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Frequency Drift - Ghosts CD (album) cover

GHOSTS

Frequency Drift

 

Crossover Prog

4.00 | 267 ratings

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BrufordFreak
5 stars Sets new standards of prog performance--with masterful use of keyboards, violins, electro harp, and the ever-so unusual double vocal stylings of singer/violinist Antje Auer. Let's listen.

1. "Crows" (2:02) opens the album with . . . crows, water, and electroharp and piano duet. Beautiful. (4.5/5)

2. "Dreams" (11:53) has TOTO guitar lick to help open. At 2:10 all music drops away in lieu of the angelic voicings of Antje Auer--at first in the upper, soprano registers, then, accompanying herself, in the firm alto ranges. (This extraordinary feat Antje will repeat throughout the album--to GREAT effect, I might add.) The rock band joins in and amps things up for a while until at 4:42 piano is joined by violin (also Antje?!! What a talented lady!) A spacey PINK FLOYD-like synth section opens things up before the electric guitar joins in with a mellow solo. At 6:30 things begin to build again with some awesome guitar work, building, building, until at 8:15 the bottom drops out again, leaving space for the build up of some amazing electric violin work. (I love the support drum work!) Full band enters again at the ten minute mark with more electric guitar soloing, then it quiets again at the 10:35 mark, whale-like violin noises fill the space with some bird and water sounds taking us to the end. (18/20)

3. "Sadness" (4:10) begins with a kind of blues-rock feel. Vocoder-treated vocal joins. At 0:49 Antje's untreated alto voice jumps into our ears. She has such a presence! This is a very straightforward rock song, quite similar to that of THE REASONING or Amor Vincit Omnia PURE REASON REVOLUTION. (8/10)

4. "Tempest" (10:02) begins with a spacey background flanged synth. HAROLD BUDD-treated piano joins in very quickly. Heavily effected voices flow in and through, until at 1:36 a powerful and highly engaging electric guitar, bass, and drum rhythm/riff establish themselves. At the four-minute mark Antje begins singing in her delicate soprano over sensitive electirc guitar picking. Near the five minute mark her power alto starts repeating "Fears the Tempest"and "Waves around" over the full band's powerful support. Great electric guitar work! Great Antje vocal! Towards the end of the seventh minute the song builds powerfully with Antje's "tempest" vocal--now on several layers. Then an astounding jazz electric guitar solo ensues--until the eight minute mark, when sound drops out, but the same spacey synth, keys, and floating voices float around for a minute before the band amps back up and a true prog (FRIPP/McLAUGHLIN-like) solo ensues--almost to end. Awesome song! (20/20)

5. "Ringshine" (2:56) is a beautiful electroharp piece that is really a feed-in/intro for song #6. Could be Celtic, but it's not. Could be VOLLENWEIDER-like, but it's not. It's more calm before the Edgar Allan Poe. (5/5)

6. "Dance No More" (9:57) electrified acoustic guitars and Antje's angelic voicings floating above and behind open this song. The guitar work is joined and augmented by an electric guitar. Beautiful! The 1:50 power up is awesome and spine-tingling! Great drums and awesome electric guitar and keyboard parts! Antje's two voices join into this heavy-almost-metal song. Her harmonized vocals are SO POWERFUL!! Great music! 5:00 "Bullet the Blue Sky" guitar strum ushers in solo section--first guitars (two! ripping it up!) then suddenly, everything quietens and acoustic guitar is all that is left. Antje's floating voicings soar above. Drums soon join in. Then Chapman Stick. Then the band powers back up to full amplitude (drummer is going wild!) while Antje pcks up her doble vocal work. Another awesome guitar and Stick duet, followed by pure rock guitar magic (Gilmour-esque). Heaviness cuts out and leaves us with the spacey, delicate harp, guitar and voicings from the intro. (20/20)

7. "Mermaid" (9:44) begins with electric violins à la JEAN-LUC PONTY (circa Individual Choice). Harp and some percussion open things up for Antje's double voice--both singing/whispering in the upper, ENYA-like soprano ranges. This goes on for two minutes to great effect before thethree minute mark, Antje lets her voice drop into her alto voice--as if to warn us of what heaviness is yet to come. Throbbing bass, crashing cymbols, and an amazing, raging violin solo follow, until at 4:28 the heavy RIVERSIDE-like section enters to support a blistering guitar solo as the violin continues screeching seagull-like sounds in the background. At 5:36 again everything cuts out save for the harp. Antje's highest whisper enters, heavily echoed, then dropping into the heavy alto range before piano takes a turn, supported by delicate drums. Double-soprano Antje harmonizes the "Teach me to hear the mermaid song" lyric for a minute and a half before the violin screeches its reentry, this time with a very subdued, delicate solo (also heavily echoed). Accompanying piano is gorgeous. The two play out to song's emotional BRUCE COCKBURN "Hoop Dancer"-like end. (20/20)

8. "Come" (7:54) begins with a VAUGHN WILLIAMS "Lark Ascending"-like solo violin. Piano takes over as Antje sings, solo, first high semi-whispery, then dipping into her hearty, alto, all the while violins (acoustic and electric) float along, playing off of each other in the third and fourth minutes, only accompanied by a piano playing his bass chord and treble arpeggios. Beautiful. At 5:21 some electric guitar power chords, Indian percussion, and an electric guitar tapping solo breaks the mesmerizing beauty, building into an almost march-like, soundtrack crescendo. Then all quiets save for the violin and an ominously droning bass synth chord while Antje sings us to the song--and album's--end. (13.5/15)

Five stars; a masterpiece of progressive rock music. A rare, rare phenomenon: A nearly flawless album, start to finish! The more I listen to Ghosts the more I hear, the more I like, the more I am amazed by the freshness, creativity, compositional and instrumental skills of the players band members (and guests). Also, while I hear similarities which might be inferred as 'influences,' this band is nobody's clone, no neo-progger; this is fresh and original Symphonic Prog all the way. Easily the best vocal arrangements and performances I've heard in the past few years--with great lyrics and outstanding music to support, embellish, and carry the day. Every change and shift is engaging and clever, every solo emotion-filled and invigorating. Everytime I listen to this album I am drawn in completely, I end up playing/listening to it start to finish, and I have new favorites or new 'ah-ha's every listen through. The self-proclaimed students of White Willow, Pink Floyd, et al., these guys (and girl) have, with this album, IMO, surpassed their masters in every way possible. Kudos, Andreas, Antje, Martin, jürgen, Sebastien, and Christian! You have accomplished what I thought might never happen: added to--and perhaps even surpassed--the 'best' 'classics' of progressive rock music.

BrufordFreak | 5/5 |

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