|Lanterna's music wanders the front line of a style known as Ambient Americana. As Lanterna, Henry Frayne connects his achievements in post-punk and shoegazer "dream pop" with moods drawn from spaghetti westerns and ambient isolationists. Frayne's guitar work has been cited as being more expressive than some songs with lyrics. His albums of primarily guitar-based instrumentals move between the soothing, the unsettling and the fiery. Thought of as "instrumentals that speak", Lanterna provides an entire landscape of sound, created with just a guitar.|
|Often, Frayne is exploring the possibilities of playing his instrument through the endless delay of digital processors. His rich and detailed performances bounce around your interior, co-mingling with your thoughts. Elsewhere, his albums rock out, energized with the confidence of a solid rhythm section, but still chilled. In Lanterna's highly personal music we encounter a sense of motion - traveling to a place somewhere between the nobility of quests into no-man's land, the tranquility of cerebral ambient spaces - and always well beyond pop's prevailing commercial sensibilities.|
Highways, released in 2004, beckons to the presence of the night and is an evocative portrayal of the dark hours' solemn and unfrequented regions.
Review: Highways by Lanterna
Lanterna is at the leading edge of a style called Ambient Americana. It's a sound passed down through Brian Eno's "Apollo," Bruce Kaphan's "Slider" and Moodswings' "Horizontal." Led by guitarist Henry Frayne, Lanterna has just enough twang and tremolo to give their music a big sky country feel. But it's a country tinged by atmosphere, bathed in reverb and refracting crimson dusks through echo delays. Frayne first came to our attention with the Midwest-based ethereal rock band Area. He's released several albums with Lanterna and Highways is the latest stop along the road. The album swings from floating ambient guitarscapes like "Clear Blue" with its layered spiderweb of delayed guitars, to more energized, but still chilled, groove works like "Brightness." Lanterna recalls the days of great guitar and surf bands like The Ventures, the Chantays and Dick Dale, but brought into a more contemporary and ambient world that has more to do with hypnotic moods than hemi-charged grooves. Lanterna is a breath of fresh ambient air, blown in from the Midwestern plains. And the perfect ECHOES CD of the month to bring in Spring.
©2004 John Diliberto/ECHOES
In addition to Highways, Lanterna has three earlier releases; realized after several albums with well-known indie bands Area and The Moon Seven Times. These efforts were well received and aptly dubbed, "new age music for the new generation". Early on, Frayne's diverse guitar work was noted as being thoroughly hypnotic and calming. But these initial references to Ambient Music failed to consider the sonic complexity of Lanterna's diverse compositions. Throughout this work, texture is varied by incorporating the perfect amount of acoustic and electric guitar, percussion and programming into the mix - thus making it nearly impossible to focus attention elsewhere.
The track "West Side Highway" from Sands was chosen by the producer of NPR's "All Things Considered" to be featured on their 2001 17 track "All Songs Considered" CD compilation. A section from "B Minor" off of Elm Street made it to the trailer for the film "Catch Me If You Can". Additionally, Frayne appears with French artist/producer Hector Zazou on one of Zazou's international productions and has recently reprised his performance for the ongoing "Living Room Concerts" series for the nationally syndicated radio show ECHOES.
Lanterna's Philadelphia concert debut took place on 16 October 2004 at The Gatherings Concert Series. Following this performance, Lanterna played a live in-studio radio concert on the 10.17.04 broadcast of STAR'S END.