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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

FRORE & SHANE MORRIS: Horizon (2021)

From quiet beats to swirling spiritual trances, Horizon is a delight for fans of tribal ambient music lead by aboriginal percussions

1 The Eye of Everything 12:09

2 Agape 10:57

3 Woven 12:47

4 Lost in Wonder 8:56

5 Ocean of Fire 16:34

(CD/DDL 61:23) (V.F.)

(Tribal ambient music)

For as long as I can remember, I've been drawn by percussions. Drummers such as John Bonham, Carl Palmer and Bill Bruford were my delight when I was soaking up rock and progressive rock like a sponge thousands of moons ago. In EM, percussions and percussive elements take on forms that defy imagination, especially when annexed to a creatively manipulated sequencer. Think of Chris Franke or the genius of Mark Shreeve behind his big Moog. All this preamble to explain my affection for the music of Shane Morris, a percussionist as brilliant as Byron Metcalf, and whose tribal or Jurassic approach, with Mystified, evokes some of the finest moments in the genre of ambient tribal music. HORIZON is the 3rd collaboration between Frore & Shane Morris. And this new album transcends the boundaries of the excellent Eclipse, released already too long ago in 2017, with an updated acoustic percussions array for our listening pleasure. The magics of Byron Metcalf, Mark Seelig and Dirk Serries join this album, completing a sonic horizon as close to the ear as it is to our imagination.

It is from far away that the sounds and their forms create the slow swirl of The Eye of Everything. Becoming more and more compact, this mass of sounds gravitates with its sonic filaments expelled out from its shell, guttural drones and rustles whose origins seem to be born from the distant shamanic percussions that lurk beneath The Eye of Everything. A careful listening allows to authenticate the fact a little before the 3rd minute. That is to say a little before the percussions start to charm my ears with this title which borrows the way of a light pagan trance under a zone of buzzing reverberations well delimited by the borders of Paul Casper (Frore) and of his synth waves which breathe of Steve Roach's tribal visions. Mark Seelig lends his flute skills on Agape, which borrows a slow-dance texture in a relaxed tribal blues. Mark uses his lips like a guitarist uses his fingers on a track where Frore and Shane Morris give him all the room. Liking what Mark Seelig does, I had no trouble enjoying Agape. A resonant wave hasn't finished that the first tam-tams of Woven are dancing folklore through Morris' nimble fingers. The reverberating lines continue to unpack the ambiences that the rhythm of the percussions crackles of its drummed skins, always with more and more vigor. To such a point that we have this impression to visit the corridors of a Folk Rock softly beaten by quaking riffs and shamanic bells, testifying of this fury dissimulated not without difficulties of Woven! The percussions are simply divine throughout this tribal rock whose electronic side resides in these nervous synth lines which intertwine all around the beats of percussions which fill our ears to the rim.

The presence of Dirk Serries gives another texture to Lost in Wonder. True to form, the Belgian guitarist multiplies his layers of guitar moaning like drones or singing with its eternal prismatic air on a pensive structure. The gongs add to this dimension of meditation with tinkling sounds whose meditative colors are combined with these fluttery odes that fade into the moans of Serries' six-string. And so, the cycle repeats itself, always adding a few more layers for greater sedative pleasure. A beautiful atmospheric track filled with tonal colors to make you musically dizzy! Despite the impressive rhythmic choreography of HORIZON, Frore & Shane Morris called upon the master of meditative and medicinal percussions, Byron Metcalf for the thunderous fire rhythm in Ocean of Fire. A call from a sonic horn stretches into a puny drone buzzing under the tepid winds of the Atlantic Ocean. The winds split the spreading water as aboriginal tom-toms flood the circular horizons with two percussionists managing to sculpt a magnetizing rhythm under the bewitching waves of husky vocals, as if the didgeridoo had found its bearings in this track where percussion thunders while others telegraph the outpouring of percussive overflow. A rich and powerful track of these exhilarating strikes quavering before the ecstasy that occurs when the speed of percussions reaches a form of dribbling as incredible as two sequencers trapped on a conveyor belt that keeps jumping. Ahhh... what two pairs of hands attached to the inspiration and passion of these two magnificent percussionists for whom Aboriginal art and its mysteries have no secrets can achieve?

From quiet rhythms to swirling spiritual trances, led by an arsenal of percussion instruments from the four corners of the world, HORIZON is a delight for the ears of musical anthropologists. And presented in a superb production by Spotted Peccary, the pleasure is only fivefold!

Sylvain Lupari (September 27th, 2021) ****¼*

Available at Spotted Peccary Bandcamp

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