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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

Fratoroler Different (2020)

Updated: Dec 8, 2022

This is one of the good creative Berlin School albums of 2020

1 Inside 17:55

2 Between 15:51

3 Different 16:41

4 Out 19:51

(CD-r/DDL 70:18) (V.F.)

(Berlin School)

After a last album focused on progressive electronic rock, Fratoroler returns to the basics with DIFFERENT. Different from Augen-Blicke, but not really different from the beautiful Nano and the Berlin duo's debut albums. Exit the guitar and the drums of Thomas Köhler who thus joins the instruments of his accomplice Frank Rothe by using various synths and sequencers. It's therefore conceived in the retro Berlin School, with a mixture of analogous tones well inserted in the 4 long minimalist and more contemporary structures, that Fratoroler gives us his most identity album.

It's with an undulating layer of reverberations that Inside kicks off this latest Fratoroler album. Radiation from these drones slowly ripples, letting other more cosmic tones pass between our ears which perceive a bubbling effect in these floating waves. Aggressive, this introduction is nourished by a vision of Dark Ambient with this large shroud printed of chthonic voices and various analog effects. A translucent layer adds a little of refulgence on these dark buzzing ambiences a little before the 4th minute. Radiant, it hides in its power of musicality a series of 4 bass-sequences chords which skip winding the skies, out of a Luciferian atmosphere with a choir trying to turn for a wave of seraphic songs. Another line of rhythm gets in. More harmonic than rhythmic, it adjusts its melody on the axis of ascending rhythm from which also comes a small fluty sequence, reminding from afar that Tangram has already been through here. Various elements, both percussive and rustling, are added to this structure which will stop doing its on spot when a series of 6 sequences gets worn out in the rise of the electronic castanets and of its pulsating shadows which accept the ethereal passage of its finale. A little too long, with too slow development, but there are some nice passages in this title.

Sat on an opening covered of sibylline mist, Between plays a fascinating air on harmonica that isn't one. Other harmonic tones, like this first element of rhythm, have this source of secret origin. The rhythm takes shape slowly on these mysterious layers with nice rhythm loops which roll on a sequences of riffs, I think it's the guitar but there is no mention of it in the artwork. The ambiences get unleashed in the background, adding a psychedelic touch to this delicious procession. The union of percussions and of the muffled explosions weave a line of kicks in the background, while the harmonica which is not one lets hear a bagpipe voice on this very good Berlin School whose intensity is shared by the increase in harmonic layers and the ride of sequences and of rhythmic effects.

I like creativity, as I like when an artist leaves his comfort zone to offer something nice that sticks to the bottom of the ear. Like the title-track of DIFFERENT! A wave coming out of the abyss shows the character of Dark Ambient which prevails on this latest Fratoroler album. Chords echo in this sensation of interstellar emptiness where the tones of a Floydian universe are humming. This base of psychedelia let goes circular tonal balls armed of multiple holes letting in tones as vintage as they are contemporary while Different has found this den of atmospheric tranquility. Iridescent organ layers (Sic!) are rooting this perception of contemplativity when a fascinating melodious line blows an air as childish as mocking. A haunting air that screws us a fabulous earworm as Fratoroler takes its ease in the skin of a daring Pyramid Peak that has released so many jewels like this one. Electronic effects, electronic chirps and good lunar synth solos move away this superb harmonious approach in an astonishing progressive Berlin School targeted by projectiles and their muffled explosions. The impression of taking a road animated by a panorama filled of artifices glues our ears to this sound effervescence as the beep-beeps fade to bring this haunting melody back to life in a final comparable to the Silk Road. An excellent title my friends!

Out concludes this great album with an equally exploratory opening. This time, the crystallization of the layers and the synth lines, as well as its solo chant illuminate our eyes, if not our ears. Different organic tones, as well as the percussive effects falling in droplets, throw a contemporary psychedelic light which bickers quite often with the Dark Ambient in certain crossroads of this album. A sequence as clear as the Halloween air begins to ring on layers filled by sorrow. These orchestral layers cannot contain the rhythmic fluidity which makes alternate the dance of hopping balls on the spot as Out gradually goes into a Berlin School mode around the 9th minute. Slow and circular, the rhythm follows a linear tangent where different pads inject the Berlin School essence into a track that slowly goes through a short ethereal phase before looping the loop on one of the good creative Berlin School albums of 2020.

Sylvain Lupari (August 5th, 2020) ****¼*

Available on SynGate Bandcamp

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