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Lanterna: Hidden Drives

A common longtime diss on instrumental albums is that they all sound the same. In metal and prog circles, they also tend to rely on: 1) ceaseless shredding; 2) mindless noodling; 3) maddening self-indulgence; or 4) all of the above.

Enter Lanterna, a longtime instrumental side project of veteran Midwestern guitarist Henry Frayne. He eschews all of those turnoffs by weaving lush guitars and synthesizers into a sonic tapestry rich in texture, emotion and melody. The songs on Hidden Drives, the project’s seventh release, are at once familiar and wondrous -- cinematic in scope yet intensely intimate.

Frayne enlisted Blue Man Group’s Eric Gebow to complement “Redwoods” and give it a jazzy feel, while Frayne’s shimmering guitar on “Nice” conjures a country and western spirit. Other songs prove as mesmerizing as their titles: “Muscle Ridge” oozes a surprising gentleness, and “Chagrin Boulevard” sounds more remorseful than distressed.

A few songs date back years from notebooks Frayne maintains. “Maine 262,” for example, is a beautiful piece named after “Song Idea 262” that was finally finished when Frayne inadvertently struck an open low E string while experimenting with chord patterns. The final five tracks are remixes of songs that appear earlier on the album, which developed when Frayne told producer/engineer Mike Brosco to “have some fun” and manipulate them.

Collectively, Hidden Drives is a sonic journey well worth taking -- preferably at dusk with the windows down, letting in a cool breeze and making the hair on your arms stand up.

Track Listing:
1. Aix
2. Hidden Drives
3. Cupola
4. Chagrin Boulevard
5. Redwoods
6. Aqueduct
7. Maine 262
8. Nice
9. Muscle Ridge
10. Flag
11. Hidden Drives (South Thomaston)
12. Cupola (University Avenue)
13. Redwoods (Sans)
14. Maine 262 (Appleton Ridge)
15. Muscle Ridge (Channel)

Added: July 6th 2021
Reviewer: Michael Popke
Related Link: Lanterna Website
Hits: 746
Language: english

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