Peter Frohmader

Eismeer

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This album was released in early 2003 by Musea's "new music" imprint, Gazul, but the three pieces it presents were recorded back in 1996-1997. In terms of style and sound, they relate more to Peter Frohmader's late-'90s productions than his more ambient works of later years. That is to say they feature the usual dark moods but are much closer to progressive rock than to electronic music. The main opus is "Eismeer" (37 minutes), a symphonic poem that sets some of Edgar Allan Poe's verses in a nautical metaphor. Impressionistic to a degree, the piece consists of a succession of ambient and symphonic passages, Jürgen Jung's recitation playing the part of mediation between ship and sea. If the piece starts off as a poetic depiction of a nautical journey, it eventually follows its own path, leaving Poe's words with the task of purveying a conceptual thread that eventually becomes too thin. But the listener is willing to follow the music's own journey, as it actually turns more interesting once it has taken some distance from the plot. But the piece, dominated by the keyboards and electronic percussion, remains rather cold. "Funèbre" (under four minutes) provides an enjoyable piano interlude. The 24-minute "Orchestral Crossover" may be less conceptually coherent than "Eismeer," but it nonetheless provides the disc's highlight. A rich tapestry of styles ranging from (yes) classical music to progressive rock and electronica, it features singer Brigitte Wagner and Pit Holzapfel on trombones and guitar. The latter's input quickly becomes central to the piece's kaleidoscopic sequence. Some wild experimental passages are reminiscent of trombonist Joost Buis' days in Palinckx. Sunnier and more entertaining than Frohmader's average, it makes Eismeer worthwhile.

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