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FRACTAL MIRROR

Crossover Prog • Netherlands


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Fractal Mirror biography
The origins of FRACTAL MIRROR can be traced back to the mid-eighties when three friends from Amsterdam started to make music together influenced by bands from the famous 4AD label and artists like David SYLVIAN and JAPAN. At the same time a new wave of progressive rock was expanding its listening audience. Bands like IQ, PENDRAGON, TWELFTH NIGHT, MARILLION and PALLAS but especially the virtually unknown Canadian band TERRACED GARDEN have been a big influence.

Fast Forward to 2012:
Two of the original members are still working together but the musical focus has shifted towards contemporary pop/rock music with progressive rock influences. If the band has to label their own music they would settle on Alternative (Progressive) Rock. Their music is song based and there are no long instrumental passages or difficult time signatures. The music has a dark, raw edge and they often use Mellotron sounds. Via Facebook a drummer from the States is found and after working out recording logistics through some demos the band decides on the name FRACTAL MIRROR. At the end of 2012 tracks were recorded at home for a CD. The drum tracks were recorded at a studio in New Jersey in the summer of 2013. These tracks were then mixed and mastered in August at the Autumnsongstudios in Trondheim, Norway by Rhys MARSH from RHYS MARSH and the AUTUMN GHOSTS (recently interviewed in Classic Rock Presents Prog). 'STRANGE ATTRACTORS' is the name of their debut album and was released independently on November 8th 2013. It contains 10 tracks. The last 6 tracks of the album form a song cycle called ''A LIFE IN DARKNESS'' and deals with the rise and demise of a serial killer.

A new album is written and is currently being recorded with a planned release for late 2014. Bedsides the three musicians (Ed van HAAGEN, Leo KOPERDRAAT and Frank L. URBANIAK) the band also consists of a video artists (André de BOER) and a photographic artist (Brian WATSON) enabling the band to express themeselves not only through music but also through beautiful still and moving images.

Biography provided by the artist and used with permission

Fractal Mirror official website

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Garden Of GhostsGarden Of Ghosts
Synergy Electronic Music 2016
Audio CD$7.02
$4.50 (used)
Strange AttractorsStrange Attractors
Synergy Electronic Music 2016
Audio CD$13.98
$8.36 (used)
Slow Burn 1Slow Burn 1
CD Baby 2016
Audio CD$4.25
$1.99 (used)
Strange Attractors by Fractal Mirror (2014-03-18)Strange Attractors by Fractal Mirror (2014-03-18)
Synergy Electronic Music
Audio CD$44.40
Garden of Ghosts by Fractal MirrorGarden of Ghosts by Fractal Mirror
Koch Entertainment
Audio CD$33.47
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FRACTAL MIRROR discography


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FRACTAL MIRROR top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.90 | 12 ratings
Strange Attractors
2013
3.89 | 39 ratings
Garden Of Ghosts
2014
3.83 | 18 ratings
Slow Burn 1
2016

FRACTAL MIRROR Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

FRACTAL MIRROR Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

FRACTAL MIRROR Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

FRACTAL MIRROR Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

4.50 | 4 ratings
The Fading Ghosts Of Yesterday
2013

FRACTAL MIRROR Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Garden Of Ghosts by FRACTAL MIRROR album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.89 | 39 ratings

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Garden Of Ghosts
Fractal Mirror Crossover Prog

Review by Jan Scanulfsson

4 stars I bought Fractal Mirror's 2016 album, "Slow Burn 1", after hearing a selection of tracks on internet radio and, finding it thoroughly absorbing, decided to delve into their back catalogue. Their 2014 effort, "Garden of Ghosts", went to the top of my shopping list.

With striking "abstract-figurative" artwork in rich, filtered, hues and extensively illustrated liner notes, it appears Leo, Ed and Frank are determined to cover every base in offering a quality album package. A running time of 64 minutes with eleven tracks described as : "...a loosely connected set of songs focusing on three themes : connections and relationships in the 21st Century, how pervasive technology affects our relationships and how our memory and perspective changes over time." Thought provoking topics from the real world, with concerns of the here-and-now and something we can all relate to.

The opener, "House of Wishes", has something of an 80s Genesis feel with chiming guitars, midtempo groove and clever breakdown and rebuilding phases, as well as a wonderful transition to the outro.

"The Phoenix" is altogether different and cries "epic" from the first few bars. Lost hopes and dashed optimism are portrayed by distant overdriven guitar chords, subtle synth sequences and Mellotron strings. The music takes us down before executing an optimistic rise from the ashes with a fantastic and mysterious turn of events before giving way to a mood of upbeat defiance from Leo and his backing vocalists : " I won't bend, I won't conform". Not giving in to tragedy or loss, but coming back stronger over the course of seven and a half minutes of inspirational progressive rock.

The next four tracks and sixteeen minutes make up "The Powerless Suite" , which concerns itself with the impact of technology on human relationships. Smooth electric piano, Mellotron and tasteful lead guitar, including a country tinged slide feature from Brett Kull, make "Lost in Clouds" a beautifully melancholic excursion before the heavier, overdriven organ and guitar textures of "Solar Flare" take over. There's another 80s Genesis vibe on "The Hive" with its musings on the all-encompassing nature of social media in general and a certain "book of faces" in particular. A playfully bouncy and innocent Tron flute contrasts with an increasingly ominous lyric : "we know where you eat, we know when you sleep, we know what you're thinking". A reminder that the modern telescreen, like its Orwellian ancestor, lacks an off-switch. The suite closes with "Solar Flare Reprise", featuring a wonderful Mellotron cello amongst piano and guitar layers and an atmosphere that I can only describe as elegaic.

The title track, "The Garden", is concerned with the pernicious, stealthy, advance of the ageing process and the sudden realisation of having "gotten older, when is not clear". A descending Beatles-baroque style progression using a straight-four pulse and a novel chordal turnaround keeps the listener on their toes. Listen to the great clean-toned lead guitar from Brett Kull, another highlight in an already outstanding album.

"Orbital View", is an eight minute progressive road-trip with a lazy, hazy Eastern influence, resembling, in places, a lighter "Kashmir". Brian Watson, responsible for the artwork on this album and Slow Burn 1, provides the lyrics with a phrasing style reminding me of 90s Neal Peart. Wonderful backing vocals, percussive extras and clever arranging complete the package.

The Autumnal, nostalgic, atmosphere extends to the next pair of songs, "Event Horizon" and "Legacy" where Leo sings "I wish I could go back, No chance for rehearsals, I didn't always get it right". By this stage the album is inducing a mood similar to that which I experience listening to "And Then There Were Three". A sense of warmth and slightly blurry nostalgia, accepting past events, acknowledging mistakes and imperfections, but coming to terms with them and drawing strength for the future.

The closing track, "Stars", is eight and a half minutes of jaw-droppingly "big music". Musically, lyrically and emotionally, it provides the perfect conclusion to an enthralling collection of songs. Credited guest-personnel includes Larry and Don Fast, Brett Kull and the Stephanus Choir. A moody and atmospheric introduction of rich Mellotron chords with distant guitars, in a Moody Blues or BJH vein, this is classic prog in every sense. Moving through a typically Banksian change-up with chimes, choral groups and soaring lead guitar, Fractal Mirror have a bona fide epic on their hands. "Someday we will all shine, Together again".Once more, we are coming to terms with the loss of loved ones and realising their legacy lives on through the generations. "Stars" is a fine addition to the prog-rock hymnal.

Simply put, "Garden of Ghosts" is a thought provoking, mood-shaping, listening experience with a perfect blend of melodic immediacy and repeated-listening discoveries.

With everything from toe-tapping, singalong optimism to songs that will you stop you in your tracks before reaching for the repeat button, "Garden of Ghosts" is a must-listen for anyone interested in modern progressive rock.

It's difficult to assign a score to any work of art, but for me it has to sit in the 85 to 90% range. Four and a half stars in Progarchives currency.

 Slow Burn 1 by FRACTAL MIRROR album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.83 | 18 ratings

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Slow Burn 1
Fractal Mirror Crossover Prog

Review by Jan Scanulfsson

4 stars Slow Burn 1, released in March 2016, is Fractal Mirror's 3rd album and has an overarching concept of sorts. It's not a continuing narrative, but could be described as a series of musings on a world-in-flux and the difficulties we all face in adapting to the rate of change. As Yeats put it : "Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world"

The Fractal boys concern themselves with lyrical themes involving technology, privacy, identity, alienation, separation, life and legacy. Twenty-first century concerns from a twenty first century band, located as they are in the Netherlands and the U.S.

I'd say their primary musical roots lie with the late sixties psychedelic era, with additional influences from eighties and nineties art-rock. Strong echoes of the late Beatles' style, and the first-wave of post-Fabs. The emphasis is placed unswervingly on memorable melodies, providing a comforting sense of familiarity from the very first listen.

The evocative sounds of the Mellotron feature on practically every song, being employed with great invention rather than simply opting for slow moving epic string textures.

If you're looking for extended instrumental passages or lengthy solos then you've come to the wrong place. In many respects it's as if they've bypassed the seventies altogether, which could either be a strength or a weakness depending on your point of view.

Moving on to deal with some of the songs themselves.

The opening number, "Prelude", is wonderfully cinematic with layered strings & flutes giving way to a slightly world- weary vocal. Choral swells and acoustic guitars continue the melancholy beauty but alas, it's over all too soon. Nice move - leave the listener wanting more.

The next pair of songs appear to be linked lyrically with phrases common to both. Musically we have hints of slowly building emotion, as per "Nights in White Satin", and mid-tempo, mid-eighties Genesis textures.

Another highlight for me is "Embers", which starts with a very similar idea to "I Talk To The Wind", and related lyrical sentiments to Sinfield's "Much confusion, disillusion all around me". The Fractal Mirror song relies on rich backing vocals and a clever arrangement allowing for effective rise and fall before winding up into something gently epic. I was also reminded of XTC's "Books are Burning".

Lead vocalist Leo sings comfortably in a light baritone, with an ever present air of resigned melancholy. The lyrics employ plain, everyday language with topical Americanisms, the language of the internet and the global village. The backing vocals are very cleverly arranged, sometimes reinforcing the lead and acting as effective mood- colouring, or taking contrasting lines to set up attractive counterpoint. For me their harmonies are one of their major strengths.

Listen to the fantastic vocal arrangement on the closing track, "Universal". Hints of CSNY, or World Party perhaps, certainly a kind of sweeping neo-flower power and very effective at provoking an emotional reaction.

Over the course of an hour's music they revisit similar themes, both lyrically and musically, but this is absolutely the right thing to do for the sake of cohesion in a conceptual piece. Classical recapitulation means we view the same themes differently as a result of lessons learned en route.

Penultimate song, "Artifacts", deals with preserving experience for posterity, leaving one's mark on the world perhaps, and conjures images of a technological ossuary. Being and time as someone once said. Musically and melodically there are parallels with the second track, revisiting and preserving in action.

The liner notes feature lavish illustrations with lyrics for each song, reflecting the Mirror's attention to detail.

The strength of the songs, and of the album as a whole, lies with melody, mood and arranging variety. Accessibility of musical and lyrical language, all without compromising their inventiveness.

Psych-pop-art-prog-rock - what's in a name? They're all in there, with their relative proportions being something for the listener to determine.

Highly recommended.

 Slow Burn 1 by FRACTAL MIRROR album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.83 | 18 ratings

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Slow Burn 1
Fractal Mirror Crossover Prog

Review by Angelo
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin

4 stars I am not sure whether it was the dark mood of this album, or the amount of work on my plate ("There's too much on your plate", Leo Koperdraat sings on the track Miracle as I write this), but it took me almost 6 months and countless listens to get around to reviewing this album. Does that mean it's a bad album? On the contrary, this is a set of 11 thought out tracks, in the style that we know from Fractal Mirror's previous album Garden of Ghosts.

However, compared to the previous album, there are quite a few differences. Partly because of the lyrics, which deal with the way technology is disrupting our lives - from the internet and smartphones all the way to our large telescopes that makes us learn about the universe. The deep, slow voice of Leo Koperdraat, which has not lost any of it's Steve Kilby likeness, tells what this all does to our minds and our lives, accompanied by his guitar and the ever so well executed drumming of Frank Urbaniak and Ed van Haagen's deep bass and floating keyboard work - and a nice list of guest musicians, including bass players Leopold Blu-Sky and Kenny Bisset Sr, and guitarits/producer Brett Kull (Echolyn).

Playing this album during my evening walks in the dark makes me change moods frequently, in line with the music. From melancholy (Miracle, Embers) to wonder (V838), via sadness (Fading, Embers - where Leo sings "We slowly burn...") back to melancholy on Universal. What makes me happy underneath is the skill with which the compositions are formed. The mix of rock, indie and progressive rock the band claims to create does work well with the lyrics, and the eminent darkness of the lyrics is complemented by wonderful, fitting melodies.

The band has been worrying, also in public, about the low sales, and I can see why - this is not the most complex album to get into musically, but the moodiness may keep people away from it. A shame really, because after these 6 months this is an album I'd like to recommend, for an evening of contemplation every once in a while.

Also published on my blog www.angelosrockorphanage.com

 Garden Of Ghosts by FRACTAL MIRROR album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.89 | 39 ratings

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Garden Of Ghosts
Fractal Mirror Crossover Prog

Review by Angelo
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin

4 stars It's months ago that I promised Leo Koperdraat (keyboard, guitar, vocals) to review the album Garden of Ghosts, which he released together with Ed van Haagen (bass and keyboards) and Frank Urbaniak (drums and lyrics). The second album of this trio, and I must admit that up to this day I have not had the chance (or, to be more honest, time) to listen to their debut, Strange Attractions. Maybe I should, given what I found on this one...

Fractal Mirror consider their music (as written on their web site) to be contemporary pop/rock with progressive rock influences. This shows in the way the songs are structured, there's a bit more of chorus and verse structuring then on the albums I usually review, but a bit of variation in the musical diet usually doesn't hurt. Certainly not in this case, when the progressive rock influences are coming from the corner that was once monikered symphonic rock. Or, in short, there's a lot of keyboard work on this album. Not really a surprise, given that both Dutchmen, Koperdraat and Van Haagen play keyboards, next to the other instruments they handle.

This means that on just about all tracks, from the opening House of Wishes all the way to Stars, we are treated to layers of keyboard, synthesizer and mellotron melodies. Sometimes they simply form the main structure of the song, sometimes they are the accompaniment of the guitar. A guitar that is not always played by Leo Koperdraat by the way, on some tracks, for example Lost in the Clouds, producer and musician Brett Kull plays (slide) guitar.

So what does that mean in detail? Well, the album opens with House of Wishes, which has a an eighties synth pop feel to it, but with more intricate keyboard work. The singing of Leo Koperdraat reminds me slightly of Steve Kilby, singer of eighties Australian pop band The Church.

This is followed by the slightly more complex The Phoenix. A heavier opening is followed by more keyboard work, like on the opening track, but this track goes through different moods and tempos. Just in time for me, it becomes a bit more powerful near the end: despite the beautiful keyboard structures, the album lacks a bit of power for me.

On Lost in the Cloud, which starts in the same tempo as the first two tracks, the additional slide guitar adds a more rocky edge. This track is also the opening of the Powerless Suite, which covers four tracks from the album - dealing with social media, human communications and what would happen if we became 'really powerless'. An interesting theme, laid down very well in the music here.

Solar Flare the second part of the suite, is largely instrumental, with the band's friend and video artist Andre de Boer on triangle. The combination of organ (a Hammond?) and guitar work out really well here, mimicking the power of a solar flare for sure.

The Hive portrays what happens when the power goes down, taking us through the emotions of the now disconnected people. The keyboards and a quite sharp guitar part mimic the despair of the narrator having to communicate in the natural way again. That same guitar takes a lead role in the short instrumental Solar Flare Reprise.

After the suite, it is time for a short change in atmosphere and instrumentation. The Garden is build around piano and acoustic guitar, giving it a completely different feel than the rest of the album. A rather melancholic track about aging.

Orbital View builds layers of keyboard melodies again, which lead to a somewhat gloomy sound when combined with drums and guitars. Here Leo Koperdraat also sings in a slightly different way (higher pitched) than on the rest of the album.

Event Horizon is another good keyboard based track, about forgetting about the future when loosing someone. This nicely complements Legacy, which is about the feeling of parents when their children leave 'the nest'.

Closing off the album is Stars, which is dedicated by the band to all those they have lost. A beautiful track, opening with acoustic guitar and a real choir (no mellotron this time) followed by a bass hook that keeps you wondering how to explain it. The song builds up an becomes less dependent on that bass hook later on - and provides some great instrumentals.

Based on reviews of the debut, the band has improved quite a bit - and although this album is good, I hope the announced two volume album for 2016 shows more improvement. For that I see two ways, after listening to this album. First, I hope to find slightly more emotion in the vocals (Leo is a bit lacking there, which doesn't do justice to the nice timbre he has). Second, maybe a few more instrumental parts - the melodies and compositions are so good that sometimes the vocals could be omitted without loosing the story. A story which is otherwise well covered by the lyrics of drummer and lyricist Frank Urbaniak.

So, it took me a while get around to reviewing this album, but now it's done. Playing it is more than worth the time of anyone who likes symphonic rock and related music. Curious to things to come, with a promise of two volumes of music next year the band suddenly have raised the bar for themselves.

(also published on my blog www.hulshout.nl/rfm)

 Strange Attractors by FRACTAL MIRROR album cover Studio Album, 2013
2.90 | 12 ratings

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Strange Attractors
Fractal Mirror Crossover Prog

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Multinational band project FRACTAL MIRROR, to some extent inspired by a previous project that involved Dutch musicians Ed van Haagen and Leo Koperdraat had back in the 80's from what I understand, was formed in 2012 when they were joined by US drummer Frank Urbaniak. "Strange Attractors" is their debut album, and was self released back in 2013.

The progressive rock umbrella cover a lot of ground, but whether it also covers the paths taken by this multinational, presumably Holland based venture is a question without a definitive answer I suspect. It all depends on what elements you think are needed to be able to categorize an album into this category, a question of how important arrangements are as compared to structure. If you place your emphasis on the former, then this is an album you'll count in, if you emphasize the latter you probably won't understand why people mention this album in such a context at all.

Basically I find this album to consist of three different types of compositions: Songs that are singer/songwriter pieces at heart, embellished with some additional keyboards. Soft rock creations with a liberal amount of keyboard layers. And at last atmospheric laden creations with perhaps more of a synth pop feel to them, again heavily flavored with keyboards.

The general lack of alterations in pace and the fairly uniform shift in arrangements doesn't bring me any strong progressive rock vibes really, but the arrangements is another story. Mournful keyboards and a vast array of Mellotron textures is a key feature here, with faint traces of classic prog bands like Pink Floyd and, arguably, even a touch of Caravan on one occasion, applied to dark, brooding and mournful keyboard tapestries that come and go as smooth, subtly dramatic effects throughout. I will stress the faint trace though, as the moods are similar, familiar textures are used, but within a rather different context than the progressive rock giants of old. That I noted down Gary Numan and a-ha as possible references on a couple of tracks is telling I guess. There are songs here that I'd describe a meeting of minds between a-ha and Numan, flavored with Floydian atmospheres.

I really enjoy the dark, brooding atmospheres crafted here, but to a limit. I have grown to recognize and appreciate the sounds of the Mellotron, be it the real thing or one of the many good quality sampled versions of it, but there is such a thing as too much. I think the band does overdo it here, and part of the problem might be that they create too many moods that are too similar sounding I suspect. I did find the drumming to be a tad too pedestrian as well, longing for some occasional subtle rhythm details to enhance the total experience. That the lead vocals were kind of flat and accented isn't a positive detail on an album that features so many songs that are vocals dominated either, a great vocalist would have elevated the end result quite a bit.

Whether or not this is a progressive rock album I'll leave for others to decide, discussions like that tends to go on for a bit: I think I saw one that started in the 1980's that is still ongoing. But if you like and enjoy dark, atmospheric laden relatively straight forward pop/rock with liberal use of rich, layered tapestries of keyboards and Mellotron, of the kind that Pink Floyd and several neo progressive rock bands have been known to use, then Fractal Mirror's debut album "Strange Attractors" is a production you might want to have a go at. Especially if you are among those listeners that focus on the lyrics conveyed by the vocals rather than experiencing the vocals as more of an instrument in the overall context.

 Garden Of Ghosts by FRACTAL MIRROR album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.89 | 39 ratings

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Garden Of Ghosts
Fractal Mirror Crossover Prog

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

4 stars Fractal Mirror's first album was not well received by other reviewers even though I certainly rated it highly, convinced after multiple spins and understand the lurid story behind the lyrics (about a mass murdering psychopath) that beyond the candy there was some serious other flavors. Perhaps my enthusiasm laid with the abundance of mellotron (mostly its choir selection), an instrument I will never tire of! Yes, there was a poppy sound but way more developed than your usual commercial pap. My colleague Progshine made a great comment the other day on progarchives calling a band's style 'Tears For Fears prog', I couldn't help smiling. He was referring to Steve Cochrane's album 'La La La, Variations on a Happy Song", a style that was obviously upbeat, positive and, well, happy! WTF is wrong with being happy? I know I have forged my life into a big bowl of happiness after a dreary 30 year marriage which has been thankfully over for 7 years now! Fresh air, sunlight and great music.....Aaaah! HAPPY IS A GOOD THING!

Imagine K-Scope era Manzanera (A criminally underrated masterpiece, BTW!) that had an illicit affair with Split Enz, tossing in some loose mellotron contraception and fathering this slithering modern prog-pop album! Should you have any doubts, the Fractal Mirror lads (Urbaniak, Koperdraat and Van Haagen) have allied themselves with illustrious prog names such as Brett Kull of Echolyn, as well as the legendary sound bender himself Larry Fast (Gabriel, Nektar, Tony Levin Group, Synergy and countless others). Fast needs no introduction, a respected option to Brian Eno, Vangelis, Schulze and a myriad of other synthesists, he certainly orchestrates in a more upfront manner than ever before, a shimmeringly organic electronic sound , dominated by the monumental mellotron.

It's not my fault if I view myself as a perpetual romantic, so let it be, I just love brilliant melodies, a trait way harder in any event to create than sonic noise. The quality of the melodies is simply mind-blowing, starting off with the opener "House of Wishes". There is a soothing effect throughout the melancholic piece, as exemplified by the perennial 'uuuh' background highlights, the mellotron howl and the wide drum support. Great introduction.

The 7 minute "The Phoenix" provides a little more edge, the forlorn lyrics depicting some past loss that is in need of some kind of salvation. Been there and done that, as 'the phoenix rises from the ashes, its eyes brighter than before' sings Leo, in his peculiar Richard Butler (Psychedelic Furs) nasal twang. The arrangement is dynamic, effervescent and intense, thus eschewing any hint of crass commercialism, preferring a more symphonic attitude that does wonders to both the ears and the mind. Amid the guitar riffs and the majestic choir mellotron, there is a slight Celtic tinge that keeps things interesting.

The charming "Lost in Clouds" sounds like some lost Frazier Chorus track, or a more symphonic the Lightning Seeds, a time in the late 80s when jovial psychedelia was the norm. Insistent e-piano, sweeping slide guitar and a little flower-power hippie feel make this a more accessible song, derailed into proginess by that damn mellotron.

"The Hive" is sandwiched between 2 "Solar Flare" slices, the first of which surprises with a rollicking organ riff, supported by a snarling guitar and that big white machine as Leo reaches for the skies. This mini-suite remains the core of the album and as such, assigns the direction they will choose from now on, a niche prog sub-genre that is neither neo or symphonic, falling into that ever-wide style known as crossover.

Dreamy melancholia surfaces again on the brooding "The Garden", a slow-burning candle of wispy emotions, nothing too sweet or complacent, as if something immeasurable affects the soul. Plaintive and utterly painful, 'the faces of dreams and voices that call me' inflict unwittingly a profound introspection, as if every answer gives birth to a new series of questions. Spectral, frozen, depressive and infectiously painful, all is there to pick, harvest and ponder.

The album's definite highlight is the very Fast-like "Orbital View", an 8 minute celestial romp loaded to the gills with layers of colorful keys, synths and choir 'tron, creating a bleak, almost spectral atmosphere. Though the premise may be pretty, there is a hint of doom and despair in the music which probably accounts for most if not all of the proggier elements, also found in the droning guitars, the slippery violin samples, lyrical snippets of deep introspection that occasionally shine through the misty fog.

Both "Even Horizon" and its logical companion "Legacy" continue on the same regretful premise, where a memory of some past love keeps hurting and in need of some kind of sorrowful resolution. 'Predator and prey, each cannot see the other', this is an astute observation to say the least, using humble words to define intricate matters. Floating on a slashing crest of turbulence, it's hard to see 'the point of no return', moving slowly towards some kind of epiphany.

As with their debut, Fractal Mirror keeps the best for last, as the majestic finale "Stars" curves lovingly and oh so gently into the soul, as the mood grows in intensity and clarity, a 'respite from the storm' shoved later along by blistering mellotronic howls. Lots of precious details are inserted here, a flute fluttering one moment and a masterful synth line the next, while the vocals bathe in some soporific pool of reflective compassion. Not surprisingly the last word uttered is 'shine'.

The restless lyrics, just like the music in fact, seem outwardly simple but in fact deal with a great variety of human concerns, everything from regret to compassion, nostalgia to hope, courage to despair. It's this balance between light and dark, simple and complex that configure the Fractal Mirror style, accentuated by Frank Urbaniak's wide drumming style acting like some equilibrium arbiter. If taken as such, the material suddenly emerges as brilliant commentary and a delightful listen. Fractal Mirror has arrived and will 'continue to shine on you' undeterred and still soul searching, something we humans should do more often, in order to understand, not who but what we really are!

I enjoyed their debut even though it got poor ratings, this one may change quite a few minds, as the dynamics are simply tremendous. Yes, it floats on the crests of more the more poppy side of the prog spectrum but certainly is as worthy of adulation than say Blackfield, Synaesthesia, Vienna Circle and Cosmograf.

4.5 Spectral orchards

 Garden Of Ghosts by FRACTAL MIRROR album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.89 | 39 ratings

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Garden Of Ghosts
Fractal Mirror Crossover Prog

Review by Ier

5 stars Garden of Ghosts is Fractal Mirror's second album. It is not really a concept album but most songs contain three themes that keep coming back; connections/relationships in the 21st century, how the technology of nowadays affect those relationships and how memories/perspectives changes over time.

There aren't many albums that keep my full attention through the whole music experience, but this album does. This album keeps me fascinated from the first to the last track. There are no tracks in between that you want to skip because it's not interesting enough or break up the musical flow of the album, it could almost be one long interesting track with different musical twists and themes. It is not just bite-sized chunks of music (like most pop music nowadays) but real progressive rock. This is an album you can listen on the background while doing something else or just sit on the couch and give it your full attention. The album carries a certain musical atmosphere, mostly because there is a lot of happening musically on the background as well. I love the use of the mellotron patterns for example. I hear some influences of Porcupine Tree/Blackfield and Earth & Fire, but there's no plagiarism to be found. I had to get used to the voice, but after a couple of listening sessions it started to grow on me.

The album sounds amazing, which is not unimportant. Many artists can record an album but that doesn't mean it will sound great. You can hear that this album is made by musicians with experience and mixed/produced by someone who has a pair of good ears.

"House of Wishes" is a beautiful introduction, it immediately grabs your attention."Lost in Clouds" is my favourite track for sure. The last track "Stars" is a wonderful 8 minute piece, it's like watching the denouement of a long and fascinating movie.

 Strange Attractors by FRACTAL MIRROR album cover Studio Album, 2013
2.90 | 12 ratings

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Strange Attractors
Fractal Mirror Crossover Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars The roots of this Dutch band can be found in mid-80's, when Ed van Haagen and Leo Koperdraat played in a band influenced by the likes of Twelfth Night, Pendragon, Marillion and, surprisingly, Canadians Terraced Garden.With lack of success and life moving on they found themselves playing more contemporary material with Pop and Alternative Rock vibes.Founding American drummer Frank Urbaniak via Facebook was the initial moments of Fractal Mirror.The two musicians begun writing music at their home studio and the drums for an upcoming album were recorded in a studio in New Jersey.The mixing took place in Trondheim, Norway by Rhys Marsh and the debut of Fractal Mirror came out in November 2013, titled ''Strange attractors''.

This would be another good yet ordinary Art Pop/Rock album, if the members didn't let their past influences come on surface, so ''Strange attractors'' revisits some of the vintage prog fundamentals and the Netherlands-based band combined them with atmospheric, melancholic and upbeat tunes in a well-crafted album, which sounds in the end like COLDPLAY and RADIOHEAD meet with GENESIS and late-60's KING CRIMSON.The tracks are quite short and the focus in on solid songwriting, romantic lyrics and voices and elaborate melodies, but the keyboard parts in particular have nothing to do with Pop Rock.Loads of impressive Mellotron in almost in every track and soaring synth deliveries from the later GENESIS/early MARILLION days add the appropriate progressive vibes and the retro color of old-school Prog in the process.The music is mostly atmospheric and dreamy with laid-back arrangements and a deep lyricism with the guitar work having an almost Post Rock feel, the addition of nostalgic keyboard flashes is great and the material ends up to be trully memorable and well-executed.Not an extended album, about 40 minutes long, but this is an excellent choice for non-disturbing, artistic Rock music with a dash of Classic Prog references.

An album, which can be regarded as the bridge between the old and new generation of Prog listeners.The mightly Mellotron stands next to the accesible and atmospheric modern stylings and the result is efficient to say the least.Recommended.

 Strange Attractors by FRACTAL MIRROR album cover Studio Album, 2013
2.90 | 12 ratings

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Strange Attractors
Fractal Mirror Crossover Prog

Review by ProgShine
Collaborator Errors & Omissions Team

2 stars Fractal Mirror is a brand new group that has in its line-up Ed Van Haagen (bass, keyboards and programming), Leo Koperdraat (vocals, guitars, keyboards) - both from Netherlands - Frank L. Urbaniak (drums and percussion) - from the USA, a Multinational group you can say. Strange Attractors (2013) is their first full length album after one promotional EP called The Fading Ghosts Of Yesterday (2013).

First thing I noticed (and if you know the band you'll probably too) when I first played Strange Attractors (2013) is how similar Leo Koperdraat's voice is from Brian Molko voice (singer and guitar player from the UK trio Placebo) and from that first moment on is quite hard to not compare both till the end of the album.

Second thing is that Strange Attractors (2013) is an album that I would never call Progressive Rock, Fractal Mirror fall in a category I call Post Prog that for me is a style that doesn't work at all and in my opinion kills Prog Rock little by little every year. Just take a look on how many bands bet on this kind of music in the last 5 years or more, and Fractal Mirror is one of those. Strange Attractors (2013) is a mix of Indie/Alternative Rock with lots of Ambient sounds and many keyboards (that's the only Prog part of the album).

The album is well recorded and have interesting moments but the overall feeling that I have after listening the album a bunch of times is exactly the same as I have with another band I reviewed some time ago, the Italian Active Heed (review: progarchives.com/Review.asp?id=1031855), in general, the album is ok, but not from a Progressive Rock point of view.

For my personal taste it doesn't work at all as there's too much Pop and not many remarkable moments on the album. But, if your thing are bands like Psychedelic Furs, or the Post Prog of bands like the aforementioned Active Heed and Perfect Beings this is your thing.

 Strange Attractors by FRACTAL MIRROR album cover Studio Album, 2013
2.90 | 12 ratings

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Strange Attractors
Fractal Mirror Crossover Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Prog Team

2 stars The debut album from Dutch band Fractal Mirror has been gaining quite a lot of kudos in various quarters, with its combination of laid-back synth laden prog and alternative pop. Some of the keyboard sounds are very dated, and there is so much space in the music that one could drive a truck through it, and it moves from being incredibly complex to sheer simplicity, so it sounds like the just the sort of thing that would have me raving about it to the highest heavens. Well, one might think so. Instead, I find this a very cold album with a simplicity that seems contrived as opposed to naïve, with vocals that I find poor as opposed to emotional. Yes, there are elements of Psychedelic Furs, New Order and Eels in the vocal approach, but with all of the faults and none of the benefits. But, even putting that to one side there isn't enough happening musically for me to find this consistently interesting and enjoyable. Getting to the end of the album the first time was a trial for me, as opposed to an event that I enjoyed, and playing it again was something that I had to do to so that I could see if the album grew on me as opposed to just reviewing it out of the box.

But no matter how many times I play this, I keep coming back to the fact that I don't think that it is a very good album, no matter what anyone else says. Plenty of other people are saying that this is wonderful, so maybe it is just me (and that won't be the first or last time when I am at odds with everyone else), but I can't see myself ever playing this again. www.fractalmirror.net

Thanks to kev rowland for the artist addition. and to E&O Team for the last updates

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