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Feeling of Presence – Of Lost Illusion

Feeling of Presence
Of Lost Illusion
by Mark Machlay at 26 October 2021, 6:15 AM

With a touch of the avant-garde and plenty of shoegazing influence comes FEELING OF PRESENCE, a new solo adventure for multi-instrumentalist Andreas Hack, who released his debut album “Of Lost Illusions” in the first week of August of this year. The Bayreuth, Germany classically trained keyboardist and multi-instrumentalist formed his first project FREQUENCY DRIFT and released their debut concept album, “Personal Effects Pt. 1”, in 2008, about a tragic story of two sisters in a futuristic setting inspired by films like Bladerunner and Ghost in the Shell. They further expanded their outside-the-box instrumentation, cinematic quality and female vocals with the appropriately titled follow-up, “Personal Effects Pt. 2”, showcasing a talent for powerful, soulful melodies and atmosphere. 2011’s “Ghosts” album would be notable for the introduction of key member Nerissa Schwarz on the electric harp and leaning more into ambient, art rock and even metal genres. After the varied and orchestral leaning “Laid to Rest” in 2012, further collaboration between Hack and Schwarz introduced world music, old school prog rock and plenty of experimentation with electric harp and keyboard layers on “Over” in 2014.

The band would release three more albums and gain prestigious festival spots in those years but ultimately would announce that there would not be another album or live performance in 2019, but the band’s members continue to work on projects either solo or collaborative. Though they may only be acting as guest musicians, two alumni from FREQUENCY DRIFT appear on “Of Lost Illusions”, so it almost eases the pain of the lack of new material from the original group. Electric harpist and mellotron player Nerissa Schwarz enriches the music with a wide range of sounds, from eerie ambient soundscapes to energetic outbursts while drummer Wolfgang Ostermann provides the backbone for rhythmic development. Electric guitars, acoustic stringed instruments, analog synthesizers, digital sound generators and dynamic drums add further dazzling tones to the music, which puts immediacy and expressiveness to the fore. The title of the collective is aptly chosen for the mood in which Hack wants the listener to experience. The feeling or the “illusion that something is in the room” seems a spot-on name for the haunting and deeply evocative music that is created.

Similar to his previous project, Hacks’s music for this new project is an immersive, layered, and expansive journey through a post-rock/shoe-gaze landscape that seems like a perfect soundtrack for heady sci-fi television show or movie. So much of the music is very bright and optimistic, but their always seems to be a lingering sense of foreboding or dread on the periphery and this is perfectly exemplified on the slow, deep, synth drive in the undercurrent of the opening track “A Weird Form of Darkness”. The ending of which dwindles out in a David Fincher inspired synth dripping into the misty woods. The title track, conversely, has a more coherent structure with drums to back it but also has that undercurrent of inkiness with a repeating piano motif that shares similarities to John Carpenter’s infamous motif introduced in his “Halloween” series. But then there are the heavy guitars that drive “Room Number 105”, jerking and jarring with a creepy Dracula-esq organ/piano melody over the top. You will end the album a bit softer with the gentle synths featured on “Venus Transit”, but it will only leave you wanting more. I immediately started “Of Lost Illusion” again, as each subsequent listen, I felt closer to that misplaced illusion and the story that was being told with FEELING OF PRESENCE in general was ever clearer each time.

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 7
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. A Weird Form of Darkness
2. Room Number 105
3. Of Lost Illusion
4. Fluorescent Detail
5. Hollow Innocence
6. Venus Transit
Andreas Hack – All Instruments, except:
Nerissa Schwarz – E-Harp & Mellotron
Wolfgang Ostermann – Drums
Record Label: Independent


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