Electrum - Frames Of Mind

Year of Release: 1998
Label: self-released
Catalog Number: n/a
Format: CD
Total Time: 63:25:00

Frames Of Mind is Electrum's debut album, released in March of 1998, and it is a very good debut. There are strong elements of 80's Rush throughout, especially in the first few tracks, which isn't surprising as they give the Canadian trio a name check straight off in the liner notes. Of course, even without that, one's immediate expectation of a progressive trio is either they are going to sound like Rush, or ELP. That Electrum use Rush as a starting point isn't bad, especially on a debut. Ten albums down the line, if they are still sounding reminicent of 80's Rush, then there's a problem.

However, having said all that, I find that guitarist Dave Kulju's playing makes me think more of Craig Chaquico than Alex Lifeson. So, Electrum's Rushism are more bass/drum related than anything.

But, laying Rush aside, how good (or bad) are Electrum? Fortunately, they're good. They don't rely on the R factor too much. "Voices," the seventh track in, is lyrical, with a guitar/bass interplay about a quarter in that is as effective as it is affecting - one I felt in my gut. Dave Kulju's playing here is delicate and elegant. So, while his playing tone and style is unlike Steve Rothery [Ed. note: him again?], there is the same emotional punch, the same "make each note count" quality.

While at times Frames of Mind gets crowded, with dense bass/drum interplay (Gino Foti and Joe Musmanno, respectively), most of the album allows space for each instrument to explore. This is not the almost frentic playing where a lot of instrumental prog is going these days (cf Liquid Tension Experiment, also reviewed) nor the quirky like Djam Karet (though, there are moments when Electrum use similiar textures). Okay, track 8, "Inertial Dampers Off-Line" contains an almost frentic interplay - the background music to an epic firefight, but most of Electrum is mid-speed - crusing speed actually.

Overall, I am impressed with this debut and recommend it.

Ascension (10:56) / Reverie (6:00) / Measure Of An Unmade Grave (7:39) / Frames Of Mind Part I: Cognitive Synergy (4:04) / Frames Of Mind Part II: Dialectic (7:10) / Desolation (1:56) / Voices (11:32) / Intertial Dampers Off-Line (2:55) / Portal To Arcanum (10:55)

Gino Foti - bass and synthesizer
Dave Kulju - guitar and synthesizer
Joe Musmanno - acoustic and electric percussion

Frames of Mind (1998)
Standard Deviation (2002)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin US

Added: August 11th 1998
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Artist website: www.electrum.org
Hits: 1692
Language: english


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