F/R-F: Structures of Paradise (2014)
Updated: May 4
“This is one of the good finds of 2014 where EM goes from ambient to lunar techno then e-rock and finally into a powerful E- prog rock”
1 Creation of Paradise 19:32
2 Paradise Consumed 21:20
3 Paradise Lost 21:22
(DDL 62:14) (V.F.)
(Mosaic of EM styles)
A long hum extends a dark aura where cosmic gases and soft lamentations tinged with orchestral mist float. And the percussions fall with a crash. They roll like angelic thunders in synth layers with the fragrances of an old apocalyptic organ. It's the creation of Paradise, according to Neil Fellowes. Neil Followes!? F / R-F is the result of a collaboration between Neil (Geigertek) Followes and his then 14-year-old son Callum Raeburn-Fellowes. The father-son duo offered a performance during the Awakenings Evening of Ambient and Electronic Music event in Branston in July 2013. But to be completely honest, and to keep you from languishing, STRUCTURES OF PARADISE is anything but ambient. It's a long structure that feeds its 62 minutes with a fascinating crescendo guiding us towards a furious electronic progressive rock that will rock your senses all down.
The first 20 minutes are the equivalent of a obliged passage in the sibylline corridors of purgatory with astral voices and a divine flute which float with a feeling of purity in a skillful mixture of silky orchestrations and cosmic elements, but also in the heavy resonances and the nebulous lamentations of a synth and its ambient mantle. The approach is both serene and threatening with this mixture of clarity and obscurity which leads Creation of Paradise through the meanders of a dark and cavernous New Age environment with artifices of serenity and spirituality which recall the music of the great Kitaro. Heavy echoing beats, a bit like the echoes of an ultrasound, get to sleep the weighty moods which are sieved of sizzlings sound which cover the introduction of Paradise Consumed of an annoying tone palette. Dark hums, intermingled with supersonic noises, drag enormous parasitic furrows which roar in the percussion blows as fragile as wet wood crackling. The first 9 minutes are as dark as charred charcoal. The sizzle and sonic implosions draw a rowdy aura of radioactivity where everything seems unreal, like in the end of time. The percussions, that I considered harmless, end up awakening a superb structure of rhythm remarkably close to the roots of New Berlin School. Ambient!? Not really! The sequences hiccup and unroll saccade lines where the keys feed a lively and sustained rhythm which swirls in the asymmetrical beats of percussions which, at times, go a little beyond their repetitive frame. It's like a morphic lunar techno. A little like the good moments of Robert Schroeder's electronic beats.
Because if rhythm there is, it makes us more waddling of the head or clap the fingertips than feet. It's effective, lively and it's constantly expanding. And the synths remind us the real charms of EM with great solos, as well as a good father and son duel, whose harmonious approaches will make us whistle certain airs some minutes later. After a short more or less ambient phase, Paradise Consumed starts again its phase of rhythm with twisted solos which bicker constantly, reviving the good years of EM with very omnipresent synths. Narrations of a robot kind of voice, and shouts of sirens remind us that the paradise is really consuming itself in a good electronic approach where orchestrations and fine fluty lost melodies still remind us the charms of Kitaro. A brief moment of respite and a voice, with a drive as a seller in a fair, guide us towards the totally unleashing Paradise Lost. And hold your hat! This time the pace is livelier, heavier with a pulsating approach that will give you the dizziness. Sequences and percussions, very techno genre, are beating a mad pace which resists to the charms of the synths and to the veils of mist. And Paradise Lost falls in a furious electronic rock with what sounds like guitar solos that will make turn pale Jerome Froese's rhythms of his Guitartronica. A cavalry of riffs and twisted solos rain down on a powerful structure of rhythm which oscillates in countercurrent in the envelopes of deep padded orchestrations. Between techno and rock, Paradise Lost floods our ears with a heavy rhythm which hangs onto the orchestral impulses and onto the voices of angels of which the rustles have difficulty in piercing this wall of rhythm. It's infernal and totally furious. This is classical e-rock! Little by little, this rhythm lowers its guard and scatters its wrath in a kind of drum solo whose lively knocks are rolling within the notes of a woolly bass. The rhythm shines even more now with an organ which scents itself of wild Deep Purple's fragrances. In reality, F/R-F has lost his Paradise. In fact, if we count the last minutes of Paradise Consumed, it's beyond 20 furious minutes that the duet Fellowes puts in our ears. And this Paradise tries to reborn with slow orchestrations, cosmic gases and whistling of celestial bodies which come from all sides within the charms of seraphic voices. Do Neil and Callum Fellowes have found their Paradise? Maybe! Except that our ears are still buzzing, as much as our walls ooze of these wild riffs which stuck to it, from this huge electronic rock which transcends for sure the frames of a festival of ambient music. I loved that thing!
STRUCTURES OF PARADISE is undoubtedly one of the good finds of 2014. All the phases of EM find their places, their roles on this opus that will unscrew you ears. Guaranteed! Available only on BandCamp, here is a work which deserves certainly a better fate.
Sylvain Lupari (December 10th, 2014) *****
Available at F/R-F Bandcamp