The Belgian project Fear Falls Burning was launched some three years ago as an outlet for vidnaObmana's fascination with lo-fi and post-rock music and as a way of returning to his drone music roots. Unfortunately, the end result of Frenzy of the Absolute is music that brings to mind that dictionary definition of the "drone" word that reflects on monotony. Frankly, I can't see anyone enjoying this music that isn't either drunk or stoned.
I guess the soundscape comes with the territory associated with drone music but even so I think that there is the potential for more to have come of the album. There is too little that happens, too little variation, too little instrumentation, too few colors (or shadows, which might be a more appropriate term for drone music). What one gets is a soundscape that does not work as ambient music, that fails to help transport the listener to imaginary worlds. There is very little food for the soul indeed across these 53 minutes of music.
I have listened to this a number of times now, thinking that I must be missing something but, no, I have concluded that there just isn't enough on Frenzy of the Absolute that makes it measure up to the mark. Interestingly, it was only recently that I reviewed another couple of albums from Conspiracy Records: Transitional was similar in a way to Fear Falls Burning in that it was presenting ambient instrumental soundscapes and that was a project that was more successful, more inventive than this one. OK, it never pretended to be "drone" but music is music and, as music, Fear of the Absolute falls flat.
For instance, the title track starts with what sounds very similar to a simple sine wave - his MySpace site suggests that this is done by "...processing the sounds of his Les Paul guitars through a large and elaborately configured collection of effects pedals..." but, frankly, you'd get the same effect with a sine wave generator like they have in school physics labs. Anyway, why ruin so completely the sound of a Les Paul? On top of this wave drone you get occasional bursts of drums and then, eventually, after a long time, a very simple synth overlay. The development is too slow. The ambience created fails to create any images in my mind.
"He Contemplates the Sign" picks up more or less where the title track leaves off, almost segueing seamlessly on. Eventually there's some bursts of bass phrasing to add colour to the sound canvas but again it's too little. "We Took the Deafening Murmer Down" offers no respite from the drone.
So, drone is what you get only, unfortunately, the dictionary definition of " to make a continuous low dull humming sound" is only too true. If you think this type of soundscape might appeal to you then listen to the clips on the MySpace page before you buy.
1) Frenzy of the Absolute (21:07)
2) He Contemplates the Sign (19:18)
3) We Took the Deafening Murmer Down (13:13)