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Frøislie, Lars Fredrik: Fire Fortellinger

Coming about as he worked on music during lockdown, Wobbler keyboard player Lars Fredrik Frøislie decided that the results he was creating should stay, as close as possible, as they were. No overdubs if they could be avoided, no reworking and rearranging by the many talented hands in his band, and in the main, live performances captured with a few human errors here and there left where they fell (if you spot them, you’re doing better than me!). With Norwegian lyrics, also sung by Frøislie, being the cherry on top, this multi-instrumentalist’s solo debut was born and named Fire Fortellinger - which I believes roughly translates as Four Tales.

Not to be confused with one of those solo albums where the prog protagonist reveals a penchant for synth pop or disco death metal, here, the music was initially intended for a future Wobbler release with circumstances being the driving force that took things in a different direction. Hence we get an album of keyboard driven traditional symphonic prog that fans of Wobbler - and Gentle Giant, Jordso and a whole host of other bands - will enjoy from the first listen and then a whole lot more as they get to know it further.

Split into four tracks - two of which are 16 minute-plus epics, there’s a truly retro vibe that runs from the recording style to the album art and from the vinyl length ‘sides’ to the era the sounds are inspired by. However, just like Wobbler, the main point is that all of this is done with a conviction and deftness of touch that allows you to simply enter this album’s world and only contemplate leaving when its charms stop playing - and even then you may just repeat the process again.

“Rytter Av Dommedag” opens proceedings, the first of the lengthy outings showing off some fine chops as well as a clever storytelling musical (and I guess lyrical but I don’t understand them - which I don’t mind at all) style. However, it’s the shorter and less sprawling “Et Sted Under Himmelhvelvet” that proves the most memorable moment, with its main melody line recounted in a manner of different ways across its seven or so minutes. Genuinely, the languid but still pointed impact is truly fabulous.

From there “Jærtegn”, the other shorter song at six and a half minutes, adds a controlled frenzy that suggests what might have happened if Emerson Lake and Palmer had been born in Norway. Leaving the stop start musings of “Naturens Katedral” to close things out in possibly the most enigmatic and least immediate terms, although it does begin to give up its delights after not too many spins.

Fire Fortellinger may have come about through circumstances that none of us would ever like to see repeated, however, it’s difficult not to wish a second period of (less enforced) confinement on Lars Fredrik Frøislie in the hope that we receive another solo slab as majestic as this one. I’m guessing Wobbler will be receiving his full attention prior to that, but then that too will be something to look forward to.

Track Listing
1. Rytter Av Dommedag
2. Et Sted Under Himmelhvelvet
3. Jærtegn
4. Naturens Katedral

Added: June 9th 2023
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Lars Fredrik Froislie @ facebook
Hits: 953
Language: english

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