Frequency Drift - Letters to Maro - 2018


“... a consistent album without weak points ...”


Frequent readers of progVisions will remember the name Frequency Drift. You can find some album reviews of the band and their members on this portal. After seven highly acclaimed studio albums, the German band lead by composers Andreas Hack and Nerissa Schwarz presents now their eight album entitled “Letters to Maro”. The band made quite an impression with their 2011 album “Ghost”. An album full of captivating Cinematic music and with an outside-the-box instrumentation. Several good albums further this instrumentation is a little bit more normalized, but the characteristic sound of the electro harp of Nerissa Schwarz is still present in their innovative music. Luckily I was also able to see the band in a live setting on the prestigious ProgDreams and Night Of The Prog festivals. Latest addition to their lineup is singer and lyricist Irini Alexia. The album has been released on April 13th on the Gentle Art Of Music label and is also promoted by Nineteen 73 Artist Promotion.


Irini Alexia - vocals; Andreas Hack - keyboards, synthesizer, guitar, bass, mandolin; Nerissa Schwarz - electro harp, Mellotron, synthesizer; Wolfgang Ostermann - drums, wavedrum 

Additional musicians:
Michael Bauer - guitar (1&10); Marco Geipel - live bass


The fact that Frequency Drift is aiming for a unique sound for every album, the music stays unpredictable. But on the other hand the band managed to develop an unique but recognizable group sound. For instance on their previous album Last the band introduced heavy guitar parts and put the focus on rhythms. On the new album “Letters to Maro” the band displays a much more transparent and electronic approach with a lighter sound. About the lyrical aspect new singer Irini Alexia conceived the songs as loosely connected stand-alone letters in which she tells the story of a person that has to come to the realization that even returning to the metropolis of his youth, hedonism and the pursuit of normality cannot obliterate all the ghosts of loss. Songs full of emotion and melancholia. But the music sounds still fresh and has a light or mellow atmosphere.

You can find the following 11 songs on this fine album; “Dear Maro”, “Underground”, “Electricity”, “Neon”, “Deprivation”, “Izanami”, “Nine”, “Escalator”, “Sleep Paralysis”, “Who’s Master” and “Ghosts When It Rains”.

The album opener “Dear Maro” introduces the new vocalist of the band Irini Alexia to us. Immediately it becomes clear that Irini is capable to perform delicate sung parts as well as the more voluminous parts. The concept of performing written letters is working very well. The music has a Cinematic character and contains a lot of classical elements. You can find beautiful string sections in this track and the electro harp melody in the end is breathtaking ... pure bliss. The next track “Underground” has more elements of electronica. The vocal melodies are very strong and the new singer is convincing. “Electricity” has a more rhythmic opening and the catchy vocal refrain has almost a pop music atmosphere. “Neon” has a beautiful opening with piano and electro harp. It is a diverse piece of music with lovely vocal and harp parts and some great instrumental parts in which the Cinematic atmospheres are developing into a more progressive rock sound. In the first part of “Deprivation” you can find a beautiful sung vocal part. The second instrumental part has a lovely synth melody with a flute sound. The music becomes a more electronic character. In overall the character of the music stays on the mellow side of the progressive rock spectrum. Just listen to the opening of “Izanami” with it’s delicate vocals and tasteful instrumentation. At one point a more aggressive sounding guitar tries to penetrate the music but soon the music returns to a more fairytale like atmosphere. Another highlight is the beautiful sung ballad “Nine”. Again you can find beautiful melodies here. In “Escalator” there is the contrast of the more in a narrative way sung parts and the melodic vocal refrains. An intriguing find. In the end when the music is working towards a kind of climax, it abruptly stops to give way for a new beautiful melody. “Sleep Paralysis” is also a song of contrast. Electronic percussion, beautiful sung melodies and instrumental parts with a more electronic character. The longest track of the album is called “Who’s Master?” The slow Cinematic and melodic parts alternate with the more up-tempo and more aggressively sung vocal parts. You can find some oriental spheres that are delicately woven into the music. This album comes to an end with the beautiful track “Ghosts When It Rains” which has an intriguing orchestration.¬†


With “Letters to Maro” Frequency Drift adds again a fine album to their impressive album collection. The new singer Irini Alexia convinced me with beautifully sung vocal parts. This album has a more electronic vibe then it’s predecessors. The music can still be described as Cinematic soundscapes with elements of classical music and progressive rock. The band creates fascinating sequences of images about loss, forgetting and healing on this new album. Personally I think that the first part of the album is the strongest but in overall it is a consistent album without weak points. Therefore it is a must buy for the fans of the band. And if you don’t know the band yet, just check out this album and a new world opens up for you. Highly recommended by progVisions.

author - date - rating - label

Douwe Fledderus - May 2018 -   - Gentle Art Of Music / Nineteen 73