CD REVIEW Frames

Band : Frames
Album title : In Via
Label : Steamhammer
Distributor : SPV
Release date : 24/04/2012
Release : CD

Hailing from the Northern parts of Germany (well, actually from Hanover and Osnabrück), this instrumental act was founded on October 1st, 2007, and today comprises the skillful musicians Jonas Meyer (guitar), Manuel Schönfeld (keyboards), Hajo Cirksena (bass) and Kiryll Kulakowski (drums).

With Julian Hoffmann (whom left on amical terms in late 2010) still on the bass, the band first recorded the 6-track EP CXXIV, which they released in February 2009, and eventually ensured their deal with Steamhammer). Next up was the quartet's debut album Mosaik, released in September 2010. All I know about that album, is that it already displayed the band's incredible ease of turning huge guitar walls into romantic meandering piano tunes, and that the album was critically acclaimed. Whether that resulted in gigging or even touring possibilities, is a thing left untold in the several sites (obviously, the label's, but also Facebook and MySpace) the band has a page on.

At any rate, the quartet is now back with a confirmation of their skills, proving that Mosaikwas not a one-time fluke. To enhance the conceptual feel (?) the band has used samples of renowned German-speaking Swiss poet Hermann Hesse (1877-1962; got a Nobel Prize for Literature in 1946) work “Stufen” (read by himself, and used with kind permission of his heirs) in the second (preceded only with the short “album intro” “Entrance”) and last tracks of the album (the text has to do with Aged people making place for the Young, this being due to people growing and setting “younger” things aside, looking forward to the next step in their life with glad anticipation...being a necessity of life itself). And with track titles such as “Departure”, “Encounter”, “Calm Wisdom”, “Stir”, “Reflections”, “Eris”, “Don't Stay Here”, “End Of A Decade” and “Coda” following that opening, it's hard nót to see a conceptual “red thread” going through the album. What makes the music complete, is the use of those keyboards, often switched for piano, which makes the overall feel an almost movie soundtrack-ish one. Sure, one has to imagine the actual images oneself, but that is actually one of the charms of this band's music! For some reason, thhe band feel it's important to let their listeners know that the album was recorded at Hanover's Institut für Wohlklangforschung but seen as it translates as “institute for research of good-feeling sounds”, I can sure see why they do. Indeed, Frames music (which has cited influences from the likes of Tool, Porcupine Tree, Oceansize, and Pink Floyd among others, but still manages to sound different from all those) has been the best part of my day for the last two weeks!

It might become yours too, you know, and you can actually listen to the complete album (as well as debut album Mosaikand demo EP CXXIV) at bandcamp.com (find the link at the band's facebook page (www.) facebook.com/framesband. With the actual release of the album already behind us, the band was paired to Anneke van Giersbergen (formerly of The Gathering & Agua de Annique) for a European tour (with quite some dates in Germany) in May. We can only hope that the association was pleasurable for both parties, and therefore up for a repeat in different European areas, because our parts were sourly neglected! Meanwhile let's, by all means, add In Via to our 2012 yearlists!

98/100

Tony.