Goldfrapp is an electronic music duo, formed in 1999 in London, England, and made up of Alison Goldfrapp (vocals, songwriter) and Will Gregory (songwriter, producer). Their musical style has changed over time, from a cinematic trip-hop sound, through electropop, to a glam rock influenced sound, folktronica and 80's synthpop.
The majority of the band's songs are composed by Alison and Will, although they have collaborated with session musician Nick Batt several times. They have called their writing sessions a "democratic affair", playing off one another while in the recording studio. While writing, Alison uses her vocals to create melodies and drumbeats. Will composes his music on vintage keyboards, interpreting the mood of Goldfrapp's lyrics.
Alison was inspired by artists including Serge Gainsbourg, Donna Summer, Kate Bush, T. Rex and Iggy Pop. While travelling through Europe in the early 90s, she also began listening to Polish disco music and cabaret music from the Weimar Republic. Will's musical background was classical music and has cited Ennio Morricone as his main influence. They also draw inspiration from surrealism, nature and movies (like Cul-de-sac, The Wicker Man and the James Bond franchise).
Alison Goldfrapp began her musical career in the early 90s as a guest vocalist with the electronic band Orbital and trip-hop artist Tricky. In 1999, she was introduced to composer Will Gregory, after he had listened to an early version of "Human". Will felt a connection with Alison and invited her to record a demo for the film soundtrack he was composing but the demo was never completed. Following several months of phone calls, they decided to form a musical band and began performing under Alison's last name. In August 1999, they signed a recording contract with London-based label Mute.
Goldfrapp's critically acclaimed début album Felt Mountain (11 Sept 2000, Mute), features Alison's synthesized vocals in cinematic scope, taking influence from a variety of music styles such as 60s pop, cabaret, folk and electronica (especially trip-hop). It was: a top 75 album in the UK, certified gold in October 2001 and short-listed for the 2001 Mercury Prize. Four Felt Mountain singles were issued: "Lovely Head" (May 2000), "Utopia" (Oct 2000 - #131 UK), "Human" (Feb 2001 - #100 UK) and "Pilots" (Oct 2001 - #68 UK). "Utopia" was re-issued slightly remixed, as "Utopia (Genetically Enriched)" (Jun 2001 - #62 UK).
Black Cherry (28 Apr 2003, Mute), was Goldfrapp's second album, which received generally positive reviews. It represented a change in musical style, featuring a blend of glam rock and electropop. Black Cherry was a UK top 20 album, earned Goldfrapp a 2004 BRITs nomination, for Best British Dance Act and produced four singles: "Train" (Apr 2003 - #23 UK), "Strict Machine" (Jun 2003 - #25 UK, #54 AUS), "Twist" (Oct 2003 - #31 UK) and Black Cherry (Nov 2003 - #28 UK). DVD / album Wonderful Electric (20 Sept / 11 Oct 2004, Mute), featured live London recordings from Shepherds Bush Empire, 6 Nov 2001 and Somerset House, 13 Jul 2003.
Supernature (22 Aug 2005, Mute), their third studio album, featured pop / EDM, inspired by Donna Summer and New Order. Supernature received a 2007 Grammy Award nomination (for Best Electronic/Dance Album), was a top 5 UK album and was promoted by four singles: "Ooh La La" (Jul 2005 - #4 UK, #1 SPA, #36 AUS, #16 IRL), "Number 1" (Sept 2005 - #9 UK, #11 SPA, #7 CAN, #29 IRL), "Ride a White Horse" (Dec 2005 - #15 UK, #7 SPA, #36 IRL) and "Fly Me Away" (Apr 2006 - #26 UK, #40 IRL). Supernature also yielded the remix album We Are Glitter (17 Oct 2006), much of which was previously unreleased in North America.
Fourth studio album, Seventh Tree (25 Feb 2008, Mute), featured another change in musical style, with a mix of folktronica and trip-hop. Goldfrapp have described it as a "sensual counterpoint to the glitter-ball glamour of Supernature". Seventh Tree became their most critically acclaimed album, since Felt Mountain, and was supported by four singles: "A&E" (Dec 2007 - #10 UK, #85 AUS, #38 BEL, #33 IRL), "Happiness" (Mar 2008 - #25 UK, #54 AUS), "Caravan Girl" (May 2008 - #54 UK) and "Clowns" (Oct 2008 - #115 UK).
Head First (22 Mar 2010), their fifth studio album, was 80s synthpop inspired. It received mixed reviews and a 2011 Grammy Award nomination, for Best Electronic/Dance Album. Three Head First singles were issued: "Rocket" (Jan 2010 - #47 UK, #55 AUS, #32 GER, #36 IRL), "Alive" (Apr 2010) and "Believer" (Jul 2010).
In Aug 2010, as part of Mute ownership changes, Goldfrapp reverted to something more like the independent label they'd originally signed to (Mute had been wholly owned by EMI, 2002-10). The Singles (6 Feb 2012, Mute), was a hits compilation, with the addition of new songs Yellow Halo and Melancholy Sky.