Too many bands travel space’s far-flung horizons, contemplating the far future and predicting the shape of things to come, get it wrong. They try too hard to become one with the cutting edge of scientific recovery, emulate the strangeness of space, and be the soundtrack to unravelling the secrets of the universe itself. What Frequency Bleu gets so right is that rather than trying to capture such cutting-edge discoveries in the medium of music, they are happier being the house band at the nearest starport.
Imagine it’s the end of a long day mining for Madeupium Crystals in the Garter Belt, and you want to unwind in the nearest cocktail bar, probably to sink a couple of Pan-Galactic Gargle Blasters. This is the sound of the house band, and they may look like something from a Roger Dean poster or a Rodney Matthews book cover. But the music is sublime.
Back in the real world, Frequency Bleu mixes and matches an exotic blend of the what was, the hear and now and the what might yet be. Sublime synths are loosely tethered to skittering beats. The analogy world makes merry with the digital. The grace of classical instruments is woven around the gentle groove of the chilled, alternative clubland scene.
There are trippy instrumentals, smooth neo-neo-soul cuts, seductive dance, and worlds music. (That is like world music, only taking sonic references from the places we will one day visit on our journey to infinity and beyond.) Arabesque exotica drifts through on gentle beats, and otherworldy musical patterns are explored and evolved. Even though many of the building blocks are recognisable, what the band builds with these elements is revolutionary sonic architecture.
A World Away is a glossy, pop-dance piece full of relentless energy and shimmering starlight, Alone in Space is both a gorgeous vocal delivery and a suitably spacious arrangement, a contrast of the warmth of humanity and the ice cold of space and The Hymn of Centauri B is ambient brilliance.
Magellanic Clouds broods and broils perfectly, Saturn’s Clock is suitably frantic and relentless, and Ethereal Mind feels like Vangelis seeking inspiration by spacewalking with his keyboard. Or Jean-Micheal Jarre-Jar Binks’ debut single, perhaps. Perhaps not!
It might seem cliche to say that you haven’t heard anything like this album before. But, then again, it is a cliche that most cliches are true, but then like most cliches, that cliche is untrue. This album will blow your mind, but subtly and supply, it’s a gentle revolution, one taste of one possible future, a paradigm shift in what music can be and where it goes next.
These are the sonic voyages of the starship Frequency Bleu, and they are going where Norman has gone before. Or something!