FREQUENCY DRIFT – LETTERS TO MARO – GENTLE ART OF MUSIC

Only two years since their album, and there have yet again been some fairly significant changes in the Frequency Drift line-up. Lead singer Melanie Mau and guitarist Martin Schnella have both departed (they can be found in Gray Matters together, as well as other projects individually), as has bassist Rainer Wolf. But Andreas Hack (keyboards, guitar, bass, and mandolin) has been there since the beginning, as has drummer Wolfgang Osterman while long-time member and songwriter Nerissa Schwartz (quick aside, if you haven’t heard her solo album you owe it to yourself to do so) on harp and Mellotron is still there. The line-up is completed by new singer Irinia Alexia, and let’s hope that she lasts longer than just the odd album as she has a presence, range and clear singing voice which totally fits the music.

Musically the band are quite different to many, due in no small part to both Andreas and Nerissa having such a strong song-writing relationship and they are both keyboard players while the use of the harp is also quite different. They layer the music so that the arrangements are complex and quite dense in some ways, but then produce it so that the vocals are always first and foremost, rising clearly above everything else. There is a professionalism and restraint within the music, each note clearly having an important part to play in the whole proceedings. They may not all be playing at the same time, and the use of space is also important in everything they do, with bass pedals and keyboards often taking the part of the real instrument, which also has an impact on the overall sound. The warmth and “heaviness” of certain parts of the arrangements are in direct contrast to the clarity and “lightness’ of the harp and vocals, which provides a neat counterpoint. Let’s hope we get another album out of them before they change the singer again.

8/10

by Kev Roland

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