Review: Joe Frawley – A Hundred Years

Connecticut’s Joe Frawley is chiefly known as a composer and pianist, with his albums often centred around voice samples. In the past, the reference points have been unknown but ‘A Hundred Years’ is Frawley’s musical interpretation of ‘The Sleeping Beauty’ story.

‘Halothane’ features the kind of watery piano melody which wouldn’t sound out of a place on a Harold Budd recording; representing familiar territory for Frawley. However, his USP is the use of samples and how he integrates them into the music.

Gradually the flow of the record makes sense and it feels like one is drifting in and out of a dream, with birdsong, voices (both ghostly and grounded) being fed in from speaker to speaker to our subconscious state.  The experience reaches its peak for ‘Into The Softness’; an eerie combination of whispers, choral loops, strings and the raindrop-like effects of piano keys but the stark ‘100 Years’ is just as memorable as the claustrophobic effects send chills to the bone.

Frawley’s music can be a little highbrow and if you were listening to the album for the first time with no biographical information, it wouldn’t be so apparent what the source material is. However, the concept is actually perfectly in tune with Frawley’s elegant yet disorientating approach and – with perseverance – the artistic endeavours translate to an experience that is actually rather moving.

Web Sites:
Joe Frawley Official Site
Bandcamp Stream of ‘A Hundred Years’

Further Listening:
Harold Budd

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