MENU
Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
T - Fragmentropy CD (album) cover

FRAGMENTROPY

T

 

Neo-Prog

3.83 | 187 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

FragileKings
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Reading the reviews on PA, I got that feeling that this was one of those albums I should just buy and try to get into it without listening to it prior to purchase. Many reviewers noted the complex and challenging music. I had to know what this was all about.

First, this is a full plate of music, running at just over 76 minutes. To add to that, the atmosphere of the album generally doesn't deviate much even though the music itself is creative and at times, yes, challenging. The atmosphere is for the most part very solemn and almost depressive except that there does always seem to be a ray of hope in there. It's like a good-hearted person is going through some great personal emotional trial but still manages to raise his head from time to time and add a hint of a smile to one corner of his mouth. We are going to get through this. "The Black of White" is possibly the song with the most positivity on the album, though it is sometimes quite heavy as in metal.

It's not a cherry album and 76 minutes of this might seem like too much. Fortunately, their are brief moments of intensity with some heavy crashing music or some abruptly frantic "proggy" exercises, or in a couple of songs, like "Brand New Mornings" and "The Black of White" some almost whimsical lyrics and music a la classic Genesis. T's PA bio mentions similarities to Gazpacho, Porcupine Tree and Marillion. I might add a bit of Radiohead in there as well, for the depressive side and also some Van der Graaf Generator for the vocal style at times, especially one part in "The Black of White". There's one part near the end of "Brand New Mornings" where a sad and breaking voice says, "I sit in here in this chair while you play guitar and sing. And I feel so honoured". Another line, in the song "Uncertainty" proclaims in a heavy Bowie voice, "I'm sorry. I'm leaving you". "If you love me, please stay home tonight." Not an album to play in the car with your spouse and kids while on the way to the zoo.

One of the big pluses to this album is that we never know what to expect. The songs are more like a flow of consciousness rather than following any formal structure. There might be some delicate minor key piano with a soft synthesizer in the background and T's vocals (which always remind me of David Bowie singing "China Girl") and then the music will turn more uplifting with double-tracked vocals, one in higher register, and then a thundering explosion of emotive music followed by soft acoustic guitar, piano, and maybe a woodwind instrument. The thing that impresses me is how naturally the parts flow together. I don't feel there's a conscious effort to go "now we change tempo and rhythm... Go!" Like a true stream of consciousness, each subsequent part flows from the previous one.

Where this might be a negative aspect is that it is easy to listen to this album without knowing when one song has ended and another has begun. Add to that the length of the songs, three over 13 minutes long and all but two over 8 minutes, and the fact that there is no clear break between the songs, it is difficult to know what track is playing. A change in the music doesn't mean a new track has started and neither does any nanosecond pause. Throw a song on a mixed playlist and you can hear the abrupt start and finish to the recording, clearly sounding like it was cut out from a flowing piece of work. As such, it is preferable I find to treat this like a continuous performance of music rather than cutting and pasting tracks. Shuffling the album is not recommended.

Overall, the music is composed and arranged with great skill and attention. It is a remarkable piece of work and perhaps more so knowing that, unless I've missed something, T (Thomas Thielen) plays everything: guitars, keyboards, bass, drums, percussion, brass and wood winds, and cello maybe, too. There is music here that is beautiful and wonderful and at times exciting in spite of the general absence of cheer.

Where this album will possibly turn off some listeners is in the melancholic atmosphere and the avoidance of any recognizable song structure. Some may not like T's voice but I find it very suitable to the music and a refreshing change from the many higher register prog singers I hear often. The album requires time to get through and in my opinion isn't a good one for pulling off favourite tracks. It's not going to be one for regular enjoyment but when I can devote the time and attention to it, "Fragmentropy" will be a special listening experience.

FragileKings | 4/5 |

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Share this T review

Social review comments () BETA







Review related links

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: JazzMusicArchives.com — jazz music reviews and archives | MetalMusicArchives.com — metal music reviews and archives