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Frequency Drift - 2014 - "Over"

(75:18, Gentle Art of Music)


1.  Run 7:05
2.  Once 6:06
3.  Adrift 4:39
4.  Them 7:52
5.  Sagittarius A 5:50
6.  Suspended 8:28
7.  Wave 3:42
8.  Wander 5:33
9.  Driven 4:54
10. Release 6:47
11. Memory 10:00
12. Disappeared 4:22


Christian Hack – guitar; flutes; duclar, percussion
Andreas Hack – keyboards; guitars
Ulrike Reichel – violin, viola
Isa Fallenbacher – vocals 
Nerissa Schwarz – harp 
Tino Schmidt – bass 
Sibylle Friz – cello 
Agathe Labus – vocals 
Phil Paul Rissettio - drums
Jasper Joris – marimba, percussion
A few more musicians

Prolusion. The German band FREQUENCY DRIFT was formed back in 2006, and released their debut album two years later. Since then four more studio albums have been released by the band, all of them through different labels for some reason or other. "Over" is the most recent of these, and was made available through the German label Gentle Art of Music at the start of 2014.

Analysis. Frequency Drift is one of those fairly recent bands that explore music that resides somewhat outside of what one might describe as common or expected conceptions as far as progressive rock is concerned. This is a band that, by and large, doesn't look back in time for inspiration all that often, and it would appear that they opt to truly explore the music they want to create themselves rather than attempting to create music for a more or less well specified audience. Or to put it this way: Frequency Drift isn't the best band to explore if you desire music where you can draw lines back to the well know giants of the 70's, the same words relevant if you prefer similarities that can be traced back to more resent bands on the progressive rock stage. Frequency Drift orients themselves after rather different standards, mainly ones that aren't easily placed within a context of comparison. The compositions themselves are to some extent fairly uniform. Pace, intensity and variations are fairly similar from one song to the other, and the differences between the songs are subtle more often than not. This isn't an album where the compositions sport dramatically different individual features, and as such this isn't a production that comes with any major variations when it comes to whether or not you like the different songs. Generally speaking, if you love one of those songs, you'll probably enjoy the entire CD. If you listen and dislike a song, this isn't an album that merits further inspection. It's basically as easy as that. The compositions revolve around sequences with varying degrees of intensity and complexity, ebbing and flowing from sparse, frail sequences to more expressive and sophisticated arrangements and back. The harp and the piano are vital ingredients for both extremes, carrying the sparse and frail passages alongside the brilliantly controlled lead vocals of Isa Fallenbacher, while adding gentle and delicate touches to the sequences that sport a more elaborate arrangement. Viola, violin and flute get a fair amount of playtime too, the former two adding atmospheric and mainly melancholic textures to the proceedings, the latter generally used for flowing, elegant solo runs. In between, underneath and on top of the latter features more complex arrangements and careful keyboard effects are used extensively. Most often adding darker undercurrents or cold, fleeting textures, but on occasion a good, old-fashioned keyboard solo or the impressive sounding and haunting Mellotron will be given room and space too. Second to last track Memory sports the most sophisticated and elegant use of keyboards on this production, the latter half of this specific song probably the highlight of the CD for those who prefer their progressive rock made and explored in a 70's oriented style. Otherwise this album tends to stick fairly close to what the band itself describes as cinematic progressive rock; with electronic textures, classical inspired details and folk music oriented touches meeting in subtly exotic, dream-laden affairs. They do use guitars as well: both plucked acoustic guitars, dark toned riffs and melodic guitar soloing have their place on this album to varying degrees, plus there's even a few instances of metal-tinged guitar riffs-driven instances here. This aspect of the album isn't a central one however, but an effect cleverly used and explored to add intensity and a different flavor to select passages and sequences in many compositions.

Conclusion. It's kind of weird to describe a long album that uses and visits as many different styles of music as this one as fairly uniform in sound and style, but that is still the case. From almost pop music at times to classical chamber music, a touch of jazz on one occasion, pastoral intermissions, post rock oriented escapades, some riff-driven instances closer to hard rock and even metal can be found. Electronic passages closer to Tangerine Dream have their place, and even a run through a more or less vintage sounding symphonic progressive rock is present. Still, the end result is an album's worth of atmosphere rich, fairly similar music. Dream-laden, melancholic, occasionally dark, beautiful, compelling and strangely enough with a strong impression of a uniform sound throughout. An album that merits a check by those who enjoy subtly exotic, compelling music that strays outside of the common and expected boundaries of progressive rock.

OMB=Olav M Bjornsen: November 14, 2014
The Rating Room

Related Links:

Gentle Art of Music
Frequency Drift


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