Fatti Frances – ‘Fatti Frances’
Fatti Frances, the latest pseudonym of Brunswick-grown Raquel Solier, has been around for a minute. After tenures with a spate of indie bands and roaming internationally on the back of her underground successes, Solier launched Fatti Frances as a way to combine her affection for R&B with dark, electronic beats. As we’ve seen with James Blake and more recently EMA, this combination can lead to some pretty interesting, as well as highly acclaimed music.
Solier’s manipulation of the electronic sounds at her disposal is satisfyingly intricate. The music is sparse, invoking a somber mood from which she gradually builds a more engrossing and intimate encounter. Like Blake, her hooks are not so obvious as the R&B or electronic music she draws influence from; they come in the form of mantra-like verses and penetrating beats repeated until they’re buried under the skin. On ‘What You Already Know’, Solier croons “I’m not here tell you what you already know / No-one can hear us, so what’re you waiting for?” It’s a tale about feeling half-callous and half-wounded in a relationship that’s already over, if only one of the people in it would be proactive enough to break up with the other. A dry beat set by the drum machine overlaid by samples of half-heard laughing and conversation sets the isolated mood, punctured by the occasional strum as Solier describes the origin of their doomed romance. The gloomy mood set by the instrumentation draws the listener into Solier’s heart and makes it impossible not to empathise.
“Experimental” is an ambitious label to pin on music of any kind, but this ripple of dark and moody electronic R&B is nothing if not that. What seems like the most inhuman way of creating art – the dichotomy of nature vs technology, mankind vs machines having been established long ago – is being deftly and effectively used to produce music of great emotional depth. Its intricate, minimal sounds reveal feelings fuelled less by passion like rage, anger, hate etc. but instead by hollow numbness, the emotions which follow inexplicable and upsetting events. Fatti Frances brings out the distinct feeling of cold antipathy and confusion in such a way that it feels like you’ve broken up with her yourself.