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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

Fringo Chills …in Far Lands (2023)

Updated: Nov 23, 2023

If there's a link that unites the darkness of Earth and the Cosmos, Fringo Chills has found it!

1 In outer Lands 16:00

2 Fairylands Fireflies 16:07

3 Maybe on Mars 14:01

4 Shadowlands 17:01

5 Bleak Worlds 8:47

(DDL/CD-(r) 71:57) (V.F.)

(Ambient Berlin School)

There are almost 3 years between Cooled and this latest Fringo Chills opus. Frank Rothe seems to have taken a break, since even his adventures with Filter-Kaffee and Fratoroler have been silent since late 2021. But he's back in full strength with this new album on SynGate and another one under the name Kontroll-Raum just released on the Manikin label. On IN FAR LANDS, he takes us on an interstellar voyage to intergalactic panoramas where our ears perceive a form of life crack down and/or surviving on strange planets. The ambiences are as murky as ever, with winds filled with granular particles and synth waves bordering on the abyss between our world and that of the Cosmos. The 5 structures of this album are nourished by the same grain. Either with slow openings where our imagination wanders between darkness and an elegiac Eden on rhythmic structures where cosmic rock, electronic and Berlin School are the prerogative of good interwoven sequencer movements.

In outer Lands attacks our ears gently with misty waves of ochre colors that interweave in a form of linear ballet. More droning waves are grafting to this opening which let hear the industrial rhythm of mechanical whirring. There's a mixture of hollow breezes and dusty winds blowing over a desert-land ambience, until an angelic choir brings poetry and warmth. The synth illuminates this passage with waves that simulate a lunar aurora borealis, where chords fall into the depths of astral voices. A bass shadow covers this meditative passage with a somber buzzing wave, initiating the sequencer which drums out a rhythm line just before the 9-minute mark. The synth multiplies these layers where the voices melt into a cobalt-blue texture, giving a seraphic industrial flavor. The rhythm becomes more coherent after the 10th minute, with a second circular movement which surrounds the initial drumming. Percussive clicks give a false stimulus to a rhythm that vacillates between its light zigzags and these minimalist beat in an atmosphere where the abyss has found a door that opens onto the Cosmos. Fairylands Fireflies is based on the same concept. Its opening is much more tenebrous, with breaths - some of which are almost rales - and winds filled with industrial particles. Strange sound effects - like a quacking duck or a mechanical fly trapped in steel mesh - fill the track's ambiences, which at times have a more sibylline essence. Even with these powerful jets of propulsion and cosmic effects à la Software, which add to the multiple elements and particle ejections that make up the slow opening of Fairylands Fireflies. Here too, chords fall. They have a more rhythmic impact, without actually initiating a beat. They tinkle and skip in these winds, ululating like specters surrounding frightened souls. A flute emerges from this unusual landscape. Its ethereal air dissipates the buzzing winds while awakening the sequencer, which activates a fiercely pounding rhythm line just before the 10-minute mark. The rhythm is linear and hops briskly through the misty air of a mellotron with gothic harmonies, before transforming into good electronic rock 2 minutes later.

Maybe on Mars also makes use of these winds, we can even talk about howls, in an ambience filled with muffled explosions and mechanical hoops clashing on a planet already occupied by industrial installations. Dusty winds, stormy breezes, astral waves and mechanical whirring exchange roles in ambiences that are sometimes musical, but often dark. A pulse beats slowly around the 8-minute mark, structuring a slow, loping rhythm. It beats heavily, resonates and zigzags lightly through the tears of a false cello whose moans weave a fascinating melody that becomes maudlin with the arrival of the violin. The rhythm develops further around the 12th minute, when a sequence of luminous arpeggios begins to swirl all around. Shadowlands develops in the same way as the first 3 tracks on IN FAR LANDS. With its dusty winds, its ambiences breathe more like those of desert regions after a gigantic storm has sucked up all its sand. And darkness has descended on this arid desert where keyboard chords tinkle and creatures from another world breathe. A mellotron sounding like good old Neuronium instructs the sequencer to build a rhythm line around the 10-minute mark. Delicate as Bambi's feet skipping in a frozen dew, the rhythm makes tinkling and swirling its twirling arpeggios in an oneiric tumult where layers of seraphic voices float and, further on, more cavernous voices are heading for an industrial gothic finale. Bleak Worlds concludes this IN FAR LANDS with an introduction of grainy winds where synth lines gleam, twisting like suffering metal. Dust and drizzle, the opening is snatched up by a big chthonian choir before finding a little space to reach a more paradisiacal place. This short track passes through several phases - hence its origin, I imagine - all equally distinct from one another, before finally clinging to an ambient rhythm that hops with a light impulse between the lines of a surprisingly musical synth - it sounds like Arabian airs, for the universe of IN FAR LANDS. And if there's a link between the darkness of Earth and the Cosmos, Fringo Chills has found it!

Sylvain Lupari (November 23rd, 2023) ***½**

Available on SynGate Bandcamp

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

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