Exposé Online banner

Ashby — Fragmental
(Bandcamp no#, 2015, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2016-07-15

Fragmental Cover art

This German band got its start in 2011, and like the majority of recent progressive bands, there’s more than a little metal in their sound, courtesy of Jan Göpelt’s guitar. Joel van der Heiden’s keyboards are the other prominent instrumental sound, with a variety of different tones, sometimes reminiscent of piano, but more often masses of generally string-like synths. One thing you don’t get is a lot of retro analog sounds. In this case, though, the tones are good enough that not much is lost. On the vocal side, there is Sabina Moser, who has a strong voice that commands attention when she’s present, though there are many long instrumental passages where she can step out for a beer or a coffee. Unlike many singers in progressive rock or metal, she has a bit of grit in her tone, giving her a somewhat bluesy sound even though the music is quite far removed from the blues. This combination works well for the band, and calls to mind some past references like Jumbo, Gabriel-era Genesis, and so on. Apparently she was a contestant on the German edition of The Voice, but I think she’s better served creatively in a setting like this than covering pop songs. There are occasional backing male vocals, though this is not a prominent element of Ashby’s sound. It’s almost a cliché to round out a review by saying the rhythm section (in this case bassist Christopher Streidt and drummer Rik Schindler) holds things together or something like that, but these guys really have their stuff down, with some nicely coordinated transitions and tricky little details that elevate the music beyond just riffs and chord progressions. Ashby’s full-length debut is a supremely polished example of modern progressive rock of the variety that doesn’t harken to nostalgic styles — and doesn’t sound like Porcupine Tree either.

Filed under: New releases, 2015 releases

Related artist(s): Ashby

More info

Latest news

Seaprog 2018 Artist Announcements Raise Festival's Profile – Seattle's Seaprog festival has been going since 2013, and the 2018 edition features a slate of artists that's sure to bring more attention to the event. Cheer-Accident, Bubblemath, and Free Salamander Exhibit are in the first round announcement of performers. In keeping with their tradition of focusing on regional artists, they will also present a number of artists from Washington, Oregon, and British Columbia. [Edit: Just added: Inner Ear Brigade] » Read more

Adelbert von Deyen RIP – Word reaches us that German electronic musician Adelbert von Deyen has died. His recorded legacy reaches back to 1978, when Sky Records released Sternzeit. Von Deyen, who was born October 25, 1953 in Süderbrarup, was also known as a painter and graphic artist. » Read more

Didier Lockwood RIP – Word reaches us today of the death of one of France's great jazz musicians, violinist Didier Lockwood. His playing bridged many worlds, from traditional jazz to fusion to progressive rock, and his talent can be heard on recordings by Magma, Clearlight, Pierre Moerlen's Gong, and many more. Lockwood was 62. » Read more

10 Years of Fruits de Mer - The Incomplete Angler – Those of you who are faithful followers of Exposé will know that we have been promoting Fruits de Mer and its side labels and releases from nearly its first year. Now music journalist and author Dave Thompson has written a book chronicling the past ten years as a celebration of this milestone. » Read more

Tom Rapp RIP – Singer / songwriter Tom Rapp, best known with the band Pearls Before Swine, passed away on February 12, at the age of 70, after a battle with cancer. » Read more

Previously in Exposé...

Steve Roach - Landmass & A Deeper Silence – Most of the Steve Roach releases we have reviewed in these pages are on the Projekt label. Timeroom Editions is his private label, offering additional releases from this prolific artist, available for...  (2009) » Read more

Listen & discover

Print issues