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(58:38, Progrock Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. Crows 2:02 2. Dreams 11:53 3. Sadness 4:10 4. Tempest 10:02 5. Ringshine 2:56 6. Dance No More 9:57 7. Mermaid 9:44 8. Come 7:54 LINEUP: Antje Auer vocals; violin Christian Hack guitars; flute Jurgen Rennecke bass, stick Andreas Hack keyboards Sebastian Koch guitars Martin Fox drums With: Frank Schmitz violin Nerissa Schwarz electroharp
Prolusion. The German band FREQUENCY DRIFT was formed back in 2006, and just two years later they made their debut with "Personal Effects-I". Since then three more albums have followed, the latest of these released in the summer of 2012. "Ghosts..." is their third CD, and was issued by Progrock Records in the summer of 2011.
Analysis. Frequency Drift has described their music as cinematic progressive rock on earlier occasions. Music inspired by movies for starters, but also used to tell a story in a manner similar to movies, where moods and atmospheres are just as important as the story itself, an approach used to good effect for their two-part creation "Personal Effects", the first of which impressed me quite a lot, while the second one has a high place on my list of CDs that should be purchased at some point. Albums with a story set in a futuristic world, with music of a character that suited this really well. With "Ghosts" the band reveals that they are able to master moods of a rather different character too. On this occasion the moods are fragile and delicate, using harp, piano and vocals extensively to craft light toned, dream-laden and frequently mysterious atmospheres; sparse arrangements with almost whispered vocals, and a literally haunting violin used to good effect to craft a feeling that corresponds quite nicely with the albums title. The most stunning example is actually the opening piece to my ears. From the initial crow cries, followed by a slow, haunting piano and acoustic guitar theme to the returning sounds of the bird associated with ill omens. A lesson in the power of the less is more approach, even if the presumed guitar may actually be a harp. Be that as it may be, this initial prolog sets the tone for the rest of this production. The arrangements do expand on the following tracks, with the previously described instruments used to good effect to add character and spirit to the ghostly, dreamlike themes thoroughly explored. But rather than opting for a one-dimensional album of mysterious ambience, the compositions develop, arrangements flesh out, style and expression alter. Energetic acoustic guitars and drums appear, the fragile lead vocal hardens and the emotions turn ever so slightly sinister. Or fluctuating futuristic synths grow in alongside bass, drums and electric guitars for a sequence darker in sound, harder in expression and almost sinister in mood, like a modern horror movie invading an otherwise Victorian, sedate ghost story. The latter of which always do return, transporting the listener further along on this haunting, dream-laden journey. No that the music is ever scary I might add. But the contrast between the frequently folk-oriented, fragile moods of tranquility and occasional medieval expression with the richer arrangements that are closer to late 70's Pink Floyd at their darkest are effective, especially when the latter are further enhanced by metal oriented guitar riffs and a substantial increase in pace. The end result is an intriguing album of accessible music, with ambient moods, almost romantic haunting sequences of a pastoral nature and darker, ominous themes sporting richer arrangements that don't rely on careful nuances to maintain nerve and tension.
Conclusion. Frequency Drift is a band that is fond of and skilled at creating enticing moods and atmospheres, and on "Ghost" we're provided with an hour of music that associates well with the album name. Haunting, fragile and folk oriented themes and dark, majestic metal oriented ones represent the extremes, with a fair few ambient inserts of a musical and non-musical nature along the way. Cinematic progressive music is the band's own description from a few years back, and one that is still an apt summary of their material.
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