As concept albums go ‘Emperor Of Daffodils’, would be one of the oddest. Based around the theme of female make-up rituals, ambient/classical composer Joe Frawley could have set himself up for a mighty fall here. As it is, it’s a more cohesive follow-up to the sporadically inspiring ‘A Book Of Dreams’.
Once again Frawley melds vocal samples with ambient music. ‘Crush Material’ and ‘Masque’ revolve around haunting piano motifs with words appearing from one speaker to another. Understandably, this creates a disorientating atmosphere. ‘Lipstick’ raises the ante with its classical swell and a lush melody but ‘The Supplicant’ – all disembodied girls voices and violent strings – returns to the dark undertones of the album. The title track employs Frawley’s commonly favoured tools of rainfall and breathy harmonies and ‘Narcisse’ brings the experience to a quiet, mildly disturbing conclusion.
Listening to ‘Emperor Of Daffodils’ is certainly evocative and Frawley gives the impression of someone who is fascinated by, but disapproving of, preening ladies. Within these compositions are fragments of beauty but they’re sullied by an undercurrent of evil; turning this short album into a vanity project that’s actually worth hearing.