To the best of my knowledge, “Frogs” is the first I’ve heard of Grundik + Slava. I definitely had no clue what to expect, but I more or less took the cute frog drawing on the cover as an indication that it would either be really good or really bad. Luckily, this record falls into the latter category.
The audio here is a really cool take on the experimental ambient genre, creating beautiful soundscapes using dark synth sweeps, found sounds, guitars and a bunch of other things. There are a few tracks where they go into completely different territory- especially the second track, ‘a frog gets over his fear of water’, which sounds like some aliens kidnapped a funk band- but mostly they stick to the really experimental ambient stuff. “Frogs” also features the talents of Chaos As Shelter, Igor Krutugolov and Victoria Hanna, the latter of which contributes vocals on half of the tracks, giving them a really weird feel, adding a somewhat playful side to the darker tracks. I especially love her vocals on the fourth track, “women of rain forest”. imagine if the vocalist from melt banana took a lot of lithium and really sang; it’s bizarre and cute, but undeniably beautiful.
There are some more traditional middle eastern elements here and there, but mostly this disc keeps to its really nice experimental dark ambient textures with the previously mentioned hanna’s vocals popping in to add even more texture. There are always new sounds coming into the mix, it never gets boring. In a lot of ways this makes me think of Throbbing Gristle’s more soundscape driven works, because it has that definite vibe to it.
This album rules! Go embrace the frog now, motherfucker!
Grundik and Slava, the highly respected and fruitful duo that originated in Israel in 1994, currently share their time navigating their music between Israel and New York. On Frogs, they benefit from the undeciphered vocals of Victoria Hanna (at times whispering in a Gilli Smyth manner), and some bass work by Kruzenshtern & Parohod’s Igor Krutogolov; but most of all they rely on their own vision and their own means (such as computer, guitar, drum machine and field recordings, not to forget their skills) to execute it.
Frogs is to electronic music what Egberto Gismonti’s Danca Das Cabecas (1977) is to jazz and Peccatum’s Lost in Reverie (2004) is to metal: a journey that stretches beyond the boundaries of a genre, avoiding preconceived limitations and definitions, and bridging between the tangible and the metaphysical, while navigating between the structured and unstructured.
The music presented here is a carefully unfolding organic adventure with its background and foreground merging into a single entity, making each listening equivalent to a trip in wild nature, ranging from the tribal and eerie to the meditative and relaxing, and with so much finesse that it can only be partially absorbed on each trip; hence, remaining fresh with every listen.
Frogs is one of the most articulate electronica offerings I have ever heard, and a must have for anyone with even a mild interest in avant-garde electronica that is completely free of commercial considerations. (9.5/10)
After “For electronics and birds” the album “Frogs” is the second in Grundik + Slava’s fauna series. As the title presumes, all the music is dedicated to frogs. The titles of the songs enhance this presumption even more. As on it’s predesessor “For electronics and birds” the electronic music is amplified by sound of nature on the eternal quest towards the ideal sound.
The electronic music of Grundik + Slava always been defined by orginality and “Frogs” can’t be anything else but again a real gem. The natural sound of frogs, birds and the rainforest combined with the experimental electronica gives the listener enough impact to wish there actually are raindrops falling on your head. A refreshing shower would lighten up the music even more, but even without there is enough life to be seated inside.
On “Frogs” Grundik + Slava choose to be accompanied by the female singer Victoria Hanna. With her frail but very beautiful voice she can be heared on many songs. This creates an extra soundlayer with give the idea of the fauna in the music an even greater edge. One doesn’t feel love for frogs to find the gem in this album. For the lover of experimental electronica this is an absolute musthave.
Grundik + Slava are pioneers on the erea of israelic/american electronic music and “Frogs” shows they still reside at the top. The joint release between Auris Media Records and Thophet Prophet made it possible this gem could be released.