Artist: Joe Frawley
Release Date: 2014 Aug 15
Genre: Experimental Neo-Classical
License: CC BY-NC-ND
Label: Joe Frawley Music
Into the soundscapes of Joe Frawley’s Fluttering Satyrinae we go for this review today. I wrote about Joe’s Angel Boxes release some months back. In many of Joe’s work the concept of fragmentation comes up: fragmented memory, reality, history, time and other . This release continues on those themes.
Joe Frawley’s Fluttering Satyrinae
On this release Joe examines the concept of time fragmentation, based on a quote from Alain Robbe-Grillet:
…we believe that what is happening to us has already happened before, as though the present time were splitting in two, breaking in its own midst into two parts: an immediate reality, plus a ghost of that reality…. But the ghost soon wavers…. One would like to grasp it…. It passes again and again behind our eyes, diaphanous butterfly or dancing will-o’-the-wisp that toys with us…. Ten seconds later, it has all fled forever. –Alain Robbe-Grillet, ‘Djinn’
The choice of Satyrinae as the focal point within this release is most appropriate, they are a subfamily of brown, brush-footed butterflies (Nymphalidae). It is estimated that the number of species in the Satyrinae subfamily may exceed 2400. [Wikipedia – Satyrinae]
The concept that a moment in time can split, and flutter off as if it were a butterfly emerging from a cocoon is an enticing image, If we consider that there are multitudes of points in time where this can occur, then it’s easy to sense that there could be hundreds, if not thousands of the ghost-time points floating around us, some dissipating into the thin air, while others form their own new events in time.
This concept is examined through seven tracks on this release. Each track represents a different setting, with a different mood and texture. From the opening lush, melodic piano of ‘Threshold’, to the vocal ticking of the ‘Waterclock Secrets’ which has dark undertones of strings, to the raving, ecstatic frenzy of ‘Hive, or, The Maenads’ underpinned by eery, ethereal voices, chimes, piano and wind.
This is a release that you can listen to over and over, and find something new at each turn. Each piece is more engaging than that the last, and the variety of textures is simply sublime. Joe has a way with finding an interesting ground between the organic acoustic instruments an voices and electronic elements of his compositions that seems completely natural. This isn’t electronic music for the sake of electronic music. It isn’t experimental for the sake of being experimental. Every element is finely honed to fit the composition and the needs of the song. And that is what makes this, and Joe Frawley’s works in general, stand out in the very crowded musical landscape we have these days.