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Fly Gallery

Fly Gallery

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Written by Andy Hughes: Staff writer for The South Bend Tribune: Nathan Butler has played drums on more than 50 albums. But not on his own album, "Fly Gallery." No one does. "It was partly a statement to say I didn't make an album so that I could play drums on it," he says about not playing his main instrument on "Fly Gallery." "That was a barrier I wanted. ... Those are all electronic drums." The electronic drums also fit the sound and genre the 33-year-old Goshen resident wanted for "Fly Gallery," which he's releasing Saturday with a performance at the Goshen Theater under the band name Frequency Theater. "Aggressive music might be the way to put it," he says about Frequency Theater's sound. "Bluegrass is fun, but it's not my home base. I wanted to get back to my roots. ... I started with thrash metal and progressed through different genres, and I wanted to return to heavy music and differentiate myself from what everybody else around here seems to be doing." With an introductory track that consists of a fire engine's blaring siren, marching feet and an airplane zooming overhead, Butler makes it clear from the outset that neither Frequency Theater nor "Fly Gallery" sound like the Americana roots music more commonly created in Goshen. Instead, Butler plants his feet firmly in the ground of industrial, electronic and hard rock music. "Partly, I'm a product of the late '80s, early '90s in some senses," he says. "I really miss the big arena-oriented approach. There's a band called Muse that's becoming a big deal, and they're angling in that direction. ... That, and the whole abstraction of sound. Virtually nothing is an actual sound." With Butler's layered arrangements, provocative lyrics and pop-conscious melodies, he sounds more than credible as Frequency Theater, a name he chose to reflect both a lifelong interest and his conception of the music. "I'm a big fan of radio," he says. "Ever since I was a little kid, my dad would sit with me and listen to the Reds out of Cincinnati or the St. Louis Cardinals. I always liked that concept of the theater of the mind that radio is - and I deal with sound, obviously. It's like an abstraction of an abstraction." Butler, who majored in music at Greenville (Ill.) College, however, has experience in non-abstract genres. He's a former member of JRL, a roots rock band in the vein of Tom Petty and The Band that started in Goshen and moved to Charlottesville, Va., for a time, and of Wilson's Reservoir, a current Goshen-based Americana band. He's also played drums live for The Goldmine Pickers on occasion. "I would be remiss not to mention that I've had the fortune to work with some really great songwriters over the last 10 years, and that really reinforced my ideas about melody and what makes a good melody, good song structure," he says. "In general, the electronic scene tends to be more focused on the sounds and about that rather than the song. It's more about a feeling that you're trying to create." With it's catchy melody, processed vocals, thrashing guitars, heavy bass and such lines as, "Are you tired of being forgotten?" and "We're all in this together/Yes, we can make it better," "The Charismatic" displays Beck's influence on Butler, while "Peace and Safety" has a similarly political theme to it's opening lyrics but is more of a soundscape piece that consists of atmospheric drums and synthesizers with a two- and three-note piano part dropped in at regular intervals. "('The Charismatic') is my upbringing, my perspective on the current political atmosphere and my opinion of how the huddled masses are being used by the people in power, regardless of what party you're in," Butler says. "There's a song called 'Frenzy': I grew up in this church called The Glory Barn. It became a large church called Faith Assembly. Just some weird stuff happened there. It was investigated by the FBI and sued a number of times." Although powered by a propulsive electronic drum beat, "Like a Star" has a breezy, pop sensibility to it thanks to it's simple but repetitive melody line and melodic riffs played on synthesizer through string sounds, while the multi-tracked vocals on "Artemis" give the song a full vocal sound on it's chorus. "Basically, the songs are vignettes of experiences," Butler says. "A fly gallery is a mechanism for changing scenes in a theater, so the songs are a series of scenes. ... I guess, in a subtle way, I'm saying I'm presenting you with a series of ideas or a sequence of scenes." In keeping with the heavy and often dark sound of the songs, the lyrics also present a dark view of humanity at times, but, Butler says, he wants people to walk away from the record with a sense of hope. "My experience of the human condition has been that, in general, people are terrible to each other," he says. "I think that putting that out there, hopefully, implies that we should think about how we treat each other. I'm not trying to be preachy. I hate that, but I think a little more thought about how we treat each other goes a long way. Really, the album is about relationships." "The one challenge to writing by yourself is that you don't have anybody to bounce your ideas off of in the moment," he says. "I think doing it this way, you have to be a lot more patient and fish around to get people to listen to your demos a lot. That's very different from being in a band, where you have four or five mirrors in the room with you." The solo approach, Butler says, also has benefits to it. "I could experiment with my ideas," he says. "It took me a couple of years to find my voice, to get it where it sounds unified. I think that's been helpful. I feel I have a lot more integrity in what I'm presenting, and that may have gotten lost in bands in the past." "The social aspect of concerts is essential to having a positive experience," Butler says about live shows. "Basically, I am the guy up front. I play guitar, but I would be hesitant to call myself a guitar player. I don't sit around shredding my scales all day. I'd rather hire somebody to do that so that I can run around onstage and play Bono." ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Frequency Theater announces their first release, Fly Gallery, on Halloween, Oct 31st. In a world where everyone's a racist and conspirator, a world of tea parties and swine flu, anarchy and globalism, one band has it's eye on the whole story. Frequency Theater is the brainchild of local musician and producer Nathan Butler (Nimble Wit Productions), who has worked with regional bands The Sad Tropics, Wilson's Reservoir, JRL, Apollos Mad and The Goldmine Pickers. Fly Gallery was recorded and produced by Butler and mastered by Grant Beachy of Electric Angel Studios. An upcoming review will appear from Jeremiah Wade, radio host on The Globe, WGCS 91.1 FM. Fly Gallery explores a variety of themes, but the collection centers on relationships and the human condition. Sonically it lands somewhere between Depeche Mode and later Nine Inch Nails, an unusual sound compared to the usual regional fare of Americana/Folk or Metal. Like an impassioned narrator giving the play by play to a tragic collapse of the human experience, Frequency Theater's first EP tells the tales of the darker side of the human saga. Butler comments, "If you think of it in terms of relativity, we can't really comprehend light without putting it into context with darkness." He pulls from his unique experiences-growing up in a cultish church in northern Indiana, largely isolated from society until his later teens and working in the region's manufacturing sector-to create a dark and sometimes apocalyptic lyrical perspective. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ 'Music fans wondering what Trent Reznor might sound like on a happy day, look no further. Continuing a tradition of electronic rock in the vein of 90's heavyweights Nine Inch Nails, Stabbing Westward, and the Prodigy, Midwestern act Frequency Theater creates a cacophony of positive, thoughtful robo-pop noise over eight tracks that glide over various industrial music subgenres without pigeonholing itself or remaining merely one of a myriad copycat acts. Adeptly produced and performed by sole constant member Nathan Butler, "Fly Gallery" is a solid debut that nods to classic electro influences (any number of early Wax Trax! Records releases come to mind) while offering a melodic sensibility often absent in the cold, sterile sound common to the scene.' Jeremiah Wade One Step Beyond The Globe, WGCS 91.1 FM.

Details

Kunstenaar: Frequency Theater
Titel: Fly Gallery
Genre: Rock
Releasedatum: 10-11-2009
Label: CD Baby
Media-indeling: CD
UPC: 884501213776
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