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CD Feature/ Jerome Froese: "Shiver me Timbers"

img  Tobias

The discographies of Jerome Froese and Tangerine Dream are developing at a vastly different pace. While the seminally influential band founded at the end of the 60s by father Edgar is seemingly releasing a new album every month, Jerome has chosen to walk a path of careful formulations and minute details. His first album “Neptunes” was the result of several years of preparatory work and stuffed with ideas in each of its seventy-seven minutes. The follow-up to that debut now shows that Froese has spent the break well, adding more ease to his talent.

Part of the success of “Neptunes” among fans was that it had so much to say and so much to prove. It was an album that almost imploded for the amount of creativity invested in it, with many different styles criss-crossing through arrangements which jumped from one scene to the next in a lucid game of juxtapositions.

As is often the case with ambitious works, they can easily get you agitated. While listeners could be floating into space in one moment, heavy synthesizer artillery would quickly shoot them down again in the next, with guitars riffing underneath densely layered drumtracks. Much of this – admittedly spectacular – nervousness has apparently been lifted from the artist, as “Shiver me Timbers” is happy to focus on a strict selection of his many musical personalities.

What strikes one right from the start is the more song-oriented approach. Many of these pieces sound like powerful instrumental versions of rock tracks with a high amount of openness and with an increased degree of dreaminess. Electronic harmonies and spinetingling chime-sounds are organically melded into the fabric of the music, but they have taken on more of an accompanying function to the predominant guitars.

At the same time, Froese has also become more self-assured of the effectiveness and potential of his often short melodic cues. “Mrs. Misty Kiss” thrives on such a truncated motive, using just a single half-tone variation to hypnotise its audience and “Airborne” sees a majestic string loop being lifted even higher by various interlocking cycles. The non-repetitive nature of these themes works to the advantage of the spacious character of the album and avoids the problematic issue of many instrumental albums of wearing out after repeated listening.

Thanks to a diversified timbral palette and extremely effective percussive work, “Shiver me Timbers” has turned out an energetic and coherent work with a wide, cinematic sound. While it may not be as “progressive” as Froese’s debut, it compensates this with an intoxicating physicality, hymnal emotionality and harmonious alignment of all elements: You can still close your eyes and do some spacetravelling to this album, but you can also pull out your zippo to accompany its sounds inside your mind's stadium. Whether or nor that’s your taste is one thing, of course. But with the amount of time that has gone into this effort, you can be sure that the shift has been carefully considered.

By Tobias Fischer

Homepage: Jerome Froese
Homepage: Moonpop Records

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