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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

Fratoroler Looking Forward (2012)

Updated: Dec 8, 2022

Fratoroler walks the listener in already drawn paths but with a dexterity which splits the road, so offering new electronic soundscapes

1 Looking Backward 13:28

2 Gastown 17:38

3 Mathmoth 9:46

4 Lounge 15:45

5 Looking Forward 9:26

(CD-R/DDL 66:01) (V.F.)

(Berlin School)

Fratoroler is a German duet strongly influenced by the Berlin School movement à la Keller & Schonwalder. LOOKING FORWARD is their second album. Defying the principles of déjà entendu and challenging the theory that the old Berlin School style had nothing more to offer, Thomas Köhler and Frank Rothe draw to the bottom of their influences to offer a really good album intensely soaked of the vintage years of Mellotron's electronic odes which loosens its fragrances up to our sometimes unbelieving ears. Unbelieving because we really have the feeling to navigate in waters left by the flagship that was Tangerine Dream. And this, not only because of the slow Mellotron wanderings or the chants of celestial flutes. No! The 5 tracks which furnish the 66 minutes of LOOKING FORWARD bubble on a bed of sequences of which the diversity of keys weaves some effervescent polyrhythmic structures which pound in the shade of oneiric mists.

Misty and vaporous synths layers are floating like clouds of ether among resounding waves. We are in a universe that we all know; that of Tangerine Dream and its breaths of Mellotron which disguised the abstract ambiences of Rubycon and Phaedra. A discreet pulsation emerges. Its muffled beatings go to meet a fluty ode, introducing the melodic approach of Looking Backward. One would believe to hear Franke, Froese & Baumann at the crossroads of their experimental and melodic period when the rhythm livens up little by little, chasing away its choruses of mists which ramble among resonant pulsations. Enchanting flute and mist are the anchoring stones of a title imprinted by mysticism which bends its structure to dash into a rhythm galloping finely on its sequences of which the keys skip in successive chords on a lake of mist filled by melodious waves. After an intro barded by wandering breezes and by electronic twists, the rhythm of Gastown pierces the reverberating ponds of its heavy pulsations which resound under a swaying cloud of Mellotron mist. Initially, this rhythm is as well heavy as slow. But more crystal clear sequences alternate their keys in a fluid waddle, propelling the rhythmic oscillations beneath twisted synth solos. Some clinking, fluttering like dragonflies wings, are modifying slightly the rhythmic axis which tips over into a dense sonic oblivion fed by dark breaths and iodized waves before the rhythm takes its second life with good oscillating loops which wave under fine piercing solos and these clouds of Mellotron mist which criss-cross all the splendour of this second album from Fratoroler. And when the drum tumbles, one has the impression to roam between the continents of Tangerine Dream's Green Desert.

Mathmoth rests on a slow rhythm with sequenced’ keys which alternate gently. They draw a long funeral march which progresses in an electronic fauna filled up of electronic languages, of floating zigzagging mists and especially of these enchanting layers of mist which make LOOKING FORWARD so poetic. The whispers of paranoia which fill the intro of Lounge suck us up towards an intersidereal space where morphic breezes fight against a tide of ceaseless voices. A good Mellotron zephyr emerges and floats like a silk of veil on an ambient structure lulled by violins layers. Sequencer keys show their rhythms of the tip of their keys to wave finely under the waves of a synth's orchestral aromas. This soft rhythm goes on a delicate structure filled of dreamy chords and fluty breaths, plunging Lounge into a semi-comatose state where the rhythm tries to go out of a soft morphic torpor by shaking the keyboard chords which sparkle in a brook of mist. The title-track takes back the rights on hard and pure rhythms with a heavy rhythm bombarded by sequences with keys which alternate with fury. In fact, Looking Forward is a lesson on the art of sequencing with its keys which fall and bounce in a bewitching rhythmic chassé-croisé from which the harmonious approach is encircled by synth strata of a divided between its musical mists and oracles.

Doing old with new! Such is the best way of defining LOOKING FORWARD which is no more and no less that a beautiful journey in the time when the poetry of the past embraces the rhythms of today. Fratoroler walks the listener in already drawn paths but with a dexterity which splits the road, so offering new electronic landscapes which slumbered under the beds of Rubycon, Phaedra and other memorable classics of Tangerine Dream. Do I have to add that I have adored it?

Sylvain Lupari (July 11th, 2012) *****

Available at SynGate Bandcamp

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