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FREQUENCY DRIFT Laid To Rest Gentle Art Of Music (2012)

Frequency Drift

One could never accuse Frequency Drift of resting on their laurels. Following on from their outstanding third album 'Ghosts' (q.v.) released in late 2011 comes 'Laid To Rest' - another extraordinary album.

Now whether they had tracks left over from 'Dreams' or whether this is newly written material is irrelevant - this raises the bar, already very high, still further.

FD is a six piece German progressive rock ensemble now recording on RPWL's label Gentle Art Of Music. I use the word ensemble advisedly as this is definitely composed music - thoughtful, uplifting and expressive in equal measure.

The album features six tracks with nothing clocking in at less than seven minutes and three ramping it up to more than twelve minutes apiece - so, no three minute pop songs here then.

Things get underway with 'Dead', a monster of a track with a strong middle-eastern flavour and violin to the fore. Yes, that's right, violin.

In fact, one of the significant attributes of this album is the judicious use of unusual instruments within a progressive rock framework. Alongside the more traditional rock guitar, keyboards, bass and drums you are just as likely to hear harp, clarinet or flute as well as large swathes of the aforementioned violin. Top this off with the heavenly vocals of Antje Auer and you have something more than a bit special.

Things continue with 'Parted', which despite its rather Enya-like beginning, develops nicely into a violin/electric guitar wig-out. The two fifteen minute tracks, 'Cold' and 'Wish' follow back to back so if you think nature might be calling shortly it might be best to get that sorted beforehand - both tracks are fabulous from beginning to end so I'd hate for you to miss anything.

'Wish' in particular displays what Frequency Drift are all about - plaintive piano, soaring guitar and exciting violin combine to outstanding effect - a true high point.

Not that things deteriorate, far from it. 'Ice' and the closer 'Copper' maintain the standard to the very end - and if, by the time the disc stops spinning, you haven't been transported to a different time/space continuum where everything is lovely and the sun always shines, then you need your ears examining.

'Cinematic' and 'wide-screen' have been used to describe Frequency Drift's sound and whilst I wouldn't disagree, I feel the words 'life-affirming' should also be added - this is exceptional music, composed and played by consummate musicians all of which combine to give the listener a truly uplifting experience.

My album of the year thus far.

*****

Review by Alan Jones

Alan sequences "The Eclectic Mix" on the third Sunday of every month on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, and usually manages to include some prog.

 


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***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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