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FRAME

Heavy Prog • Germany


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FRAME was a German band formed in the early 1970's by Andy KIRNBERGER [guitars, vocals, piano], Cherry HOCHDöRFER [keyboards], Peter LOTZ [bass, vocals, percussion], Dieter BECKER [vocals, percussion] and Wolfgang CLAUS [drums, percussion]. In 1972, they released their debut album, 'Frame of Mind', produced by the infamous krautrock producer Dieter Dierks.

The band was short-lived-- 'Frame of Mind' was to be their only album, and the 5-piece dissolved soon afterward. However, unlike many other bands of the period, a few of the members continued playing music; both Hochdörfer and Claus appear on fellow Marburg band PELL MELL's 1978 effort 'Only a Star'.

Stylistically, FRAME is a fair representation of the wild jamming of Krautrock but the influence is based on heavy psychedelic bands as IRON BUTTERFLY, VANILLA FUDGE and DEEP PURPLE. A slant towards a heavier sound is tempered by a healthy dose of keyboards: the organ, piano, mellotron and spinet all credited to various band members. A pleasant alternative from Deutschland for fans of the heavy progressive/psychedelic sound.

- The Whistler -

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3.13 | 22 ratings
Frame Of Mind
1972

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FRAME Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Frame Of Mind by FRAME album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.13 | 22 ratings

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Frame Of Mind
Frame Heavy Prog

Review by ozzy_tom
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Frame is a very little known (unfortunately!) German band which recorded one but highly enjoyable art rock/heavy prog gem called "Frame of Mind" in golden year of ambitious music - 1972. When you hear "German music from 70s" you probably immediately think about some crazy psychedelic Krautrock but it's not a case here at all. Frame played very British style of early prog a la Cressida, Still Life, Beggar's Opera, Quatermass, Rare Bird, Spring, Aardvark or Frame but with slightly heavier arrangements due to more aggressive guitar presence. However just like their British fellows, Hammond organ is a main attraction on "Frame of Mind". In general if you like such English-sounding German groups like Birth Control, Frumpy, 2066 & Then, Virus, Amos Key or Tyburn Tall, you'll love Frame!

Let's check songs on their only album "Frame of Mind":

1. "Frame of Mind" - I truly adore how this album begins. Very relaxed and refreshing verses "Hot summer day, lazy by the river, Time's going by..." which truly remind me about nice warm summer during these winter days... All this song is truly magnificent for me, sometimes nostalgic sometimes more energetic but always very melodic and "catchy". Melancholic organ lines are leading the song from the beginning but in the end we can also listen to fantastic, more speedy organ/guitar solos. Whole song sounds like taken from some long lost Cressida's album but the last 2 minutes remind me of Atomic Rooster's staff. Brilliant!

2. "Crucial Scene" - similar song to the previous one but a bit harder with more elaborated electric guitar soloing and more brutal organ riffs. Vocals (shared by 3 members of the band but the lead one is Dieter Becker) are great as usual and don't bear any burden of German accent. Two slightly bluesy Hammond solos are splendid here. Another perfect track!

3. "All I Really Want Explain" - my favorite composition on the album is an eleven minutes mini-epic characterized by very beautiful, nostalgic vocals, rhythmic acoustic guitar tones and omnipresent almost churchy sounding organs. Shades of Cressida are very clear here again, but I don't mind 'cos I really love such kind of melodic prog. About 5th minute Andy Kirnberger presents us some bluesy guitar solo which is followed by even better and much longer psychedelic Hammond organ one. I could almost swear that it's Jean Jacques Kravetz from "Frumpy" behind the instrument there! In the second part of the song tempo changes to something more jazzy and Cherry Hochdorfer plays some tasty piano then.

4. "If" - this one is a bit more straightforward hard rock song with heavy guitar riffing but also enough organ chops to keep everybody happy. Besides very long and Emerson-like wild Hammond organ solo in the middle won't let you forget that it's a truly classic prog-rock record. In general it can be Frame's answer for many heavy-prog songs of Deep Purple or Uriah Heep.

5. "Winter" - very nice a bit folky ballad with rich layers of organ, lead acoustic guitar lines and occasional background mellotron fills. Vocal sounds passionate and emotional so the main purpose of ballad was fulfilled. Classical sounding middle part with overwhelming organ passages.

6. "Penny for an Old Guy" - it's a very weird song which sounds a bit disjointed. 1st minute is a straightforward hard rock with simplistic guitar riffs and rather awful vocals. After that music suddenly slows down and can listen to some psychedelic, mellow section with repetitive acoustic guitar tones and thrilling, dark lyrics. After awhile Hochdorfer plays some joyful melody on spinet (like harpsichord or clavinet). In the end band comes back to generic hard rock from the beginning of the song. All of this within only 3 minutes and 10 seconds!

7. "Children's Freedom" - truly magnificent folk-like song based upon energetic acoustic guitar and surprisingly loud, but very melodic guitar lines. In the background we can hear some distorted organ layers and everything is closed with catharsis inducting electric guitar solo. But the most important are vocals: emotional, melodic and truly memorable. What a shame that it's only 2 and half minute long!

8. "Truebsal" - anthem-like (real German anthem? I don't know...Maybe...) melody played 15 seconds on mellotron. A bit strange thing to close so good album, but maybe they just bought this great instrument and they wanted to show its "full glory"? Anyway few seconds of mellotron torturing wasn't a really good idea. Sounds too noisy...

Overall "Frame of Mind" is a hidden gem of magnificent prog music from musically great 70s era. If you love organ-driven progressive rock with bluesy influences and folkish acoustic guitars, Frame is a band created just for you. I've already mentioned what British and German bands you should also check along with this one, so I can only add here that you can find similar kind of music in material recorded by American band "Gypsy" and "Think" from New Zealand.

P.S It can also be interesting for you to know that Andy Kirnberger was the guitarist on Pell Mell's debut album "Marburg" which was recorded the same year and later he sang, played guitar and piano on eponymous album of heavy prog band Hardcake Special (from 1974). While Cherry Hochdorfer (keyboards) & Wolfgang Claus (drums) played later on Pell Mell's 4th album "Only a Star" from 1978.

I know that other reviewers didn't like this album so much, but I can assure you that for me it's worth full 5 stars 'cos it's a shining diamond of 70s art/prog rock.

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 Frame Of Mind by FRAME album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.13 | 22 ratings

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Frame Of Mind
Frame Heavy Prog

Review by octopus-4
Special Collaborator RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team

2 stars Frame are labeled as Heavy Prog on PA. What I hear in this album is quite pop-oriented instead.

On the title track we have Wishbone Ash's like voices, a mellotron a la Procol Harum and two chords that make me think to George Harrison, at least until the rock section starts. It's an early 70s bluesy rock. Nothing more than nice.

Things don't change a lot on "Crusical Scene", wich starts to be more progressive, with good keyboards and clean guitar solos over a consistent melodic line with "All I Really Want Explain" that has something of Uriah Heep (unfortunately not the singer). A good track anyway, even if far from being an epic. The fact that after 5 minutes of almost prog stuff it turns back to blues doesn't contribute but I have to admit that this kind of psychedlic-blues is very enjoyable until it remains instrumental. Otherwise it seems the lost early album of Wishbone Ash.

"If" would have been good for the Isle of Wight. Acid keyboard on a heavy rock song. The keyboard solo in the middle is good. It's a hard-rock oriented song.

"Winter" starts as a hippy song. Very strange in 1972 when the hippy movement were already gone, also in Germany. When it turns into rock is absolutely not bad. And absolutely not original, too.

With "Penny for an Old Guy" we are back to blues-rock again. It's more or less the same year of Wishbone Ash's Argus, so it's not a sin. The number of changes in tempo and line are a bit too much for a 3 minutes song.

"Children's Freedom" is on the slow side of hard-rock and the last 20 seconds which close the album with a keyboard distorting the national anthem can be ignored.

The first time I've listened to it I was in a shopping center with headphones on. As background music when you are doing something else (a queue for example) is good enough, but even if it's well played and almost well produced I think one can easily give it up.

2.5 stars. I'd like to rate it three, but I want you to save your money for something more essential so I round it down.

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 Frame Of Mind by FRAME album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.13 | 22 ratings

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Frame Of Mind
Frame Heavy Prog

Review by Atavachron
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

2 stars Somewhat sluggish but generally decent progressive heavy blues from this short-lived German bunch on their only offering with Dieter Dirks' helping hands on production. Led by guitarist Andy Kirnberger and fleshed-out with Cherry Hochdorfer's organ, Frame didn't always bring much new to the party but they were good players, and with a less stoned sound could've given 'Frame of Mind' the kickstart it needed to compete in the increasingly flashy and crowded progressive scene (they were among the Bacillus label's early artists such as Dschinn, Haze).

In league with other prog bluesmen as Badger, Odin, Traffic or Mainhorse as well as reflecting the impact of Vanilla Fudge and Procol Harum, the quintet's churchly mewling was unlikely to sell many records, ensuring Frame's bill-sharing status and brief lifespan. The dreary title cut plays like garden variety Woodstock-era folkrock with Hochdorfer's deep organ sounds filling up the space well and the band jamming nicely, Peter Lotz, Wolfgang Claus and Dieter Becker's rhythms briefly getting into Santana territory. 'All I Really Want Explain', the 11-minute centerpiece, is an ambitious try at linking disparate songcraft together, suddenly swapping balladry for baroque, minor blues and back again, supported by the band's winsome vocal harmonies. Satisfying hard-rocker 'If' shows an outfit that was on to something but hadn't quite arrived yet, and 'Penny for an Old Guy' is straight riff-rock with a surprise soft center. I reckon 'Collectors/fans only' is just about right.

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