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(60:09, Gentle Art of Music)
TRACK LIST: 1. Dear Maro 6:22 2. Underground 5:02 3. Electricity 4:52 4. Neon 6:09 5. Deprivation 3:35 6. Izanami 5:09 7. Nine 6:10 8. Escalator 4:26 9. Sleep Paralysis 6:03 10. Who's Master? 9:16 11. Ghosts When It Rains 3:05 LINEUP: Irini Alexia - vocals Andreas Hack - keyboards, synth, guitars, bass, mandolin Nerissa Schwarz - electric harp, Mellotron, synths Wolfgang Ostermann - drums with: Michael Bauer - guitars
Prolusion. German band FREQUENCY DRIFT have been a steady provider of their own specific brand of progressive rock ever since 2008. dropping new albums on regular intervals - and fairly frequently switching labels as well. The band appears to have settled with current label Gentle Art of Music now though, although the band itself appears in a new guise for their latest album "Letters to Maro", which was released in the spring of 2018.
Analysis. Frequency Drift have been a band that have gone their own way from the very first album, which I believe was self-described as cinematic progressive rock. The atmospheric laden and cinematic have been a dominant part of their repertoire ever since, even if they have expanded the palette ever so slightly on their later albums. With "Letters to Maro" the band appears to hone in closer to the landscapes they explored when they first appeared, opting to shy away a bit from the expansions in sound that have been a part of their previous productions ever so slightly. If there is one key word I'm left with following my run through of this album, then that word is futuristic. The music and atmospheres more often than not have that science fiction feel to them, and I rather suspect most of the compositions here would have been perfect to use in a variety of different future world movies, ranging from noir-based cyberpunk setting and dark dystopian landscapes to more drama oriented space sagas. That being said, this isn't a production revolving around solely futuristic effects. In fact, it is because the songs here are much more than that that they would function so well in the kind of scenarios described as well as others. We do get an array of electronic sounds and effects, produced by synthesizers and keyboards, but there's also the electric harp of Nerissa Schwarz, wandering piano details, plucked acoustic and electric guitars, textures with a violin and cello feel to them, and the vocals of course. All of these elements adds a down to Earth and at times even folk music feel to the landscapes explored, and the manner in which this contrast the futuristic sounds and effects does in sum actually make this music as more believable as a possible music of the future. It contains strong and marked pointers to the past, highlighting the futuristic details but with a solid connection to a past we would all recognize a hundred or three hundred years from now. An atmosphere that is almost sacral at times. As always it is just about impossible to describe the music of this band in a concise manner. Associations towards the likes of Kate Bush is present on a couple of occasions, as are occasional similarities to the early dream pop albums of Bel Canto and the music of artists such as Tangerine Dream. Orchestral details is a part of this totality too, as are majestic surges with more of a distinct progressive rock feel, emphasizing the rock aspect. While we also have sparse, solemn passages with vocals and piano or vocals and harp creating a rather more delicate landscape. Most certainly atmospheric laden, and rather cinematic more often than not. Well made, performed and produced too.
Conclusion. To my mind, Frequency Drift is a venture that have found, explored and settled in a musical landscape very much their own. With strong ties to futuristic landscapes as well as more ancient music traditions, this is a meeting of different times and different eras, kind of a musical equivalent of Tolkien and Asimov joining ranks. If this is a description that comes across as tantalizing, then I suspect you will find this album to be rather enjoyable.
Progmessor: July 29th 2018
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