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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

JEROME FROESE: Nightshade Family (2011)

Updated: Nov 21, 2020

Is Nightshade Family worth it if we already have Neptunes? Yes, I think so!

1 Intro 2:25

2 Radio Pluto 7:44

3 Decoding with Celine 8:22

4 Through the Moving Light 5:10

5 The Fade from Death to Afterlife 4:33

6 The Murder Mystery Dinner Train 7:14

7 Friendship 7 10:20

8 Microchannel Surfing (Excerpt) 1:48

9 A Room in the House Closed to the Public 6:15

10 40 Sublunary Seconds :33

11 My Reality at 52 Degrees of Latitude 6:00

12 At Marianas Trench 5:36

13 Sky Girls 6:56

Moonpop | CD-754

(CD 73:00) (V.F.)

(E-Rock, Guitartronica, EDM)

According to the press guide, the pressure was strong on Jerome to search in his archives in order to release an album in concert. Recorded between August 2005 and October 2006, during his performances at the Big Chill Festival in Eastnor, at the Water Rats Theater in London and at the Berlin Radio Eins Show, NIGHTSHADE FAMILY traces the performances of Jerome Froese linked to his first solo album Neptunes, released in October 2005. Alone on stage, Jerome is a real man-orchestra, manipulating guitars and synths against a background of programming. He scrolls a Neptunes with a different order in the titles and with a slightly accentuated heaviness, in an ambience which is somewhat reminiscent of 220 Volts for the entanglement of the titles via bridges and the passages a little boosted, but which preserves also all its melodious depth. The album spans 13 tracks and 73 minutes. Only C8 H10 N4 O2 (Re-stirred 2005) is absent and replaced by a short extract from Microchannel Surfing. For the rest, everything is almost identical to Neptunes. Maybe too much!

A slightly neurotic voice calls out to us about the future of our universe. A solitary preacher's voice that fades with the release of a synth wave stuffed of spectral breaths. And Radio Pluto comes out of limbo in the same way as on Neptunes. The whole introductory structure; spectral breaths and angelic voices over beautiful sound effects, Radio Pluto scrolls with the same speed and the same spell. While the rhythmic structure is absolutely identical; sound fauna, synth winds, percussions, the tsitt-tsitt of cymbals, everything is there. And that's what annoys a bit. It was the perfect opportunity to give Neptunes more mordant, though he had quite a bit, by inserting more riffs and solos. But no, there really aren't any significant changes between this album and Neptunes, which reignites the debate as to whether this is not a skillful studio edit rather than a real live album. Let's be honest! Jerome is alone to restore Neptunes in full and it is mentioned that there is no overdubs or noises from the crowd. If we do the exercise of comparing the titles between each album, we see that everything happens more or less is at the same time; rhythms, sound effects, riffs, percussions, etc ... In fact, only the addition of the bridges between the titles (NIGHTSHADE FAMILY takes place in 1 long title while Neptunes in 12 separate titles) can create a certain diversions and lets believe that Neptunes gets a makeover, just like the phrases we hear here and there. And these bridges are very rich. They add heaviness and a good depth to the original work. Jerome also pruned by cutting in time of some titles in order to shorten some ambient structures and moved them into intros and outros of other tracks. So, we have the impression that everything is more powerful and compact than on the original work. But whatever!

Whether it's a live album, no crowd vibe, or a studio edit, NIGHTSHADE FAMILY is as good as Neptunes. And like it's well indicated in the press guide, it's the ideal companion, as well as a complement to Neptunes. It has a more futuristic touch, with voices added here and there, while keeping intact that superb mix of ambiences, ballad and power that is Neptunes. Is NIGHTSHADE FAMILY worth it if you already have Neptunes? I think so. The sequence of tracks, which are played in a different order, as well as the pruning of a few tracks and the addition of bridges give a whole new side to this version in concert or not of Neptunes. And tracks such as Radio Pluto, Through The Moving Light, The Murder Mystery Dinner Train, My Reality At 52 Degrees Of Latitude and Sky Girls seem different to me, presented in this order and with their slight modifications, showing so all the impact that this Neptunes had on his public.

Sylvain Lupari (September 28th, 2011) ****¼*

Available at Jerome Froese Bandcamp

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