Frore Biome (2023)
“A little masterpiece that has nothing to envy the best works of the tribal dance style”
1 Algae Bloom 8:58
2 Trapped in Amber 9:48
3 Protozoa 9:45
4 Fern Cluster 8:10
5 Luminous and Tangled 9:13
6 Mycelium Dreams 13:50
(CD/DDL 59:47) (V.F.)
I know Frore from hearing his percussion and dusty wind structures in his collaborations with Shane Morris. This collaboration has produced 3 albums, all on the Spotted Peccary label, including the excellent Horizon in 2021. Frore's first solo album on the Portland, Oregon label seems to be inspired by this last collaboration with Morris, which also featured guest artists such as Byron Metcalf and Mark Seelig. I refer to this album because a close correlation can be established between BIOME and Horizon. We find the same tribal rhythm structures built on a fascinating mesh of hand percussions, drums and sequences. Ambiences are designed around the elements that make up the essence of a forest and its environment. But the music goes further than that! The tracks develop into lush, atmospheric textures with synth lines, sometimes sinuous and at times circular, that are bursting with reverberating effects, dark vibratory waves and throat-singing effects. The album is all about rhythm! They are quickly established in each track by superb percussive textures of all kinds, from ambient tribal styles to electronic rock, EDM and even Berlin School. Yes, yes! In short, BIOME is an astonishing album, gripping in the intensity that springs from its fiery rhythms.
Frore already establishes the richness of his musical panoramas with the opening of Algae Bloom. Buzzing winds and others edged by muted ululations, woosshh breezes, scarlet synth waves and immense layers of rumbling drones are among the elements that adorn a rather esoteric introduction. The rhythm is born of a trotting form from which the rubbery echo resonates between other manual percussion strikes. Atmospheric elements contort, tracing grooves gorged with guttural vibrations, while the rhythm gains in confidence by exploiting the tones of clay percussions. As a first invitation to discover his solo universe, Paul Casper offers a slow, bewitching rhythm, bordering on hypnotism. A kind of spiritual tribal trance in a musical and particularly enchanting soundscape, where the richness of sonic textures is matched only by the bewitching panoply of rhythms that the American musician-synthesist dares to challenge with panache. His aboriginal percussion textures are reminiscent of the depth of Byron Metcalf's tribal and medicinal rhythms. The guttural effects of shadows and sinuous synth waves compact a sonic firmament from which the bones of an exorcising shaman rattle in the opening of Trapped in Amber. The rhythm is slightly more accentuated than that of Algae Bloom and will progress under a panorama filled with these twisted sonic filaments whose tonalities permute in their slow ascensional surges. The arrival of solid percussions, such as drums, lends a tasty texture of heavy electronic rock while retaining that unique cachet of hypnotic tribal trance that punctuates BIOME's 6 structures. In addition to other percussive elements, such as metallic rattles, Paul Casper continues to feed our ears with a rich tonal flora filled with, among other things, wolf ululations and ghostly hooo-oo-ooo, as well as intriguing howls and vocal bursts heard through the rushes of white noises. Let's just say we're all ears!
Protozoa features a rhythmic structure supported by organic effects such as cadenced croakings. Combined with keyboard riffs, the tempo takes on a spasmodic, frenetic form under a sonic flora still woven in those muffled voice and howling effects that have charmed our ears ever since Algae Bloom took them over. Fern Cluster offers nothing less than a fascinating blend of tribal rhythm and Berlin School, like Tangerine Dream in Flashpoint and/or Thief. The crossover between percussions and the sequencer is superb, while the ambiences blend the spectral tribal flavors of the album with a darker, a more chthonian touch à la Dream. Luminous and Tangled stretches out a rhythmic structure that resembles a back-and-forth motion, like the effect of a hypnotic rhythmic slingshot. Semi-slow but nonetheless firmly rooted, this undulating rhythm spins under beautiful flute airs. We're right in the heart of Metclaf and Seelig's tribal hymns here. BIOME's longest track, Mycelium Dreams, begins with hoarse tonal circles, beyond the stage of throat singing, which multiply again and again, accompanying a frenetic aboriginal dance over a distance of more or less 10 minutes. What sound like guitar chords appear at regular intervals, giving a harmonic momentum to the rhythm. Various sources of organic noise, different forms of acoustic clatter and quavering effects accompany the percussions, which drums out a hypnotic astral trance as agitated as a tribal EDM structure under a firmament haloed by synth layers with tones very close to Steve Roach's. The 3-minute finale is BIOME's longest atmospheric phase, testifying to the energy that comes from this splendid Frore album. A must-have in the genre, and a little masterpiece that has nothing to envy the best works of the tribal dance style from Steve Roach and Byron Metcalf!
Sylvain Lupari (June 15th, 2023) *****
Available at Spotted Peccary Music
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