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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

FD Project Distance (2022)

An album easy to tame that is beautiful with its catchy melodies

1 Planets 11:43

2 Bright Horizon 8:11

3 46 Years Ago 9:09

4 From Earth to Moon 6:59

5 1977 6:50

6 Laid Back 6:22

7 Nightsession 10:08

8 The Beauty of Life 6:52

(CD/DDL 66:14) (V.F.)

(Sequencer-Based, Berlin School)

It's always a pleasure to connect our ears to the new musical propositions of FD Project. Following the harmonious principles of Color of Life, a good album released in early 2022 that mixed electronic ballad and good old Berlin School, Frank Dorittke offers in DISTANCE an album full of romance and tenderness on rhythms that still flirt with Berlin School, but with a more dance-like vision here, and where the influences of Mike Oldfield and Tangerine Dream are still at the basis of his unique cocktail of astral melodies.

Orion breezes, droning bass layers that breathe heavily and interstellar dust jets fired like wind gun bursts are the main elements that fill the cosmic panorama of Planets' opening. Let's just say that there is a nice arsenal of sound effects in this introduction that brings our ears into another sound dimension of the FD Project universe. A dimension that flirts a bit with psybient and that

Frank D integrates to the 7 other structures of this DISTANCE. Percussive elements make tinkle wooden machine guns, while the synth elaborates an ambient melody whose air rises and falls in this variegated opening of tonalities of all kinds, including a line of electronic chirps which started to gambol in the shade of this evasive melody. These elements are crammed into a kind of sonic cocoon that begins its metamorphosis into an electronic rhythm when the sequencer drives a line that flutters around briskly, catching in the process a crazy line of agitated pulses that design its buckings under a sky oppressed by a more astral synth wave and those chirps that come back to haunt and make our neurons dance. This electronic stratagem ends in the stridency of its turbulence when heavy percussions hammer the monstrous opening of Planets, some seconds after its 5th minute. Everything becomes clearer, and one recognizes immediately the signature of the German guitarist-synthesist who has no equal when it comes to building a downtempo as heavy as slow. The second part of the track becomes a languorous cosmic blues where the synth and the guitar swap sulphurous solos all around this line of sequenced chirps and these percussion strikes that make the skin resonate under our feet. The second stage of the track lasts barely 150 seconds before a shift to an atmospheric phase opens up. We float in a Cosmos for another 2 minutes before the 4th skin change of Planets is well set to music with meditative artifices on a cadenced melody activated by a sequencer in mode harmonious moiré arpeggios. You have to go back to the album The Other Side Of...And More... to hear such an evolving and segmented track from Frank. For the rest, DISTANCE offers 7 structures that revolve around the axis of Planets. Despite all these years and albums, Mike Oldfield's influences, notably the harmonious ritornello of Tubular Bells Part One, are still present in Frank D's repertoire. They are the basis of the circular and harmonious rhythm of Bright Horizon, which has several layers of rhythms, including seductive rhythmic woodpecker effects, where synth solos and guitars still bicker in the same poignant forms. The musician plays on the speed and the nuances of the rhythm, aiming even at a more meditative passage. For the rest, it's heavy and slow. In keeping with the FD Project signature! It's in a heavy drone that 46 Years Ago accosts our ears. Very early on, the sequencer runs a rhythm line that runs and gambols with velocity, describing zigzags flirting with an urge to make circles. The tone of the sequences is lower than the one that is added a few seconds later, structuring a parallel rhythm that hops around in an envelope that is more melodic than cadenced. The rhythm is driving and is adorned with glittering effects and later with a layer of chthonian voices. The second part of this bouncy and straddling rhythm is copiously sprinkled with good solos of a guitar as inspiring as MO's in his Platinum album.

From Earth to Moon is a slow dance title with its slow circular structure which is delicately hammered by sober percussions. A river of beaded sequences spins in symbiosis with the finely sensual rhythm as an acoustic guitar strums this sequenced chorus with a gentle meditative ballad approach. The second half of the track exploits a more accentuated approach with good synth solos in a universe of electronic dialogue. A very nice track! The 1977's keyboard riffs have that texture of Tangerine Dream in the Wavelength years. The sequencer structures a rhythm built on a lively line of oscillations whose circular shape oscillates towards slight zigzags. It's purely electronic, with good synth solos twirling above this nervous structure to which a line of clinckings has been grafted. The metamorphosis occurs about 30 seconds after the 3rd minute to embrace a form of EDM in an electronic universe usual to the genre. Laid Back is also very Tangerine Dream of the Schmoelling years with an ascending structure that traces zigzags in a warm analog tone. The percussions hammer this structure whose layers of nebulous mist give a slow motion effect. Synth and guitar solos accompany this delicate, anaesthetizing melody that makes its arpeggios sing before the track enters a transitional phase, pushing Laid Back to redefine its melodic vision on arpeggios that tinkle as if struck on a xylophone. Nightsession is a danceable track. FD Project extends its magnetizing powers over synth choruses and guitar odes over a beat that flirts with Electronica. It's a bit in the same vein as the second part of 46 Years Ago. The Beauty of Life is a nice little gothic ballad with a chthonian essence in its harmony. Very beautiful, the guitar is inspired by Oldfield emotions. And as each FD album has its ultimate pearl, The Beauty of Life is the one of DISTANCE. Even if the music migrates to a more danceable structure around the 3rd minute. An electronic rock structure well hammered by the percussions and surrounded by other good guitar solos.

I always feel very comfortable in the universe of FD Project. No matter the structure of his rhythms, the German guitarist-synthesist always manages to create melodies that transcend his visions of rhythms forged between electronic rock, cosmic blues, Berlin School and a big zest of Electronica for this DISTANCE. An album easy to tame that is beautiful with its catchy melodies.

Sylvain Lupari (November 11th, 2022) *****

Available at Groove nl

(NB: Words in blue are links you can click on)

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