels waarbij rustgevende veldopnamen deinen in droomachtige sferen die zich met mijmeringen laten vullen. Bultitude werkte twee jaar aan dit album en kreeg extra emotionele input van zijn waardevolle en zieke vriend Tom Relleen, muzikant van het experimentele duo Tomaga. De kristalheldere soundscapes hebben donkere en mysterieuze inkleuringen waarbij de toevoegingen van ijle pianoaanslagen (die doen denken aan Harold Budd) de nummers emotioneel geladen maken. Bultitude experimenteert met scherpe sonische invalshoeken en werkt zijn nummers af met geritsel, fluitende vogeltjes, klokken en bitsige effecten. Wanneer de klankconstructies een wat ranzigere inkleuring krijgen worden de raakvlakken met Rapoon en Boards of Canada merkbaar. De mooie arrangementen die door 'Always There, Somewhere' kabbelen, zijn voorzien van onverwachte en experimentele weerhaakjes. Frond brengt een elektronische reis in kaart die gaat over een zoektocht naar verbondenheid tussen het nu en het verleden, een expeditie naar antwoorden over de vergankelijkheid van connecties. Soms lijkt het wel dat de gedurfde toonladders (lees: uit balans en bijna vals) zich als opborrelende falingen en droefenis priemen tussen de schoonheid van dit rijke klankenpalet. Richard Bultitude produceert hier een opmerkelijke verzameling van verfijnde nagedachtenisgeluiden met melancholische diepgang. 'Always There, Somewhere' is aan de muzikant Tom Relleen opgedragen, die op tweeënveertigjarige leeftijd overleed. Een adembenemend mooi en avontuurlijk stukje muziek."
Review on ADSR:
"Frond is the alias of Richard Bultitude, a UK based artist whose speciality lies within soundscapes which reach to define intangible sensations, and transport physical locations into ethereal realms. To achieve this, Frond looks to the genres of ambient, drone and experimental electronica. Field recording is often at the heart of Frond’s style, and serves as the link between physical inspiration behind the track and the final release.
Live instruments and custom-made synth add to the potent balance of familiarity and innovative methodology. The artist’s discography invites calm introspection, oriented towards ambience which looks to progress expansively rather than chronologically.
The latest release from Frond is ‘Every Particle’, an exploration of intimacy and tactile closeness. Carefully manipulated samples of campfire create a calming sound which evades abstraction, falling into the gradual melodies which spread across this patient track. Recorded before the isolation of this year began, it’s an appropriate attempt to recreate a deeply instinctive atmosphere.
The single precludes an upcoming second album titled ‘Always There, Somewhere’ out now on Esc.rec. A collection which considers cinematic tones, string instrumentation and emotionally rich chord progressions, the central aim for ‘Always There, Somewhere’ is to express perspectives on permanence and the lasting connections we create."
Review by Frans de Waard in Vital Weekly:
"It has been a while since I heard 'The Second Continent' by Frond (Vital Weekly 957), which is the music project of Richard Bultitude. "The key theme is about permanence. “Connections may be lost in time but our actions make their mark in history; they can't be undone and will always be there, somewhere,” says the artist". Still, we have no idea as to which instruments are used by Bultitude, but I would think there is a wide range of synthesizers, samplers, keyboards and such like, and among the samples used we find string instruments, percussion, field recordings and voices (and no doubt a bunch of other things. The music is ambient, dark, and moody, but all of that not in an abstract way. Frond is not interested in pressing down a few keys on a keyboard but goes for shortish pieces with a fine melodic touch. The aforementioned influences of Fenesz and Hecker, I would think are still present in the music, such as with the howling guitar sound of 'Every Particle', swooping away, against a hotbed of synthesized sound (which is, according to the information "the slowed-down sounds of a campfire recorded very close up (a cheap mic was sacrificed for this purpose) ". This is the melodic end of ambient music and as such Frond is not frugal on the production. He doesn't care about things be all quiet and introspective, but rather he goes for a full-on sound. It is all very dynamic when it comes to the production of the music. Frond has a keen sense of detail in his pieces and throughout there is quite some variation on this album. Some of these pieces go 'all-out', while others are meandering about, such as the delay heavy 'Fragments Coalesce'. Spacious, full and yet all quite moody and atmospheric; abstract and melodic. Frond apparently worked two years on this album and I can imagine that he needed that time to come up with something this wonderful."
released November 11, 2020
All music, field recordings and production by Richard Bultitude
Artwork by Holger Lippmann
Design by Harco Rutgers