AND TO MY MIND, THE LOSS IS WORTH THE GAIN
My last impression of British composer Will Frampton’s music was Enûma Eliš, a dramatic song cycle set on the Babylonian myth of creation. And to My Mind, the Loss is Worth the Gain his latest project creates no connection whatsoever to this past work, and actually provides a daring contrast to Frampton’s musical imagination. If the previous album was although quite progressive in its own way yet following the classical tradition, making full use of acoustic instrumentations — soprano and trio —, this new release sets the scene to a completely opposite electronic world; where textures of strings and idiophones reign supreme.
And to My Mind, the Loss is Worth the Gain starts with “Eniuq”, a piece which features composer and producer Heron, is a little under two minutes long, and incredibly dense and packed with musical ideas; additive process, elements of orientalism as well as of free jazz and avant-garde. “Two-Level” balances on an urban and electric side, and drives an almost anxious pulse through a crescendo of gliding bass and towards an almost R&B and hip-hop relieving climax, and returns abruptly to urban textures. “Figure and Ground”, stays on a rhythm-centered urban complex and develops into a dance track where a growling bass redirects the music into trip-hop and dub worlds. “Wild Yellow/Wild Red” maintains some of these driven elements, but this time navigates towards Eastern music territories; it feels like a prelude to an interlude which is to come shortly after. “Halos, Coronas, Afterglows” stays on the electric side once again — after all, it is the main underlying architecture of And to My Mind, the Loss is Worth the Gain. This piece is however complexier, notably in the instrumentation and diversity of the sound palette. “Oyster” is the axis of symmetry of the album and is in essence a lot more of a soundscape, deconstructed into what seems to be a quiet, peaceful interlude. It is one of the most interesting pieces in its sound textures and sculptures. “SL #641”, seems to find a better balance between avant-garde and accessible music — perhaps one of the hidden intentions of Frampton; once more, the piece is rich in sounds and ideas. “ɯ+4 “ use another very contrasting set of sounds, through shimmering bells and urban electronica. “Pearl”, like “Oysters”, is an electronic soundscape which builds into an ambient light track. Finally, “HOLISM” closes the album and features once again Heron and his accents of free jazz explorations.
It is really in the production of And to My Mind, the Loss is Worth the Gain that Frampton reveals himself. The album is quite a nicely polished piece of work, indeed, in which there does not seem to be a strong sense of rigid direction, rather each idea seems to float and leave space to the other creating musical cohesion. I have listened to And to My Mind, the Loss is Worth the Gain multiple times and after several listenings, as well as an interview with the composer himself, I really feel like there is a lot more to the album that can be perceived through a superficial approach. There is an obvious nod to the works of Björk — acknowledged by the composer himself —, and if it seems surprising to the listener, it is because Frampton has placed himself out of his comfort zone, yet remaining in full control of his musical actions. There are no insecurities about the musical territories that the composer has decided to navigate, in fact, he has made them his. It is well advised to immerse oneself fully in And to My Mind, the Loss is Worth the Gain!