Frame, AFO 4 [Mousikelab – MSKCD04, 2005]

frame_afo4“AFO 4” is as impressive as it’s an ambitious release in a beautiful fold-up cover it holds a not only a CD but also a DVD. Who’s responsible? Well, Mousike Lab is responsible for the release, Frame for the music and Nina di Majo for the visuals. The soon to be fourth release (2005) on Mousike Lab is reportedly the result of an audiovisual project presented for the first time at the 2003 RomaEuropa festival. “AFO 4” is surpricingly varied and the nine songs cover practically everything from droned out soundscapes, beautiful arrangements, beats to freeform jazz and that’s when concentrating on the musical aspects of this release, then there’s the DVD. It’s a visual feast with excellent scenery and maybe a bit to strong a focus on human anatomy, but then again that’s down to personal taste. The track titled “A to Z” as been previously released and was included on the “Condominium” compilation reviewed here at ED. And a good track it is, in fact every single track on AFO 4 has its definite qualities, however I find it easy to favour “Madalia” for its melancholic overdose and heartbreaking beauty, even the saxophone is successfully incorporated. That could be said about several of the tracks on “AFO 4” and overall Frame really succeed in using acoustic sounding elements in their music, such as undamped piano and saxophone to great effect, don’t be misled thinking that it is not highly electronic music. The album benefits from continuous listening and a subtle warning goes out to the fainthearted listeners, the last and ninth track “Sequenza Quattro” contains large portions of untamed jazz. To summarise: an audiovisual project released on CD and DVD, beautifully packaged and based on the scenery of an abandoned industrial complex containing a tower named AFO 4, a project that both sounds and looks great. Q: How cool is that and can it get any better? A: I seriously doubt that it can.