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)