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Album Review: Angels of the Sun
Fred Thrane
Cover image of the album Angels of the Sun by Fred Thrane
Angels of the Sun
Fred Thrane
2010 / Fred Thrane
39 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
Angels of the Sun is an eclectic guitar debut by former music professor Fred Thrane (pronounced Trana). Ranging from rock stylings to ambient, classical, and Spanish, Thrane is accompanied on some of the tracks by Dennis Murphy on bass and Jim Norris on percussion. The cover artwork is a photo from the Hubble Telescope of Crescent Nebula, and the back cover is “Ghostly Reflections in the Pleiades,” also from the Hubble Telescope. The inside liner notes give “Some Facts About Our Universe,” so what does that have to do with guitar music? I was a little puzzled until I popped the CD into my player and started hearing otherworldly sounds created by reverb and other effects. Those effects are not on all of the tracks, but where they appear, a very different guitar listening experience is interspersed with the more traditional approaches of the other tracks. If you are looking for a quiet, melodic, homogenized guitar CD for background music, this one might not do it for you, but the more adventurous listener looking for something very different should check this one out.

Angels of the Sun begins with the title track, a slow and sometimes ethereal piece that seems to be rooted in prog rock as well as more contemporary ambient guitar. Reverb gives the guitar a spacey, floating feel and sets the mood of the album. “Big Sur” begins with a folk guitar style with subtle percussion, but as it evolves, it becomes much more abstract and electronic. “Fandango in Four” swings us back around to a more traditional classical guitar with rapid hand clapping in the background to propel it forward. “Farruca” continues in a Spanish style that includes traditional castanets and clapping. “Moraga Raga” has a bright, sunny attitude and a gentle but compelling energy. “Soleares” is solo classical guitar - passionate and colorful. As its title suggests, “The Third Heaven” returns us to the floating ethereal sounds we began with, with an even more atmospheric ambience. I don’t know what it means, but I love the title of the closing track: “Cowgirls and Ice Cream”! I expected this one to be upbeat and whimsical, but it’s actually a graceful slow ballad that could be a love song.

As you can see, Angels of the Sun is something of a sampler of Fred Thrane’s varied composing styles and is quite an interesting exploration. The CD is available from www.fredthrane.com, Amazon, and CD Baby.
July 3, 2011
This review has been tagged as:
Debut AlbumsGuitar music