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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

FD PROJECT: The Other Side of FD Project...Nocturna (2011)

Updated: Mar 8, 2021

Frank Dorittke shapes a beautiful melodious universe which walks in the furrows of Mike Oldfield...

1 Nocturna 71:15

(DDL 71:15) (V.F.)

(Berlin School, Minimalist)

You remember the last album from FD Project; Water & Earth? As an extra title, the German guitarist- synthesist had inserted an excerpt from a long improvised track that he had played during a concert at Satzvey Castle on May 7, 2011, concert entitled THE OTHER SIDE OF ... FD PROJECT. Well, this other side is called NOCTURNA and it's this long composition, remodeled in studio, which fills the last CD of Frank D on the SynGate label. The album is now on FD's Bandcamp page and is available for download since. NOCTURNA is a long minimalist carousel of over 71 minutes divided into 5 parts driven by the rhythmic loops of the sequencer that scintillating arpeggios, choirs and astral synth breaths torment throughout a hypnotic spiral procession. Strongly imbued with the influences of Mike Oldfield and Tangerine Dream, THE OTHER SIDE OF ... FD PROJECT: NOCTURNA unfolds like a pact with gentleness.

Like a door opening on its cranky hinges, the long polyrhythmic corridor of Nocturna opens to the tones of reverberating waves. The synth layers which roam in suspension squeal among the howls of twisted metal, hiding the few harmonious chords which contrast with a heavy intro where the metal generates coldness. But in the distance, we hear a delicate carousel spinning its glass chords, embracing a superb ritornello which is reminiscent of the enormous influence of Mike Oldfield and his Tubular Bells on Frank D's music. Dark and meditative synth layers lament, like the sighs of violins, and caress this delicate floating spiral that a bass line with ascending jolts comes to cover. From note to note, the intro of Nocturna prepares its first mutation. This bass line opens the door to crystalline arpeggios which only pass while the percussions somewhat shake this innocent waddling. This new permutation rhythm accelerates the weakened flow of this sweet dreamlike introduction which swirls with more heaviness under good synth solos. The second phase begins around the 22nd minute with a warmer approach. Waves and morphic choirs push a fine sequenced movement to skip over an always circular structure. The flow is more fluid and melodic. Arched on neutral percussions, it gravitates under trendy synth breezes for solos which are reminiscent of Tangerine Dream under the Schmoelling era. Shimmering arpeggios blend harmoniously with angelic breaths. This somewhat dreamlike rhythm takes us until the 31st minute, when Frank Dorittke takes out his guitar. This third segment is a beautiful, unexpected passage that cuts through Nocturna's spiral magnetism. It offers a strange abstract western structure with solitary cowboy chords which trail among sequences hobbling like ill-fitting hooves under a sky crushed by solos of a guitar as incisive as poetic. An electric six-string that rivals a synth with aromas increasingly influenced by TD.

We are in the 40th minute and Nocturna begins to change skin like a snake on fire. A line of bass-sequences emerges between the crystalline breaths. Its ascending movement takes up the whirling structure which imposes the quiet rhythm of Nocturna. More fluid, the twisted ritornello unrolls keys under ethereal breaths and prismatic chords. After a brief black passage, limpid sequences dance under the paradisiacal breaths of a synth which hears the sequences subdivide and cling to this ascending bass line which had evaporated earlier, while percussions fall for sow a short rhythmic turbulence. And little by little the silence of the stars returns. Poetry settles in with waters flowing from nowhere and breaths forgotten in a musical labyrinth where illuminated keys shine. And the frank rhythm returns. Hammered with sober percussions, it bends its spine under the winds and iridescent arpeggios which constantly radiate around Nocturna's mutations. We hit 58 minutes and the whirling crystal keys draw smoother arcs as the sequencer deviates from its tangent, letting its marbles multiply and scatter to tie up to another bassline as hesitant as gently roaring. From fluid to jerky, the rhythm continues its accelerated interversions over a short period to end its polyrhythmic procession in the tunes of a slow morphic techno where the blows and spasms of the rhythm are coated with a synth with the scents of Vangelis.

Composed of a long 71-minute series without losing any of its common thread is an ambitious project that FD Project does very well. Forgetting his guitars and focusing more on the sequences and the musical effects of the synths, Frank Dorittke creates a melodious universe which walks in the furrows of Mike Oldfield and his series of virginal chords which initiated his cult work Tubular Bells. I liked it. It's beautiful Berlin School. Poetic and oneiric, without clashes or complexities, which flows like a good soporific tale keeping us awake, eyes closed to daydream on the winding spirals chime.

Sylvain Lupari (April 13th, 2012) ***½**

Available at FD Project Bandcamp

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