"Originality is Everything" is the band's motto and that certainly applies in every aspect of this great new cd from Von Frickle. This band of 4 accomplished musicians hails from Chicago, Ill and they have 5 CD's out with this one being the newest one. Influences range from King Crimson to Pink Floyd, 70's era Miles Davis to Frank Zappa. These guys have plenty to work with.
The music they play is a quirky complex mixture of some heavy rock riffs, sound effects, ambient collages mixed with some avant, some RIO and some proggy metal. There is a lot to wrap your head around with this and everything opens up with repeated listens. This is some very choice stuff.
This is instrumental so to keep the music interesting they shift riffs, sound effects and melodic bits with ease alternating time signatures with avant noise and then they throw in some ambient synth washes. These guys are masters. The bass and drums are wonderful and just work very well with the ideas and arrangements. There is hardly a dull moment in this CD's 50 minutes.
The band is: Lee Gehr on guitar and guitar synthesizers, John Ganser on drums and electronic drum pad, percussion, moog and other synthesizers, Dan Meyer on electric bass, double bass, tuba and synthesizers, and Ken Thornton on guitar and guitar synthesizers, drums, drum pad and synthesizers. These guys are all excellent players. The guy who sticks out above the others though is John Ganser who is spot on and well practiced/rehearsed in his fills, runs, cymbal work and his other percussive additions. Excellent drummer.
The opening song is a good techno riffy rocker called "Kablam". It has two main parts and one very sweet mellowing out part. The hard hitting opening is joined by a slowing down mid tempo section where a very nice guitar synth solo is played. These parts alternate and then right towards the last 45-55 seconds there comes a very mellow part with bell like synths playing a sublime little melody.
One piece called "Terra Firma Exodus" is a medium to slower tune which showcases the guitar work of Lee Gehr, I think? The intro and early melody/theme is very nice being played by keyboard and guitar synths. This superb melody is joined by electric pianos and then around the 3:49 mark the solo begins; it begins slowly and builds in loudness and intensity when it finishes at around 4:50. Exquisite playing.
The song called "Zombie stomp" is another neat song which has a kind of languid rolling riff kind of like a "new orleans funeral" march/song. The tempo is medium slow with the keys and guitar synths sounding like trumpets and a horn section. The piece has a kind of "film noir" 50's feel. Great tune.
The longest song on the CD is called "POD". It is well conceived and features a bass and drum rhythm that kind of reminds of Peter Gabriel's song, "Moribund the Burgermeister". The piece begins with a medium/mid tempo beat with guitar and keyboard synths playing a menacing/sinister sounding motif. Everything gets louder at 2:57 mark then the theme changes to a more "friendly" sounding section. It then goes back to the earlier theme/motif until around 5:50 where a highly affected guitar comes in and begins playing a mournful melody that drips malaise while organs join in to add to the dirge like bit. Most of the guitars drop out in the latter minute or two of this tune. The keyboards take the lead with the synths and pianos becoming more out front while the bass and drums gurgle along.
These are a couple of the high spots on this CD. The whole thing really is great. The shorter songs are cool and intense as they show some actual thought to them. "Shapeshifter" is cool with acoustic guitars playing a "Friday the 13th" like motif that is spooky! "Protoplasmic squid eater" is a faster Devo-esque tune which is very cool with a "Batman/flight of the bumblebee" sounding theme.
There are many great things about this CD. This is intense, interesting and challenging prog music of the highest caliber. Look for it at O.I.E records.