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Frames: Mosaik

Mosaik, the debut release from German band Frames, is an all-instrumental assortment of 70's styled prog-rock, haunting post-rock, fusion, space rock, ambient, and progressive metal. Never dipping too far into any one style, Mosaik manages to reel in the listener from the opening moments and rarely lets go throughout the CDs 11 tracks. Comprised of Jonas Meyer (guitar, keyboards), Manuel Schönfeld (keyboards), Kiryll Kulakowski (drums), and Julian Hoffmann (bass), this four piece have taken their influences (Porcupine Tree, Pink Floyd, Dream Theater, Anathema, ISIS) and crafted a pretty enjoyable little debut here.

Tracks like "The Beginning" and "ISP" have a tranquil, almost meditative feel to them, brought upon by lilting, 'post rock' styled guitar strums and a soft undercurrent of keyboards, while more metallic pieces like "Agenda" and "Audacity" feature plenty of crushing guitar riffs and solid rhythms. Many however will love the more proggy numbers, such as the Mellotron drenched "Driving Head" or the atmospheric "Insomnia", tunes that are rich in tones & colors. Fans will be reminded of the mellower moments of Porcupine Tree as well as The Pineapple Thief on the mesmerizing closer "M", a trippy & hypnotic tune that will take the listener away to far away solar systems.

Mosaik proves to be an enchanting listen from this exciting new band. Something tells me Frames have a set the foundation for a very good future for themselves with this one.


Track Listing
1. Intro
2. The Beginning
3. Agenda
4. Transition
5. Isp
6. Insomnia
7. Driving Head
8. Intermission
9. Horizon
10. Audacity
11. M

Added: September 20th 2010
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Score:
Related Link: Band MySpace Page
Hits: 3227
Language: english

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Frames: Mosaik
Posted by Jeff B, SoT Staff Writer on 2010-09-20 06:08:35
My Score:

A Promising Beginning

Mosaik is one of those debuts that can be called enjoyable, promising, and disappointing all at the same time. After the first few songs you really think you're in for a masterpiece, but by the end of the album, Frames' "formula" gets pretty repetitive. It's really a shame that Mosaik is so formulaic, because there are some really fantastic songs here! Seeing the potential that Frames possesses in the first half of the album, it's obvious that this band has a promising future. However, as it currently stands, it seems that we have an average album with a few standout tracks – all of which happen to be at the beginning.

This German 4-piece outfit plays an eclectic style of post rock. Most of the album can comfortably be described as post rock, but there are a few metal-oriented moments on Mosaik, as well as prog influences. Despite this eclecticism, this sound is used on basically all of the songs on this almost one-hour affair. By the end of the album their unique sound has worn out its welcome, and becomes a bit of a drag. Compositionally speaking, the best songs ("The Beginning", "Agenda", "ISP", and "Insomnia") are all towards the front-end of this release. Not to say the other songs aren't good, but they have nothing that really stands out. It also doesn't help that almost all of the songs have the same arrangements and repetitive compositional structures.

The musicianship is pretty good. All four musicians definitely know what they're doing on this album. The production is actually probably the best part about Mosaik. It's moody, clear, and professional. I have only good things to say about how this release is produced.

Conclusion:

Mosaik is a solid debut by Frames, but I can't help feeling a bit disappointed by the end product. Had the entire album been as strong as the first half, I definitely would've been more impressed. As it stands, this is worth a purchase if you're into post rock, even if it's mostly for the first few tracks. 3 stars are warranted here.


Frames: Mosaik
Posted by Steven Reid, SoT Staff Writer on 2010-07-23 18:23:52
My Score:

In a time when we are constantly being told that albums are an endangered species and that all we need is a digital player that houses "songs", it is a wonderful thing to stumble across an album that is exactly that. An Album - with a capital A. Housing eleven tracks that all seamlessly blend into one another Mosaik is the debut full length release from German band Frames. The location certainly qualifies them for the tag "Krautrock" and the music could in places also slip into that category, with huge atmospheric keyboard passages being interrupted with scything guitars that while grand in scale and intentionally brash in execution never deflate the heady, rich soundscape they invade.

Manuel Schonfeld's keyboard work is the driving force behind each and every track on this album, however the cleverly brief tracks (the closing "m" is fifteen minutes long, but is really one song with two distinct movements) are embellished with Kiryll Kulakowski's uncluttered beats, the unobtrusive bass playing of "Moses" Hoffmann and the ever evolving guitar stabs from Jonas Meyer. When Meyer and Schonfeld come crashing together the marvellous washes of effects somehow stand tall against the clanging riffs and whilst not in many ways actually sounding like the band, King Crimson are often brought to mind due to the successful brewing of disparate ideas. Few bands can blend together such diverse starting points into the cohesive, brutal, yet beautiful swathes of sound that continually roll out of Mosaik.

Meyer's approach is not all effusions of explosion and during some of the more introspective moments the guitars take on an altogether more supporting role where the keyboard melodies are reinforced, which adds to the ebb and flow of emotions that drips out of the music and prove to be a really enticing feature. There are absolutely no vocals on this album, which is seldom a problem for me, however here I actually find the lack of lyrics to be a truly positive step due to the narrative qualities of the music itself. Words would actually have the effect of blunting the attack and clarity of the music in a way I've seldom found before. It is easy to imagine the beautiful piano, string, or keyboard stretches being the storytelling accompaniment to a silent film, where the music is as integral as the visuals. Considering that all four of the musicians that make up Frames are under 25, the maturity of the song writing is quite breath-taking and it really is unusual to listen to a whole album without ever really being too strongly reminded of other artists, however that is exactly what happens here.

As the title suggests Mosaik brings many scattered pieces together to create one image that makes complete sense when viewed as a single story and that really is the strength of this beautiful, involving album.





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