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FRAGMENTROPY

T

Neo-Prog


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T Fragmentropy album cover
3.83 | 187 ratings | 16 reviews | 24% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 2015

Songs / Tracks Listing

- Chapter One - Anisotropic Dances:
1. A Sky-High Pile of Anarchy (14:07)
2. Brand New Mornings (13:04)
- Chapter Two - The Politics of Entropy:
3. Uncertainty (7:17)
4. Entanglement (16:39)
5. Eigenstates (6:38)
- Chapter Three - The Art of Double Binding:
6. The Black of White (9:16)
7. Shades of Silver (8:21)

Total Time: 76:48

Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Thomas "T" Thielen / all instruments & vocals, producer

Note: The actual instrumentation could not be confirmed at this moment

Releases information

Artwork: "T" with Katia Tangian (photo)

CD Progressive Promotion Records ‎- 889211680757 (2015, Germany)

Thanks to MoonshineO for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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Buy T Fragmentropy Music


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Audio CD$16.46
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Fragmentropy by T (2015-08-03)Fragmentropy by T (2015-08-03)
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Audio CD$49.83

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T Fragmentropy ratings distribution


3.83
(187 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(24%)
24%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(31%)
31%
Good, but non-essential (25%)
25%
Collectors/fans only (17%)
17%
Poor. Only for completionists (3%)
3%

T Fragmentropy reviews


Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Windhawk
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars German project T is the creative vehicle of composer and musician Thomas Thielen, formerly of the German band Scythe, but now with a solo career that has been ongoing ever since he released his first album using the 't' moniker in 2002. "Fragmentropy" is his fifth full-length production, released in 2015 by Progressive Promotion Records.

"Fragmentropy" comes across as a fairly eclectic and demanding production, arguably with a foundation inside modern day neo-progressive rock and post-rock, but made with an approach that makes it hard to categorize inside any of those stylistic contexts easily. But it will be those who enjoy bands of that kind, I suspect, who will be the main audience for this album, alongside those who enjoy bands like Marillion, Radiohead and other artists that have been or are still creating progressive rock founded on contemporary music to a much greater degree than the classic progressive rock from yesteryear.

Review by rdtprog
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team
5 stars Originally a piano player, Thomas Thielen learn to play many instruments, but also the craft of engineering, recording and programming. I don't know how much programming we have on this new CD, but i can only testified that it's sound like a real band. The vocals here are playing a major role in the music that has a atmospheric ambiance with post-rock tones, but also some symphonic Retro Prog. However, this album sounds modern and remind me a lot of Carptree and sometimes the late Marillion. The vocals, the piano and the keyboards are taking the place to the guitars, who have their space to shine in specific passages, especially when things get heavier. There is a moody, melancholic feel with some quiet atmospheric soundscape, intense vocal harmonies and instrumentation throughout this album that could seems disturbing, but the vocals pick things up to carry the melody to something highly satisfying. There is a lot of subtle arrangements, and a lot of ideas that we have to absorb, but with many listening, everything is shaping up. This CD is divided in three chapters, but i listened to it like a continuous piece of music that covers a wide range of style from post-rock, ambient, minimalistic and symphonic. And the only reason it could be categorize as Neo-Prog, is because of the modern and heavy parts. This CD is the illustration that Thomas Thielen music has reach his peak. If he can only change the name "T" to something more appealing, it would serve him better in the future.
Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Jazz-Rock / Fusion / Canterbury Team
4 stars I have been intrigued by the music of Thomas Thielen since I first purchased his excellent album, Anti-Matter Poetry back in 2010. His music has gotten more complex, more enigmatic, and, unfortunately, more inaccessible to me since that time. His album themes are quite complex and imaginative, conceptually speaking, perhaps a bit too cerebral for me. Or perhaps his music is too dependent on his lyrics--which I am not one to necessarily tune into. What has confounded me about this album and his last, Psychoanorexia, is how foreign his melodic and harmonic sensibilities are to me. Listening to T for me is a bit like listening to Schoenberg or Stravinsky or Bartok: the structures and flow are confusing and not engaging. In fact, I rarely feel connected or familiar with ANY melody, rhythmic flow, or chordal harmony during any of his songs! And yet I am fascinated by them! I KNOW they are well thought out, well composed, and, of course, very personal. Perhaps that is where Thomas' growth is yet to come: connecting his mental and musical genius with a larger audience (at least, larger than himself). I know there are many others who love Thomas' music and rate him very highly for it. I rate him highly for his skill and production value. I would have trouble rating his music higher than four stars until I can connect with it, remember it, feel compelled to return to it. Not since "Phantom Pain Scars" have I felt this way (though "The Irrelevant Love Song" and the first part of The Cure-ish "The Aftermath of Silence" were pretty good, too). It was upon my fourth or fifth run through Fragmentropy that I was finally able to put some words to my frustration with "getting INTO" Thomas fine work. Also, I think that his vocals are often muddied by the way they are mixed into the thick of his often busy and multi-directional instrumental tracks. Still this is an amazing set of compositions that will probably bring a lot of joy and interest to a lot of progressive rock lovers. Check it out for yourself to find out if T clicks for you!
Review by tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover Team
4 stars Thomas Thielen (aka T) has been an artist always on my radar, though I only possessed his Scythe experiment, and over the years I noticed the reviews of his previous 4 releases without plunging in. Why, you may care to ask? Well, I just do not know. Maybe there is a certain angst about one man projects being totally successful, though that is a pure excuse. Rob Reed, the Psychedelic Ensemble, Patchwork Cacophony, the mercurial Colin Mold, Like Wendy, Andy Jackson, Eureka, Cosmos Dream and Patrick Broguiere have all released masterful albums that defy the criticism of one-man showmanship being a superiority complex gone haywire. So I finally relented and gave this a purchase consent and I have been dissecting it ever since. As mentioned by many other pundits, this is a too sizeable slab to digest in one easy setting, extremely dense and laden with endless symphonic structures, sudden pastoral pools, a dark sonic chiffonade that defies the common, oodles of special effects and temperamental vicissitudes. T certainly can master all the instruments, the bass lines are highly efficient, the overall keyboard work simply fabulous (piano and e-piano in particular) but it's the attention to detail that really throws one for a loop and forces the repeat button to being abused.

The voice is at times eerily close to Steve Hoggarth, Gazpacho's Jan-Erik Ohme, Riversea's Marc Atkinson or fellow German Marco Glühmann of Sylvan fame. T studied and was deeply influenced by the Marillion connection (a rather common revelation for many aspiring musicians in the mid-80s). A multi-part opus with an avalanche of fragments (hence the title) that defy the norms, constantly seeking out new sonic planes and highlighting an unending source of inspiration. I really like the Bartok analogy a lot, as I had once witnessed alive classical concert that featured a famous Strauss piece that went down almost anti-climactically while the Bartok segment was drenched in perspiration, raw emotion and an almost DeMaupassant/Kafka feel, a gripping, impenetrable and intense experience. This stupendous oeuvre has some moments that recall Edison's Children in many ways, including the symphonic structure and the neo stylistics, draping curtains of velvet anxiety and melancholic exhilaration in well-structured fragments that fit together perfectly in some instances and then offer jagged edged stimulations that appear out of nowhere.

With "Chapter1- A Sky-High Pile of Anarchy ", a 14 minutes plus introduction , the prog propellers are whirring with gasping turbo-charged abandon, slipstreaming through the clouds and yearning for some unforeseeable relief. Though not some other critic's choice, 'Fragmentrophy's fog, smog, and drizzle does titillate me'. Truth is that one cannot fault the titanic musical effort displayed here but it does have accessibility issues which may scare off a few potential fans, making it rebellious, non-conformist and susceptible to rejection. Clanging guitars, an angelic soaring voice and a spiralling whirlwind melody that grabs one by the throat, the thrill is intact. "Brand New Mornings" inserts a more conventional melody, loaded up with multi-part vocal harmonies, Thomas' fatigued voice really induces thought and concern, a depressed version of Queen perhaps, complete with a series of searing, soaring guitar solos that screech wildly.

Chapter 2 really captures the essence of this album, encompassing three strong pieces, the opener "Uncertainty" contains a remarkable melody and a glorious vocal effect-laden performance, remindful of the lead vocalists mentioned earlier, achingly poignant and stirring, a near perfect neo-prog classic. Things get murky and trauma-like on the spidery "Entanglement", a 16 minute epic web of thin filaments of inspiration, a mesh of clashing contrasts, deep dips and swerving loops, slashing waves of the hand, unending sense of angst and undisclosed claustrophobia. A distraught saxophone blaring briefly amid some outright David Bowie vocal gymnastics (Major Thom?), pleading choir work and lush orchestrations where both dramatic keys and edgy guitars build the wall of sound. A defeatist and anguished piano extols some sense of vanquish, broken shards of crystal glass embedded into a crimson velvet curtain, bleeding rivulets of brown plasma pooling at your feet. Hush now, sweet black widow, hush now! "Eigenstates" serves as a fine and final addendum to the previous megalith, a misty, foggy maelstrom of effects, swooning orchestrations and muted voice. Poignant, emotive, bathing in minimalist anguish, one cannot help to think of Talk Talk's "Spirit of Eden", in terms of mood and substance. The shrieking guitar blasts only heighten the sizzle, the stark voice unflinching in its desperation.

The final chapter is composed of two pieces, "the Black of White" being a feistier affair, armed with a slight dissonance, compositional ebb and flow, twinkling guitar in the background and urgency up front on the microphone. Lots of mighty vocal twists, whisper to shout, fragmented like a symphonic jigsaw puzzle, and definitely psychotic and crazed, like Queen gone berserk! Then throw in a little "School's Out "reference (Alice Cooper) and you get what I mean! This overpowering piece has so many nods and winks , one would throw in the entire kitchen , let alone the sink. The finale is a gentle, windswept soundtrack "Shades of Silver" swims into dreamy Hoggarth-era Marillion, though in a more ambient and atmospheric mode. Thomas' pleading voice yearns for some untold deliverance, and ultimately, relief arrives on a synthesized wave of colossal sound and fury, conducted by a rabidly clanging guitar riff and tectonic drumming.

There is no immediacy to this demanding work, it has to be revisited often in various social circumstances, analyzing where and how it can fit into any easy pigeon-hole that would make it easier for everyone to understand, digest and enjoy this complicated, somewhat acerbic piece opus. Fans of Marillion, Edison's Children and such will and should flock to this interesting and yet highly challenging work. The artwork is quite disturbing as well, with various photos that seek to shock and perhaps even awe.

4 sonic puzzles

Review by Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars I had actually forgotten that I had reviewed a T album a number of years ago, in fact it was "Naive" his debut. Let's just say he's come a long way even if i'm not that into the music here. I also reviewed "Divorced Land" from one of his earlier projects called SCYTHE that I liked more than that "Naive" record. This is a one man project from German Therry Thiellen and we get around 76 minutes of music here.

"A Sky-High Pile Of Anarchy" opens with not much going on until before 1 1/2 minutes when we start to get these outbursts that come and go. The sound is fuller 3 1/2 minutes in followed quickly by female whispered words then fragile male vocals. It really doesn't kick into gear until after 5 1/2 minutes and this sounds much better in my opinion. We get a really enjoyable sound 9 minutes in. Some emotion as well before 11 minutes. Nice. It turns sad around 13 minutes to the end. "Brand New Mornings" hits the ground running with some impressive synth and guitar work. Vocals a minute in but i'm not a big fan of them. Some silliness before 2 minutes as the song will continue to change in mood and tempo, although a melancholic mood rules overall on this one. A nice guitar solo 7 1/2 minutes in followed by some crazy synths 2 minutes later as the drums pound. It's sad with spoken words before 11 1/2 minutes. "Uncertainty" opens with keys and fragile vocals then it picks up before a minute. Another calm follows then we get some organ 3 minutes in. I like the lyrics "I'm sorry i'm leaving you now... i'm sorry I cancelled my vow."

Next up is "Entanglement" at just under 17 minutes. A piano intro lasts until before 2 1/2 minutes when it all kicks in including the vocals. I'm not into this. The piano returns as it settles down again. Sax after 4 1/2 minutes. Sampled voices 9 minutes in and I like the music backing them up. It's quite spacey until almost 14 minutes in and we get a great sound from here until the end. I do feel the album finishes fairly strongly with the last three songs beginning with "Eigenstates". Not much going on here until it picks up after 1 1/2 minutes. I like the guitar/ piano section 3 1/2 minutes in with vocals and more. Piano and fragile vocals 5 minutes in and then it builds. That's my second most favourite song on here. "The Black Of White" has such a good sound to it early on, I like how urgent it sounds. That doesn't last long though. The fast paced vocals before 3 minutes are interesting. A calm follows before it picks up again. I like the closing section. "Shades Of Silver" is my favourite. A nice mellow/ spacey intro as vocals join in after a minute. It kicks in around the 5 minute mark to an emotional section which is followed by a reflective instrumental passage to close out the album.

This just really isn't an album that does a lot for me despite finishing strongly. I'm glad I checked back into T's world though.

Review by 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.

Review by kev rowland
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover Prog Team
3 stars

This 2015 album was the fifth from multi-instrumentalist Thomas Thielen under that name, and as always, he provided all the music, lyrics, vocals, performances and arrangements (although he did let someone else master it). Although there are seven separate songs, they are arranged into three chapters entitled 'Anisotropic Dances', 'The Politics of Entropy' and 'The Art Of Double Binding', and as always this never comes across as the work of a solo musician but rather of a band that is very tight and organised. Thomas likes to mess with a listener, going off on tangents, repeating melodies, only to twist and turn into new directions, providing harmonies and then throwing vocal stylings into the mix.

I normally enjoy his work, but there is something about this album that I found difficult to really fall in love with. Yes, it's very clever, incredibly well-played and produced, but is it something that I would listen to for pleasure and enjoyment? The answer to that just must be "no": I recognise how much work has gone into it, but this isn't an album I can get excited about at all. I know that many others will disagree with me, and I have seen plenty of reviews claiming this as a masterpiece, but it's not for me.

Latest members reviews

5 stars Thielen's newest work may also be his best. Fragmentropy includes the hooklines that were so typical of Anti-Matter Poetry and his early work (as far as I know it!) and for Scythe and introduces them to the complexity in the flow of Psychoanorexia, his 2012 album. "A Sky High Pile of Anarchy" in ... (read more)

Report this review (#1477445) | Posted by domrep | Monday, October 19, 2015 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I was very skeptical about this album, as there is a big hype going on about "T" at the moment. And don't we all mistrust hypes? The last hype I could not understand at all was about the new Riverside record: "Love, peace and a timemachine" might be a pleasant listen, but it s nothing like the ... (read more)

Report this review (#1462983) | Posted by AndreaW | Sunday, September 13, 2015 | Review Permanlink

2 stars 42/100 ... possible prog gateway drug for the Emo crowd? I lost my song by song review to a massive lighting strike. Zap! How painful is that? So, instead of a longish song by song review, you're getting the Reader's Digest version. I'm glossing over Fragmentrophy. I hear a little "Crack ... (read more)

Report this review (#1459441) | Posted by omphaloskepsis | Friday, September 4, 2015 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This is a first for me in many ways. Fragmentropy introduced me to progressive rock really. I only learned about the term after listening. I checked out quite a few other albums in the meantime, and I see what I missed, but maybe this naive way of listening is a plus as well as an interesting perspe ... (read more)

Report this review (#1458004) | Posted by Sweetheart | Monday, August 31, 2015 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Another good work by T. If the last one was quite Camelised ..this one is very much. Yes....I really loved very much Nod and a Wink and Rajaz from Camel....and this album is like the natural continuing to those works. So a combination between Thomas Thielen and Andy Lattimer may resurrect ... (read more)

Report this review (#1456804) | Posted by robbob | Thursday, August 27, 2015 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I am one of those who preordered the cd. Maybe I am subjective then. You decide. But I need to tell you about this under-rated artist. Just one person writing and playing and singing and recording everything! And it sounds like a band. There is nothing like a one man show ever. Good playing, eve ... (read more)

Report this review (#1454843) | Posted by foxtrott | Thursday, August 20, 2015 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This album should finally get t into the heads and ears of the progressive rock communities. It simply has the best the genre has to offer - plus it overcomes the borders set by cliche and tradition, from which so many of "our" releases suffer, with a snug. T includes so much irony (or rather sar ... (read more)

Report this review (#1454381) | Posted by herne | Tuesday, August 18, 2015 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Fragmentropy is more than a worthy successor of Psychoanorexia. It actually takes t's music to a higher level. Although there is a huge amount of stylistic parallels to other t albums, Fragmentropy is simply better than everything he has done before: The melodies are even more catchy. The arrange ... (read more)

Report this review (#1453849) | Posted by onlineman | Monday, August 17, 2015 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Very pleasant opus full of semi-operatic turnarounds sotto voce then accelerando/accelerato or even agitato possibly bellicoso once or twice ; right at the start of the first number after a silent few seconds leaps on you like a cracked-out tiger ; balletic in tone; danceable; touch of Yes ... ... (read more)

Report this review (#1453299) | Posted by shantiq | Saturday, August 15, 2015 | Review Permanlink

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