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Frequency Drift: Letters To Maro

How they do it no one knows. The vocal position in Frequency Drift always as fluid as their name. Hailing from Germany, across their eight studio albums, this outfit have managed to work their way through many singers - sometimes more than one at a time. For Letters To Maro, it is the new voice of Irini Alexa who takes up the mantle and if you look to the past, boy does she have a lot to live up to.

Always with a sound informed by movie soundtracks, sci-fi operas and something a little more Oriental in flavour, with this latest outing, Frequency Drift have loosely prepared a conceptual piece where loss, forgetting and healing are all explored through the energy of the sounds music creates. It’s hugely enigmatic fare and with the electric-harp of Nerissa Schwarz, who also adds mellotron and synth, at the forefront, it’s also thoroughly evocative and captivating. This is truly an array of vast soundscapes that paint vivid pictures and clearly tell their stories.

All that is needed to take the sprawling, melancholic beauty of “Izanami” and its Japanese imagery, and raise it to greatness, is a voice to unravel the painful beauty laid out. Alexa is undoubtedly that lady, with her precise, prepared and piquant voice cutting through with such easy authority that she genuinely stops you in your tracks to revel in what unfolds. There’s a real ‘show-tune’ aspect to this singer’s delivery bringing an onomatopoeic edge to “Dear Maro”, the word ‘falling’ elongated and tumbling with such believability that you grasp on to the arms of your chair to break your imaginary fall. A similar storytelling side is brought to the off-kilter “Escalator”, where the unsettling characters displayed truly unnerve as the music becomes ever more threatening.

However, where Alexa is possibly most charged is during “Electricity”, the chiming electro-harp from Schwarz shimmering and sharp, as the beats from Wolfgang Ostermann and ever impressive guitar/bass/key work from Andreas Hack move from seductive to austere and back again. Once more it’s the singer who adds the fluidity and connectivity of voice and theme that elevates an already marvellous piece to quite remarkable heights. Everywhere you turn she’s just magnificent, but then so is the music-box like stalking of “Nine”, the grand yet eloquent “Sleep Paralysis” and the surging instrumental “Ghost When It Rains”.

Frequency Drift have continued to grow and evolve with each and every album they craft and while Letters To Maro does hint at their earlier work, what with the complete removal of the heavier guitars of the Last album, it is again something daring and different. It is also a triumph and undoubtedly one of the strongest and most thoroughly encapsulating collections I’ve heard this year.


Track Listing
1. Dear Maro

2. Underground

3. Electricity

4. Neon

5. Depravation

6. Izanami

7. Nine

8. Escalator

9. Sleep Paralysis

10. Who’s Master

11. Ghosts When it Rains

Added: July 31st 2018
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Score:
Related Link: Frequency Drift on bandcamp
Hits: 703
Language: english

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