I was, before receiving this promotional disc, remotely aware of the band ‘Frequency Drift’ having previously reviewed ‘Nerissa Schwarz’ solo album ‘Playground Lost’ at the tail end of 2017. Therefore I had more than a reasonable idea of what to expect with this album. It is indeed really pleasing to come across a newly released album which is both interesting, instrumentally exquisite and swathed with atmospheric uniqueness. Certainly the resultant music requires a certain amount of patience and devoted concentration in order that access can be gained into the depths of its musical complexities and in turn to comprehend and absorb the lyrical meanings and messages contained within the various scores. But like anything worthwhile the more effort exerted the more abundant is the reward.
The self-imposed genre of ‘Cinematic Progressive; (Their title not mine) very cleverly and more than aptly describes the overall texture of the music simply because the whole affair could so easily be used as the soundtrack of a movie or indeed adapted and performed as stage production.
The music itself incorporates a multitude of strange discordant time signatures which are aptly combined together and then transferred as a whole into a pool of varying rhythmic patterns. Generally, when the music builds up at the individual apex of each track there is literally so much going on instrumentally that it is difficult to assimilate the exact division of musical contributions between the various led musicians. The resultant sound too is mostly heavily percussive in nature and to which the various instruments contribute into a powerful wall of sound. It is then upon which the female vocal element provides almost entirely the melodic aspect of the musical arrangements. Paramount is an overall atmospheric intensity and a distinct eeriness etched into the unique compositional styling that is both absorbing and stimulating to the degree that the music quality will inevitably drag the listener back time and again for more.
The delightful and totally impeccable vocals delivered with much clarity and panache by ‘Irini Alexa’ certainly add another listening dimension to the proceedings. The resultant richness and dexterity of her vocal projection is quite amazing. In a sense it is also quite unusual because although the caliber of her voice is of a distinctly classical show tune quality it really does fit in perfectly with the instrumental aspects of the music and suits the overall sound delivered by the band brilliantly.
Frequency Drift is indeed an innovative and quite magical lineup with forward thinking expressive musicians having a distinctly avant-garde approach to compositional arrangements mixing variations of different sound configurations by utilizing an interesting array of instruments. Nerissa Schwartz and Andreas Hack complement each other perfectly with backdrops of lush piano, Mellotron and other keyboard fills overlaid with tinkling harp, synthesizer protrusions and other slices of much ordered weirdness. Much credit must go to the standard but complicated time signatures of the percussive elements of electric bass and drums which and without doubt glue together and pin down the more adventurous flyaway musical exploits of Nerissa and Andreas.
Summary: Unusual, atmospheric and totally encaptivating. Not first time listening and wonderfully rewarding.
Cover Art: Colourfal and just about adequate. No lyrics on my version.
01) Dear Maro
09.) Sleep Paralysis
10.) Who's Master
11.) Ghosts When It Rains
Irini Alexa, vocals
Andreas Hack, keys, synthesizers, guitar, bass, mandolin
Nerissa Schwarz, electric harp, mellotron, synthesizers
Wolfgang Ostermann, drums, wavedrum
Michael Bauer, guitar (1&10)
Marco Geipel, live bass