JEROME FROESE: Far Side of the Face (2012)
Updated: Nov 22, 2020
“Far Side of the Face is a solid opus which leaves an indelible track in your ears... and on your walls”
1 Flight of Fancy 5:53
2 Novembernauts 14:19
3 Scroll to Position 7:25
4 Her Majesty's Adornments 10:10
5 Crystal Red 4:56
6 Inner Canon of the Yellow Emperor 5:54
7 A Neo-Victorian Romance 5:48
8 Control your Curiosity 6:22
9 Captain of the Skies 5:51
(DDL 64:32) (V.F.)
Strange phenomenon that of Jerome Froese! Despite solid albums we always hesitate to talk about his works. I did the test with FAR SIDE OF THE FACE (and by extension with Cases of Recurrence). I deliberately chose not to talk about it, just to see when a first review would appear. And 6 months later; Zip! Nada! Nothing! Are we sulking to Edgar's son? The question needs to be asked. Because despite a series of very good albums there are few reviews and writings regarding the works of this brilliant young musician of the electronic succession. And yet FAR SIDE OF THE FACE takes on a very particular character with the presence of Johannes Schmoelling who brings a very TD touch with his melodious synths, marvellously caressing Jerome's psychedelico-rhythmic universe. His 3rd studio album is a very good one. Different and more thorough than its previous ones, but an album that leaves an indelible mark in your ears and on your walls ...
Delicate arpeggios fall like raindrops in a series of four sequenced keys in the introductory mist of Flight of Fancy. The melodious opening is hesitant. Clinging to the pulsations of a bass line, it succumbs to some astonishing percussions which explode and drum among the stray chords of a lonely guitar before losing itself in an anarchic phase which breathes through the lamentations of a Guitartronica. And slowly, Flight of Fancy returns to its point of origin with a more harmonic presence of the Guitartronica. This introductory track, which reminds me of A Mellow Morning on the Shiver Me Timbers album, is the outline of the 8 other ones with fleeting melodies and gregarious rhythms that will caress our ears throughout this album. Jerome continues to mix his dark melodies in heavy and soothing riffs which describe arcs of ambiguity like on the very good A Neo-Victorian Romance which presents a very good harmonious frame à la Patrick O'Hearn before flexing under the blows of the Guitartronica, or the superb Crystal Red, written with Johannes Schmoelling, and his strident twisted solos which coo on a melodious and catchy jerky rhythmic. The spasmodic structures which fragment fine melodies are as numerous as in Shiver Me Timbers and Neptunes. We only have to hear the noisy and hatched Control your Curiosity and Her Majesty's Adornments to immerse ourselves in the moods of these 2 albums. Also composed with Johannes Schmoelling, Novembernauts deploys a harmonic structure which clings to a rhythm with polyphase evolutions. The strata of guitars, and its soft riffs, harmonize their tunes on a rhythm which bites a stroboscopic line from which escape hypnotic musical loops before Schmoelling's synths tear out a cohesion which had just been subject to strong percussions. This rhythmic eruption gradually dissipates, plunging Novembernauts towards a more ambient passage that the ex-Tangerine Dream seasoned with charming solos.
Extracting itself from its ochered mist intro, Scroll to Position wriggles with its frenzied pulsations and drumming under a pool of shortened solos and aggressive riffs. It's a very violent track that plunges into a more melodious phase and that will turn your floorboards upside down. Another solid title, Her Majesty's Adornments spells out its 10 minutes between a bewitching melodious approach a bit virginal and an indecisive rhythmic structure where percussions and arpeggios embrace in the emaciated curves of stroboscopic filaments. Its continuous indecision and its rhythmic derailments make of it a long musical preliminary which reaches its brief climax around the 6th minute. It's very good! Inner Canon of the Yellow Emperor transcends Jerome's usual style with a title that is still explosive but more in-depth than that offered on the EP Preventive Medecine. The atmosphere of electronic trash metal is nourished by heavy riffs which follow one another on a structure entangled in its heaviness. The title is hesitant with a fragment of melody which gets lost in a whirlwind of riffs and of too good percussions. Not easy to gauge but quite surprising, it looks like a cross between Red Hot Chilli Pepper and Carbon Based Lifeforms! Captain of the Skies concludes FAR SIDE OF THE FACE precisely with a morphic ballad à la Carbon Based Lifeforms style. It's a rebellious ballad, trampled by ambio-psychedelicosmic elements that drifts in space-time as in our subconscious.
Jerome's universe switches between several genres and sub-genres and it is quite difficult to affix a conventional tag to it. You could call it electronica, but I would lean more for trashtronica. It's quite confusing with impromptu rhythms and suicidal melodies, but the whole ends up always creating something harmonious even if with these mainly bellicose structures. That can be enough to make run away the fans of EM who have difficulty identifying with the unusual style of Jerome Froese. In fact Jerome reminds me of Dr Frankenstein who, in his lab / studio, does collage, inserts punchy and momentary riffs, builds his stormy rhythms and plant percussions, which are frankly amazing on FAR SIDE OF THE FACE, and forges phantom melodies to put them on wild rhythms that look like monsters' rhythms that are simply frightening. But once we have take pleasure to tame all the music, and to find those magical instants such as I did, we realize that Jerome Froese is a studio-beast and a solid electronic musician with a sense of writing that touches and even surpasses many big names in EM. And even if the presence of Johannes Schmoelling on this opus brings an old TD touch closer to the vintage years than Miramar, Jerome does not have to feel tiny in front of this legend of contemporary EM.
Sylvain Lupari (January 7th, 2013) ***½**
Available at Jerome Froese Bandcamp