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In September 2022, two Swiss men, Roland Hegi and Felix Waldispühl, began gathering ideas for a prog rock track in Roland's recording studio. The two had previously worked together in an instrumental prog band called F.o.r.s. And that tasted like more. After Hegi re-produced some of Waldispühl's songs, the idea for a new project was born. The name of this new project is therefore synonymous with the two protagonists. The duo decides to keep everything in their own hands, for example, Hegi took care of the production of the music and designs the visual realization of the videos and the compositions. Just about all the songs can be found on YouTube and are entertaining enough to keep watching.

The two musicians draw their inspiration from different types of music, but are mostly influenced by dozens of bands and artists from prog rock and fusion history. This debut is completely instrumental except for some spoken fragments and background vocals. The spoken words suggest that this is a concept album, but nowhere do you find any information about that. The two musicians give each other plenty of room to excel, which manifests itself in various guitar and keyboard solos, and they complement each other seamlessly. 

 

The track "Out of Balance" kicked off the first Flame Drop album "Flow" and was the first composition the gentlemen picked up together. It is immediately the album's most proggy track, which fans of the neo-prog genre will undoubtedly be able to relate to. You can hear a lot of characteristic piano work by Waldispühl, and synthesizers/guitars by Hegi. Across the board, you can surmise that the gentlemen mainly took their inspiration from neo-prog, given the sound of the keys and the stylistic sound. In addition, there is a lot of piano work that makes you lick your fingers. This results in fascinating compositions, such as "Divided Ocean" enriched with a slight Japanese touch. At least, that is my interpretation, maybe you will discover something else in it. The music of the two gentlemen makes it possible to find different angles, making comparisons with a large number of bands possible.

And yet there is already a distinct sound to be discovered, especially since the instrumental aspect is widely varied. Where instrumental albums rather quickly fall into the same kind of compositions, Hegi and Waldispühl maintain an engaging variety. Hegi's guitar melodies, riffs, synth harmonies, bass grooves and rhythmic ideas merge with Felix's drum grooves and his spherical ideas and piano stirrings. These divide over such creations as "In Heaven", which is reminiscent of the work of bands like IQ and Arena, but in the relatively short "Splitting the Sunrise" there are, in turn, connections to guitar virtuosos. Short, because that song, along with "Divided Ocean", which lasts over five minutes, resides between tracks of over ten minutes. In total, you are treated to an hour of delightful music.

 

Are you a fan of melodic guitar and keyboard rock? Then this is an album that is going to garner a high rating, I am convinced. The band has not yet been discovered by a record label but that seems like a matter of time to me. Until then: order from the band itself.

A Swiss Rock-Progressive duo hum interesting but what comes to mind when you think of this European country let's start with the cities: GENEVA, ZURICH of course, but what about the Matterhorn, Interlaken, the old town of Berne, Lake Lucerne but also ROGER FEDERER, URSULA ANDRESS, CARL JUNG, HERMAN HESSE, now let's see what's in it for the music (Yello) this excellent 80's band but for the Swiss prog then? PATRICK MORAZ, CLEPSYDRA, MONKEY 3, the band's excellent but only album Island ''Pictures''. Too few, I'm afraid, so let me introduce you to the music of FLAME DROP and their album FLOW.

Completely instrumental, the style is a mixture of jazz fusion and prog-eclectic, and the very name of the band is synonymous with the two protagonists. Here, like many prog artists, we don't want to limit ourselves to one style, so there are no creative limits. So it was in September 2022 that our two musicians ROLAND HEGI and FELIX WALDISPUEHL met, the project emerging after a collaboration with the progressive band FORS.

The last piece on the album "Out of Balance" being the first collaboration between our two musicians, and from then on the album's development. As for FELIX's background, he was drummer in a PINK FLOYD cover band called "Crazy Diamond" for 10 years, while ROLAND has played in several bands including "The Paul Mancini group", his passion is progressive rock and he's an accomplished guitarist.

The album kicks off with the track "Whithout Brakes", and I warn you, it's a real blast. The rhythms are hellish, and the guitar twirls non-stop - you'd think you were listening to a new JEFF BECK track from his fusion period, The superimposition of guitar, keyboards and ethereal vocals in the middle of the composition is superb, and then it's off again with the addition of percussion, probably Djembé. Our two accomplices are excellent musicians, and what can I say about the recording? They are also the composers and producers of the tracks on the album.

"Ambient Emotions" is 15:00 minutes long, and may sound like one of those epic river tracks, but it's more like PINK FLOYD from the "Animals"-period, where M.Hegi's solos are of an almost crystalline beauty and purity. You'll have to count on him as a top guitarist during the end-of-year pools, not because of his speed but because of his fluidity: no redundancy, just superb keyboard sequences on which he lets his guitar weep with emotion. "Splitting the Sunrise" and "Divided Ocean" are two shorter tracks where the piano and guitar highlight superb, gentle melodies. "In Heaven" for some reason leaves me rather cold, there are interesting elements like the synth which I like, but the rockier guitar doesn't touch me so much. With "Out of Balance", we're back with a vengeance for the finale of this emotionally-charged album, with several variations embellishing the fluidity of the track where the double guitar superimposed leaves a fine impression, the rhythmic solidity, and FELIX on drums giving us a demonstration of his talent. A fine finale.

Our two virtuosos and, above all, versatile melodists complement each other perfectly, and we're already looking forward to the next opus. I'd love to see a female voice on their next album, because this one is a success in every respect. I never tire of hearing this guitar, so creative and precise, and above all, so touching.

A new name in the Swiss prog scene, but the personnel is not really new, because it can be reduced to a simple formula: Flame Drop = (F.O.R.S.)/2. That's because this is one half of the Swiss quartet F.O.R.S., who have made it to two albums so far, the debut of which has already been reviewed here. Some may also have met the band at the 2019 Night of the Prog Festival on the Loreley.

 

Now the duo Flame Drop, consisting of drummer Felix Waldispühl and guitarist/bassist Roland Hegi. If the symphonic prog fan is immediately startled and misses the keboards, the all-clear is immediately given. Not only do the two Swiss musicians share the keyboard duties, they also play an important role. What is actually missing, however, is any vocals. The album is completely instrumental. And despite the industrious use of keys, the guitar plays the main role. Hegi solos regularly and does a very good job. Echoes of Andy Latimer and David Gilmour can sometimes be heard, although not in the form of almost covered parts - but the influence can definitely be heard. Speaking of the cover: it was designed by Julia Hegi.

There are a total of six tunes on the album, four of which exceed the ten-minute mark. The brisk opener 'Without Brakes' gets off to a brisk start, with the guitar providing the melody, which is then doubled by the keyboards in places - this form of parallel runs can be found in several tracks. The following 'Ambient Emotions' lasts a quarter of an hour, making it the longest track on the album. Here, however, they don't immediately switch to the ambient area, but continue diligently with their guitar-key interplay, but about halfway through a short ambient-like part starts, until a soulful guitar complements the keyboard playing. They mostly stay in the mid-tempo range, so don't expect any particularly frantic or even weird parts here. And this applies not only to this song, but to the entire album. So anyone who enjoys melodic, purely instrumental symphonic prog should get their money's worth here.

In late 2022, Roland Hegi and Felix Waldispuehl, both multi-instrumentalists who had previously played together in an instrumental prog rock band called Fors, decided to pool their skills and talents in a new project centered around Roland’s recording studio in Zurich.

Flow is the duo’s debut album, an all-instrumental (save a very few spoken English words on “In Heaven”) project where Hegi plays guitars, bass, keyboards, and programming, as well as handling the production, recording, mixing, and mastering, and Waldispuehl plays drums, piano, djembe, keyboards, and trombone, with both members contributing to the compositions and arrangements.

Flame Drop’s sound pulls influences from across the progressive rock spectrum, though probably a bit more from the fusion side, though a cornucopia of ideas can be heard as each piece plays through; they have a propensity for epic length cuts that are constanly changing around and shifting gears — in fact the album only features six cuts and four of them easily break the ten-minute mark.

The twelve-minute opener “Without Brakes” sets the stage for all those that follow, a fast paced flash of groove-driven fusionesque power that makes a strong instant melodic statement within its first two minutes, then starts wandering through a complex whirlwind of proggy ideas that never really let up for the duration, with amazing solos on guitars, synths, and more, the busy drum figures all providing a powerful groove base.

Next up is the fifteen-minute “Ambient Emotions,” sporting a bit more rock power in its three-minute initial phase, followed by some searing guitar and synth melodies cutting through the night sky, perhaps just slightly reminiscent of Animals era Floyd, but as on the opener, everything changes up regularly enough to keep it interesting for the long haul.

At just a little over five minutes, “Divided Ocean” is one of the album’s two shorter cuts, driven by piano and drums with some seemingly gentle voices scaling up and down the background, with a beautiful guitar solo coming in midway through. “In Heaven” bears some superficial similarity to the early 80s work of Saga, maily in the crunchy guitar tones and synths that follow. The eleven-plus minute epic “Out of Balance” closes the album nicely with powerful gliding melodies atop driving punctuation and intense grooves, and like all of these epic length pieces the listener never knows what’s coming next.

Flame Drop’s debut has much to recommend for fans of instrumental prog and fusion alike.

I found this delightful little surprise whilst hunting high and low for some new discovery and it happen to be their videos that got me heading towards the actual acquisition, the band quickly sending me their CD as I was preparing to head off to Italy on vacation. This Swiss duo of multi-instrumentalists Roland Hegi and Felix Waldispuhl will undoubtedly make a name for itself as their craft is simply sensational.

Having spent my formative schooling years in Switzerland, I can attest that there are few more ‘cinematographic’ places on earth, where each nook, cranny, valley, and peak beckons a new visual delight. Zooming off like a turbo-charged racer, “Without Brakes” being quite aptly titled, the initial impression is one of sleek power, with vividly soaring guitars, glowing synths, and thundering drums, that eventually transfers into a more serene landscape, a contemplative high-altitude vista that requires no words, as if sitting on top of windswept Santis looking down into the lush Appenzell canton below. Roland Hegi is a master guitarist, combining technique and emotion in his clever playing, with Felix’s pooling piano rivulets in the background, as he also keeps a percussive handle on things. The pace picks up again with grinding power chords, mellotrons in the gale, as the syncopated muscular rhythms evoke a car ride through the metropolis. What is so cool is that the video (imbedded here) offers a different interpretation, a frantic technology that seems limitless in speed being at odds with nature’s implacable beauty and inspiration, as complexity finds its adversary in simplicity. The rat race on one end, through high velocity traffic and corridors of computers and blinking sequencers is quite the statement! The tortuous and extended synth solo is one for the ages. Brilliant video and even more exemplary is the music, as this is one fine opening move.

The ambitious “Ambient Emotions “is an even lengthier segue, where the duo really let their talent shine ever so brightly, as both Roland on electric guitar and Felix on the kit exert themselves to a delectable level of brooding musical inspiration, throwing in classic contrasts that keep the interest level close to the edge, the piano never far away from ever being forgotten. Again, the video impresses immensely, mysteriously voyaging the vaporous passageways of the unconscious mind in dreams and nightmares. There is little doubt that the great wealth of progressive music has served these men well, mostly obvious when the mood increases or decreases seemingly at will, symphonic adornments are placed when needed for maximum accelerations. When in Preparation, the UFO finally arrives, both the body and the arrangement are elevated to absurdly inventive levels, asking if this is real or imagined, and am I only just asleep? And then there is Ascencion, all the things we take for granted, the simple joys of everyday life. Roland unleashes another orgasmic guitar solo, bending notes like that Dave Floyd guy, that defies gravity as well as the odds! It just goes on and end like there is no tomorrow even needed.

The slithering guitar offers an illustration of harmonic beauty on the pristine “Splitting the Sunrise” as Roland hints at his apparent respect for Jeff Beck, all feeling and touch, and really just a soothing piano as companion. “Divided Ocean” is another shorter, even jazzier piece, as the light shines on the Felix’s ornate piano and respectful drums, while Roland lets the bass roll (sorry for the pun!) gently down the alpine road into the freshwater lake, all very upbeat, even when the electric guitar comes on like a gentle series of waves, illuminating the horizon. The piano work here is a major attraction and should draw the greatest praise.

Two more epics to finish off Flow, first we arrive “In Heaven” (literally), begins with childlike innocence being suddenly (and it will be sudden) exploding into a cataclysmic explosion, with heavy tectonic drums, irritable guitar surges and malevolent synths forays ooze into the nightmarish apocalypse like venom in an intravenous as well as the passage into a stairway to hell, where the candles are lit in attempted atonement. Judgement day arrives for us all, consciously unaware perhaps, as the insidious serpents swirl in naked contempt, the vile synthesizer solo screeches its vigorous refrain, the thrashing guitars expect the pain to last for ever and the drums destroy the last remnants of defiance. The video is extravagantly compelling, a magnificent visual to an incredible soundtrack. And some priest named Pete, waits ….

And finally, we arrive at “Out of Balance”, a gripping, audacious and heart wrenching track aimed at describing the sheer lunacy of the war between Ukraine and Russia, a modern-day Abel vs Cain, Romulus vs Remus, once brothers, now enemies. Being an amateur historian specializing in Central and Eastern European history and having seen the horror in the former Yugoslavia from close range, I can only say that it is impossible to fathom why humans follow stupid madmen into carnage. I have written thousand of pages, which upon rereading I just tossed aside as it made no rational sense. The video here is essential as the black and white photos of the suffering women and children is all one needs to cry. No pictures of weapons of war and the young men dying but all the destroyed families who will be without fathers. The intense music is laced with tragedy, despair, and courage. It’s a reality that many have already forgotten! Roland and Felix have crafted quite the eulogy.

Top 10 album for 2023, hands and feet both down! What a ride! The music is utterly expressive, vibrant, and meaningful. No vocals required; the listener can choose his own. I urge all readers to visualize the videos and go to https://flamedrop.bandcamp.com/album/flow for the album. You will not regret it ever. In fact, I accept the expected thanks .

A duo of Swiss musicians brings us this year an excellent instrumental album. On October 14, the album "Flow" was released, a work that brings 6 intense and lyrical themes of progressive rock. The protagonism is assumed by the guitarist, with his huge playing in the manner of a ¨guitar-hero¨, occupying almost all the spaces of the album. The music is very enjoyable and can be highly recommended as a beautiful album out of 2023.

Swiss progressive bands are few and far between, so the discovery of Flame Drop is a great pleasure. And since this pleasure is validated and amplified by the quality of what we hear on their debut album "Flow", we should get to know this duo of musicians as soon as possible. Roland Hegi (guitar, bass, keyboards/synthesizers) and Felix Waldispuehl (drums, piano) began working together in the band Fors, who released a single album in 2020 (called "Before", which remained more than a secret album), before embarking on this new project a year ago. Twelve months later, here's the fruit of this new collaboration, clearly in the neo-progressive genre. "Flow" is entirely instrumental, ambitious and continually inspired. Built around an ethereal, twirling guitar and a few divine keyboard solos, this first album is a real gem of modern progressive, with multiple sections, each more pleasant than the last. The fluidity of the themes, the groove of the rhythm section, the solos of all kinds and some of the more atmospheric parts are truly spellbinding, and make Flame Drop a first-rate band! If you're looking for a few references, you could mention Pink Floyd, Camel, Marillion, Saga, Riverside and Collage, but all that's secondary in the final analysis, as Flame Drop take it all in their stride and make it their own.

Swiss band Flame Drop are out with the album "Flow", and progressive rock is the style explored on this production. In this case we have a band that has a go at the neo-progressive rock tradition, and they have chosen to go about it in instrumental mode too.

The main modus operandi of the band is to craft long compositions with multiple sections, a feature that should tick some boxes among quite a few progressive rock fans unless I'm much mistaken.

Those fond of atmospheric laden landscapes with flowing and floating guitar solo runs as well as liberal amounts of guitar solo runs with more of a crying guitar feature should find a lot to enjoy here, with the keyboards chiming in with shorter expressive moments and as a supplier of elegant textures.

We do get some more energetic guitar riff and keyboard moments too, as well as the more careful plucked guitar combined with careful keyboards or wandering piano combinations.

And on a couple of occasions I rather suspect that we get a few nods in the direction of good, old Genesis too.

An album to seek out of a more atmospheric laden variety of instrumental neo-progressive rock is a subject of specific interest.

Immerse yourself in the creative world of Flame Drop! With 'Flow', Roland Hegi and Felix Waldispuehl present a masterful progressive rock album. Their fusion of guitar melodies, synthesizer harmonies and gripping drum grooves creates a sonic fireworks display that pushes the boundaries of the genre. Flame Drop's new album "Flow" is an impressive milestone in the field of progressive rock.

 

With a rich musical history in the background, Roland Hegi and Felix Waldispuehl create a fascinating soundscape that puts the listener into a hypnotic trance.

The album starts powerfully with "Without Brakes", an epic 11-minute opus that sets the tone for the entire work with its complex rhythms and virtuosic guitar melodies. "Ambient Emotions" stretches over 15 minutes and takes the listener into a world of emotional piano playing and atmospheric synthesizer sounds. The shorter pieces like "Splitting The Sunrise" and "Divided Ocean" offer a welcome change, while "In Heaven", with its almost 13 minutes playing time, represents an epic journey through different musical phases.

The starting signal for the album, "Out of Balance", remains a highlight at 11 minutes, which sums up the creative partnership between Hegi and Waldispuehl.

 

The instrumental nature of the album allows the musicians to fully utilize their abilities. Hegi's guitar playing is both powerful and soulful, while Waldispuehl's drum work and piano melodies show impressive versatility.

 

The seamless fusion of different instruments and styles demonstrates their deep understanding of the prog rock tradition. Flame Drop's "Flow" is a musical journey that captivates the listener with its complexity and emotionality. It's an album that reveals new nuances with every listen while celebrating the spirit of progressive rock music.

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