I composed and produced the music for Torsten The Bareback Saint in partnership with lyricist Barney Ashton-Bullock, who devised the work. Barney is a playwright and film archivist who manages Strike Force Entertainment, an associated label of Cherry Red Records. The album is beautifully sung by Erasure front man, Andy Bell and together we have crafted a unique soundscape of songs that merge the boundaries of genre.
"Torsten The Bareback Saint” is a highly theatrical and moving song-cycle of lyrical postcards from the hotspots of an outsider’s memory; memories from a life lived as a semi-immortal, learned sensualist. Andy Bell as ‘Torsten’ sings deeply affecting expositional songs that incrementally illuminate his extraordinarily mysterious life as a man disconcerted by his own bizarre experience of the nature of passing time.
Torsten is an ‘everyman’ for our times; a prophet of longing, loss and love ever after.
In an amazing and surprising career move and, in his own words, "the biggest challenge of my career so far”, Erasure’s Andy Bell is ‘Torsten The Bareback Saint’. Andy sings in character as an age-defying polysexual in an all new solo album that is the soundtrack to the theatre show of the same name. A theatre show that headlined the Assembly - Venue One, George Square at the 2014 Edinburgh International Fringe Festival and which, even before opening, was named in The Times newspaper as being in their Times 2 'Top Ten Pick Of The Fringe'.
copyright © 2016 Christopher Frost
The CD is housed in a deluxe 36 page hardback book containing the full libretto and production photos.
The deluxe album can be bought by clicking on the image above.
The Radio Remixes Limited Edition 7” Vinyl Single of the songs "I Don't Like" and "Fountain of Youth" can be bought by clicking on the image above
Digital versions of the singles can be downloaded from many sites.
Sung by Andy Bell
Devised and written by Barney Ashton-Bullock
Music composition and production by Christopher Frost
Vocal production & additional music production by Michael Allison
Production photography by Predrag Pajdic
TORSTEN, THE BEAUTIFUL LIBERTINE
by Barney Ashton
music by Christopher Frost
directed by Robert McWhir
starring Andy Bell, Lana Pillay, Peter Straker
2- 27 March
Running time: 2 hours including interval
An unmissable chance to hear Erasure star Andy Bell in an intimate theatre setting, where he will be joined by West End star Peter Straker and dance-floor diva Lana P.
Bell plays the age-defying, polysexual hero Torsten. Torsten is living a bizarrely long life, and has gathered an impressive history of lovers – while never getting close to any of them. Through a series of smart, catchy and often beautiful songs – written for Bell’s gorgeous tenor voice – he counts his loves and losses, while two former flames unite in their treasured memories and bawdy lives.
Recommended for ages 16+ – contains adult themes.
Images provided by Gaz.photography
Photographs by Barney Ashton-Bullock
The follow up to 2014’s groundbreaking and critically acclaimed album and Edinburgh Fringe Festival show, ‘ Torsten, The Beautiful Libertine’ is presented in mini gatefold sleeve LP style packaging with black vinyl effect CD and a 20 page lyrics booklet with all new colour photographs.
Andy states, “Torsten seems to me like a dream that has come true! I was told the piece was especially written with me in mind & I really believe that! So many aspects of the various songs resonate with parts of my life so I know I was there / am here! There is a melancholic beauty held within the songs & I think I’ve had enough heartache & painful soul searching to do them justice but have managed to retain a certain naïveté in spite of these experiences! Torsten bears witness to these scars.”
On the album Andy assumes the character of Torsten who is described as a “polysexual semi-immortal”. Torsten has had, over time, many lovers and friends whom ultimately he has outlived. That he himself survives is a bittersweet truth, but it is with an increasingly melancholic emotional distance from people. The album is a wonderfully evocative exposition of the mind, mirth and mania of an ‘everyman’ who finds himself in extraordinary circumstances. The songs effortlessly combine pop and theatricality in their lush arrangements and Andy’s voice has never been so dramatically expressive.
Andy explains, “I love my Torsten …… Even more now that he is becoming slightly unhinged…. Unravelling before our very eyes! I don’t believe that his spirit will ever be broken though; for all his lives & lovers & losses, the songs from the ‘Beautiful Libertine’ have a healing quality & a deep resonance that make you realise that he is putting everything into perspective & coping……..just!”
“Frost’s score matches the mood of the piece, sultry, sassy, reflective and, peculiarly, almost every song sounds like one you know. This is no bad thing; it’s quite a skill to write music which seems familiar but which is absolutely its own thing. Frost manages to provide a musical link between the weird, slightly intoxicating world of Torsten’s memories and the audience’s own lives.” (Live Theatre UK, March 2016)
"For many, Andy Bell will be the primary attraction. He speaks Torsten’s non-musical musing as voice-over while suitably reacting on stage; it is an internal monologue that makes the live songs seem more like confession. Christopher Frost’s music, tuneful and reflective allows Bell to deliver them with an openness that hides nothing from the audience." (British Theatre Guide, March 2016)
"My Precious One", the single from the album can also be purchased from iTunes, Amazon and from other platforms
Photograph by Barney Ashton-Bullock
"... the arrangements from Christopher Frost seem somehow more detailed, more complex, particularly on songs like the majestic pop of 'Loitering With Intent', 'We Were Singing Along With Liza' or 'My Precious One', or the fragile grace of 'Photos Of Daniel'. It would perhaps be unfair to call this a more polished affair, but that's exactly how it sounds." (This Is Not Retro, March 2016)
The album is a score of rebellion, a master class in bearing your soul in the medium of art and in each song it is possible to believe that the artist’s depth of character is mingling, blending and ultimately merging with that of the hedonistic Torsten. 8.5/10 (Livepool Sound and Vision, March 2016)
"...there is certainly no doubt that TORSTEN THE BEAUTIFUL LIBERTINE is nothing short of wonderful! Final Rating: 9/10" (The Singing Whovian, March 2016)
Andy Bell's sixth studio album is a musical groundbreaker.
Matinee Radio is proud to present Andy Bell's sixth studio album Torsten, The Beautiful Libertine, the follow up to his 2014 critically acclaimed album and Edinburgh Fringe Festival show Torsten, The Bareback Saint.
This is a musical unlike any other we've played on Matinee, with it's fusion of lush orchestration, classic musical moments and electronic euphoria ... Andy has captured something which, despite the moments of heartbreak, loss and despair is incredibly uplifting and beautiful ... The songs effortlessly combine pop and theatricality in their arrangements and Andy's voice has never been so dramatically expressive.