Review: Joe Frawley – A Book of Dreams (2008)


artist: Joe Frawley
release: A Book of Dreams
format: CD
year of release: 2008
label: Self-released
duration: 50:46

The author of the work we focus on, Joe Frawley, is an American piano composer but a more comprehensive term for him would be indeed “sound collage artist”. Born in Connecticut, he studied at the Berklee College of Music and at the University of his hometown after getting to the University of Exeter. After that we can expect at least a good effort flowing out from any of his albums, but of course, we can hope a bit more.

Highly evocative, the psychological background of this album is more than clear with a plenty of confessing voices and titles such as “The Hypnotist”, which is also the name of a former EP, the same that together with Tangerine gave shape to A Book of Dreams. Nevertheless, both form up an intelligent unit, perhaps because of their abstract nature. At first, I thought that “Blue Arcana” and “The White Gloves” were accomplishing better their creator’s purpose in terms of suggestive richness, mainly due to their length, because most of the songs were too short in order to transmit a complete and deep message. But it isn’t so really, they keep on linking one after another.

The “Tangerine” suite is divided in 5 tracks, for example, the first of them is kind of cracked in the middle, a sort of fake ending, but they all have enough cohesion. During the first two tracks we have a strong piano presence, while the voices come over on the other three tracks, just as they do on the first songs of the record. This is the tangerine slumber, into ambient grounds, while the first songs of the album seem more Post-Rock, if we want to call them that way.

On “Morning call” we are obliged to wake up just to be immersed into the dream again. But if you’re not relaxed yet, which I honestly won’t believe, “Exit music” offers a good sensitive passage built on soft piano echoes, just to end the journey through the immense plains of the hypnotic. A subliminal work full of delicate textures, well combined and well achieved, in my opinion, essential for meditation sessions.

Reviewed by Osvaldr

Tracklist:

1. The city (Map 1) (4:03)
2. The hypnotist (4:54)
3. The white gloves (5:55)
4. The city (Map 2) (2:54)
5. Blue arcana (6:44)
6. Tangerine, part I (4:34)
7. Tangerine, part II (3:38)
8. Tangerine, part III (1:46)
9. Tangerine, part IV (3:06)
10. Tangerine, part V (3:29)
11. Morning call (4:50)
12. Exit music (4:52)