Felt Mountain

Felt Mountain is the debut studio album by English electronic music duo Goldfrapp. It was released on 11 September 2000 by Mute Records. The album takes influence from a variety of music styles such as 1960s pop, cabaret, folk and electronica.[4]

Felt Mountain
Feltmountain.PNG
Studio album by
Released11 September 2000 (2000-09-11)
RecordedSeptember 1999 – February 2000
Studio
Genre
Length39:32
LabelMute
Producer
Goldfrapp chronology
Felt Mountain
(2000)
Black Cherry
(2003)
Singles from Felt Mountain
  1. "Lovely Head"
    Released: 15 May 2000
  2. "Utopia"
    Released: 16 October 2000
  3. "Human"
    Released: 26 February 2001
  4. "Utopia (Genetically Enriched)"
    Released: 11 June 2001
  5. "Pilots"
    Released: 5 November 2001

Felt Mountain was generally well received by music critics, and was described as "simultaneously smarmy and seductive, yet elegant and graceful".[5] It peaked at number 57 on the UK Albums Chart, and was certified gold by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) in October 2001. In 2001, the album was shortlisted for the Mercury Prize, an annual music prize awarded for the best British or Irish album from the previous year.

Recording and productionEdit

Goldfrapp signed a recording contract with London-based record label Mute Records in August 1999.[6] The pair began recording their debut album over a six-month period, beginning in September 1999, in a rented bungalow in the Wiltshire countryside.[6] The recording process was difficult for Alison Goldfrapp, who was often alone and disturbed by the mice and insects in the bungalow.[6] Gregory described their recording sessions as intense because he was unaccustomed to composing with others.[7] Goldfrapp contributed the album's lyrics, and Gregory and Goldfrapp composed the music together.[7] The lyrics are abstract obsessional tales inspired by films, Goldfrapp's childhood, and the loneliness she felt while recording the album.[6] Musically, the album takes influence from a variety of styles including 1960s pop, cabaret, folk, and electronica.[4]

SongsEdit

"Lovely Head", Felt Mountain's opening track, features high lonesome whistling and heavily processed vocals. The song was described as influenced by Shirley Bassey and released as the album's lead single.[8] The second track, "Paper Bag", is about being obsessed with someone and not being able to have them.[9] It is followed by the third single "Human", a track with a mambo-style beat.[9] The fourth song, "Pilots", which describes travelers floating in the atmosphere above the earth, was inspired by John Barry's James Bond theme songs.[9] A remixed version of the song was released as a single in the United Kingdom, reaching number 68 on the UK Singles Chart.[10]

The ballad "Deer Stop" features childlike vocals and sexually suggestive lyrics.[5] The title track was influenced by Goldfrapp's "idea of a wolf being whipped in this little Tudor house overlooking a snowy landscape".[9] "Oompa Radar", the seventh track, was inspired by Roman Polanski's 1966 film Cul-de-Sac.[9] The cabaret-influenced song uses a flugelhorn and a cuckoo clock to switch between tempos.[11][8] "Utopia" was released as the album's second single. The album closes with "Horse Tears", a minimalist piano ballad with filtered vocals.[11]

Critical receptionEdit

Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic     [4]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music     [12]
The Guardian     [13]
Melody Maker     [14]
Muzik5/5[15]
NME6/10[16]
Pitchfork8.0/10[5]
Q     [17]
Rolling Stone     [18]
Uncut     [19]

AllMusic reviewer Heather Phares referred to the album as a "strange and beautiful mix of the romantic, eerie, and world-weary" and named it "one of 2000's most impressive debuts".[4] Eric Wittmershaus of Flak Magazine called Felt Mountain "an enchanting, accessible debut", citing "Human" and "Deer Stop" as its best songs.[11] In a review for Pitchfork, Matt LeMay described the album as "elegant and graceful", but felt that the "songs aren't all that different from one another."[5] Sacha Esterson of musicOMH compared Felt Mountain to Portishead and wrote that it could be a "contender for the year's best album".[20] Yahoo! Music's Ken Micallef commented that the duo "make elegiac music as elegant as 'Diamonds Are Forever' and as haunting as Bobbie Gentry's 'Ode to Billie Joe'", concluding that the album's "dark night of the soul is mostly bleak, beautiful, and deliciously bizarre."[21] Andrew Lynch of entertainment.ie noted that "[a]lthough at times it feel [sic] a little contrived, for the most part this is stylishly decadent music that should appeal to all fans of film noir."[22] NME viewed the album as "cold, desolate and old-fashioned" and argued that Felt Mountain was not a "bad concept" except that "Portishead got there first, and managed to update the spy-film vibe with a hefty dose of break-driven twilight melancholia."[16]

Q magazine included the album on its list of the top 50 albums of 2000.[23] The following year, Felt Mountain was shortlisted for the Mercury Prize, an annual music prize awarded for the best British or Irish album from the previous year.[24] In 2006, the album was included in Robert Dimery's book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.[25] In November 2009, The Times ranked Felt Mountain at number 16 on its list of the 100 best pop albums of the 2000s.[26] The album was placed at number 94 on Slant Magazine's list of the best albums of the 2000s.[27]

Commercial performanceEdit

Felt Mountain debuted at number 144 on the UK Albums Chart, selling 914 copies in its first week.[28] In September 2001, the album peaked at number 57, and had sold 177,096 copies by August 2005.[28] Felt Mountain was certified gold by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) on 12 October 2001.[29] In France, the album reached number 48, and remained on the albums chart for 11 weeks.[30] It reached the top 40 in Germany[31] and the top 50 in Australia[32] and Austria.[33] Despite not appearing on any major charts in North America, Felt Mountain had sold 52,000 copies in the United States as of August 2006.[34] As of April 2003, the album had sold 500,000 copies worldwide.[35]

Track listingEdit

All lyrics written by Alison Goldfrapp;[7] all music composed by Will Gregory and Goldfrapp, except where noted.

No.TitleLength
1."Lovely Head"3:49
2."Paper Bag"4:05
3."Human" (music: Tim Norfolk; Bob Locke; Goldfrapp; Gregory)4:36
4."Pilots"4:29
5."Deer Stop"4:06
6."Felt Mountain"4:17
7."Oompa Radar"4:42
8."Utopia"4:18
9."Horse Tears"5:10
Total length:39:32
Special edition bonus disc[36]
No.TitleLength
1."Pilots (On a Star)"3:57
2."UK Girls (Physical)" (writers: Steve Kipner, Terry Shaddick)4:52
3."Lovely Head" (Miss World Mix)3:51
4."Utopia" (New Ears Mix)3:10
5."Human" (Calexico Vocal)4:50
6."Human" (Massey's Cro-Magnon Mix)5:56
7."Utopia" (Tom Middleton's Cosmos Vocal Mix)8:19
8."A Trip to Felt Mountain" (visual content)7:19

PersonnelEdit

Credits adapted from the liner notes of Felt Mountain.[37]

GoldfrappEdit

Additional musiciansEdit

  • Stuart Gordon – violin, viola (tracks 1, 9); tremolo violins (track 6); violin solo (track 9)
  • Adrian Utley – bass guitar (tracks 1, 4); synth, tremolo bass guitar (track 2)
  • Nick Batt – bass synth (track 1); metal percussion (track 3); additional programming (tracks 1, 3, 4, 8)
  • John Parish – drums (tracks 1, 2, 9); bass guitar, tremolo guitar (track 9)
  • Alexander Bălănescu – violin (tracks 2, 5, 8)
  • Sonia Slany – violin (tracks 2–5, 8)
  • Nick Barr – viola (tracks 2, 5, 8)
  • Nick Cooper – cello (tracks 2–5, 8)
  • Mary Scully – double bass (tracks 2, 5, 8)
  • Andy Davis – baritone ukulele, melodica, koto (track 2)
  • Mute Male Voices – humming (track 2)
  • Jacqueline Norrie – violin (tracks 3, 4)
  • Bill Hawkes – viola (tracks 3, 4)
  • Rowan Oliver – percussion (tracks 3, 4)
  • Andy Bush – trumpet (track 3); flugelhorn solo (track 7)
  • Ben Waghorn – tenor saxophone (track 3)
  • John Cornick – trombone (track 3)
  • Clive Deamerbrushes (track 4)
  • Steve MacAllister – French horn (track 6)
  • Steven Claydon – synth (track 6, 8)
  • Flowers Band – brass band (track 7)
  • Tony Orrell – drums (tracks 7, 8)
  • Luke Gordon – additional programming (tracks 3, 4)
  • Chris Weston – additional programming (track 8)

TechnicalEdit

  • Will Gregory – production
  • Alison Goldfrapp – production
  • Dave Bascombe – additional mixing (track 8)
  • Nick Batt – additional mixing (track 3); additional engineering (all tracks)
  • Kevin Paul – additional mixing (tracks 2, 5); additional engineering (all tracks)
  • Luke Gordon – additional engineering
  • David Lord – additional engineering
  • John Dent – mastering

ArtworkEdit

  • Alison Goldfrapp – sleeve design
  • Joe Dilworth – inside photo of Will Gregory, cover photo
  • Anna Fox – inside photo of Alison Goldfrapp
  • C. L. Schmidt – landscape photography
  • Günter Gräfenhain – landscape photography

ChartsEdit

Chart (2000–01) Peak
position
Australian Albums (ARIA)[32] 44
Austrian Albums (Ö3 Austria)[33] 44
French Albums (SNEP)[30] 48
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)[31] 36
Scottish Albums (OCC)[38] 50
Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade)[39] 98
UK Albums (OCC)[40] 57
UK Independent Albums (OCC)[41] 10

CertificationsEdit

Region Certification Certified units/sales
United Kingdom (BPI)[29] Gold 177,096[28]

Release historyEdit

Region Date Format Edition Label
United Kingdom[42] 11 September 2000 Standard Mute
United States[43] 19 September 2000
  • CD
  • digital download
United Kingdom 15 October 2001 2-CD Special

NotesEdit

  1. ^ Vocals on "Human"

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ White, Chris (30 March 2017). "Goldfrapp – Silver Eye". musicOMH. Retrieved 18 December 2018.
  2. ^ Koski, Genevieve (25 February 2008). "Goldfrapp: Seventh Tree". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 8 May 2019.
  3. ^ Blashill, Pat (15 May 2003). "Goldfrapp: Black Cherry". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 17 April 2008. Retrieved 27 January 2017.
  4. ^ a b c d Phares, Heather. "Felt Mountain – Goldfrapp". AllMusic. Retrieved 21 July 2016.
  5. ^ a b c d LeMay, Matt (19 September 2000). "Goldfrapp: Felt Mountain". Pitchfork. Retrieved 3 December 2008.
  6. ^ a b c d Simpson, Dave (4 May 2001). "Interview with Alison Goldfrapp". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 July 2016.
  7. ^ a b c Flinn, Sean (25 January 2002). "Scaling Felt Mountain". Choler Magazine. Archived from the original on 5 February 2009. Retrieved 5 December 2008.
  8. ^ a b Reno, Brad. "Goldfrapp". Trouser Press. Retrieved 3 December 2008.
  9. ^ a b c d e Micallef, Ken (17 December 2000). "Whips, Wolves, & Tricky". Yahoo! Music. Archived from the original on 18 July 2011. Retrieved 3 December 2008.
  10. ^ "Goldfrapp". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 21 July 2016.
  11. ^ a b c Wittmershaus, Eric (10 October 2000). "Review of Goldfrapp's Felt Mountain". Flak Magazine. Archived from the original on 5 February 2009. Retrieved 3 December 2008.
  12. ^ Larkin, Colin (2011). The Encyclopedia of Popular Music (5th concise ed.). Omnibus Press. ISBN 0-85712-595-8.
  13. ^ Clarke, Betty (8 September 2000). "Visions of an ice queen". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077.
  14. ^ "Goldfrapp: Felt Mountain". Melody Maker. 17 October 2000. p. 59. ISSN 0025-9012.
  15. ^ Green, Thomas H. (October 2000). "Goldfrapp: Felt Mountain (Mute)". Muzik. No. 65. p. 74. ISSN 1358-541X.
  16. ^ a b Ward, Christian (12 September 2000). "Goldfrapp – Felt Mountain". NME. Archived from the original on 17 October 2000. Retrieved 7 June 2019.
  17. ^ "Goldfrapp: Felt Mountain". Q. No. 169. October 2000. p. 117. ISSN 0955-4955.
  18. ^ Hunter, James (10 May 2001). "Goldfrapp: Felt Mountain". Rolling Stone. pp. 88–90. ISSN 0035-791X. Archived from the original on 30 January 2002. Retrieved 11 February 2018.
  19. ^ "Goldfrapp: Felt Mountain". Uncut. No. 41. October 2000. p. 82. ISSN 1368-0722.
  20. ^ Esterson, Sacha (2000). "Goldfrapp – Felt Mountain (Mute)". musicOMH. Retrieved 21 July 2016.
  21. ^ Micallef, Ken (29 November 2000). "Felt Mountain". Yahoo! Music. Archived from the original on 5 January 2013. Retrieved 3 March 2012.
  22. ^ Lynch, Andrew (15 September 2000). "Goldfrapp – Felt Mountain". entertainment.ie. Archived from the original on 29 September 2012. Retrieved 5 April 2011.
  23. ^ Flynn, Mike (September 2000). "Felt Mountain – A Strange & Beautiful Place". Q. Archived from the original on 6 February 2009. Retrieved 4 December 2008 – via Munkio.
  24. ^ "Mercury Music Prize: The nominees". BBC News. 25 July 2001. Retrieved 31 January 2009.
  25. ^ Dimery, Robert; Lydon, Michael (23 March 2010). 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die: Revised and Updated Edition. Universe Publishing. ISBN 978-0-7893-2074-2.
  26. ^ "The 100 best pop albums of the Noughties". The Times. 21 November 2009. Retrieved 2 May 2010.
  27. ^ "Best of the Aughts: Albums". Slant Magazine. 1 February 2010. Retrieved 8 May 2019.
  28. ^ a b c "Oasis score eighth number one hit single". Music Week. 30 August 2005. Archived from the original on 6 July 2015. Retrieved 21 July 2016.
  29. ^ a b "British album certifications – Goldfrapp – Felt Mountain". British Phonographic Industry. 12 October 2001. Retrieved 27 March 2013. Select albums in the Format field. Select Gold in the Certification field. Type Felt Mountain in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  30. ^ a b "Lescharts.com – Goldfrapp – Felt Mountain". Hung Medien. Retrieved 21 July 2016.
  31. ^ a b "Offiziellecharts.de – Goldfrapp – Felt Mountain" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 21 July 2016.
  32. ^ a b "Australiancharts.com – Goldfrapp – Felt Mountain". Hung Medien. Retrieved 21 July 2016.
  33. ^ a b "Austriancharts.at – Goldfrapp – Felt Mountain" (in German). Hung Medien. Retrieved 21 July 2016.
  34. ^ Caulfield, Keith (3 August 2006). "Ask Billboard: 'Gold'finger". Billboard. Retrieved 21 March 2013.
  35. ^ Williamson, Nigel (19 April 2003). "Global Music Pulse: Mountain Climbers". Billboard. Vol. 115 no. 16. p. 41. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved 25 October 2017 – via Google Books.
  36. ^ "Felt Mountain [Bonus Disc] – Goldfrapp". AllMusic. Retrieved 21 July 2016.
  37. ^ Felt Mountain (liner notes). Goldfrapp. Mute Records. 2000. CDSTUMM188.CS1 maint: others (link)
  38. ^ "Official Scottish Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 21 July 2016.
  39. ^ "Swisscharts.com – Goldfrapp – Felt Mountain". Hung Medien. Retrieved 21 July 2016.
  40. ^ "Official Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 21 July 2016.
  41. ^ "Official Independent Albums Chart Top 50". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 21 July 2016.
  42. ^ "Felt Mountain: Goldfrapp". Amazon (UK). Retrieved 21 July 2016.
  43. ^ "Felt Mountain – Goldfrapp (CD – Mute / Universal Music #9135)". AllMusic. Retrieved 21 July 2016.