Frontier

4

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In one of the more unconventional moves in rock history, Frontier completely abandoned their guitar/bass/drums instrument approach for this lengthy effort, split into four tracks named by the seasons of the year. Rather than actually playing said instruments, the trio instead set up guitars and amplifiers in a manner to cause intentional feedback -- in turn, the band played that instead. Shades of Lou Reed's Metal Machine Music, to be sure. The seriousness or not behind the effort may well be up for question, but the end results are actually quite captivating in a generally minimal way, suggesting the efforts of performers like Experimental Audio Research, Thomas Köner, and Main. There's less of the rhythmic obsession of the latter, though, and little of Köner's sudden jumps or EAR's piling things on. Instead, the four pieces generally stick to a pattern of looping feedback core and layers of extra drone and meditation on top of same, in various speeds and approaches. "Winter" is particularly gripping, steadily building up to a sudden intensity of tones that has the effect of a slow-motion bomb going off even as other notes stretch out to infinity behind it. "Spring" is almost as good, the most evanescent of the tracks in ways, a mysterious, creative lurking of sound. Certainly not all is dark and dour -- plenty of higher tones mix with the lower, and sometimes the results can even be quietly charming, as the swirls which help end "Summer" show. At other points, though, the effect is strangely creepy -- the trebly loops that form the core of "Autumn" sound a bit like crying birds caught in some place they would rather not be in. The addition of building drone crawls throughout the piece adds to the unsettled tension quite effectively.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 18:26 SpotifyAmazon
2 14:40 SpotifyAmazon
3 21:09 SpotifyAmazon
4 14:57 SpotifyAmazon
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