If you have ever heard the facts about our universe that there are over 1 billion galaxies other than our own, and there are more stars in the sky than grains of sand on every shore, then you know these truths about our universe make the interstellar space above us seem infinite and hard to envision.
Fred Thrane from Sandpoint Idaho has incorporated those fact based linear notes on the inside CD cover of his debut album Angels of the Sun, but in a related topic much closer to home and easier to picture is the like a grain of sand approach in which he composed and launched his first instrumental album. Presenting his exclusive talents on CD for his first official introduction, Angels of the Sun yields an expansive diversity in what you would expect to hear on a debut album, so it is a release that can be appreciated by a variety of people.
Angels of the Sun features diverse styles ranging from New Age, Flamenco and Contemporary, which likewise ascertain his aptitude as an accomplished guitarist of various styles. Relying on his strong background as both a student and music educator, I thought Fred Thrane has released a wonderful first album. Everything began when he picked up the guitar for the first time during his teen years studying Classical and Flamenco guitar.
The next phase of his education was Classical Guitar instruction during college years at UC Santa Barbra. Fred later transferred to Cal State Hayward, where he majored in guitar and earned a master’s degree in music, with a specialty in Classical Guitar. For the next 5 years he took lessons from distinguished guitarist Rey de la Torre. Fred Thrane then reached a turning point when he began his teaching career as Professor of Music at San Jose State University and Foothill College while educating students in Classical Guitar. It was during this time period he had composed some of the melodies for this release.
Angels of the Sun features 9 engaging songs, and brings with it the foresight and experience of a music professional that has devoted much of his life acquiring the skills needed to produce an album which is singular in its existence yet further reaching in its appeal among many.
Dennis Murphy and Jim Norris are two performers who provide accompaniment on this release. While Denis plays bass and Jim contributes the variety of percussion parts, both complement the nucleus of Fred’s composition by magnifying his melodic theme, and then adding a good measure of vibrant harmony of their own.
The more extravagant Flamenco styled songs Big Sur, Fandango in Four, Farruca & Moraga Raga were my favorites. Like most songs on this instrumental album, you will find they are quite lively and up-tempo with great percussion enhancements which are in harmony with the energetic atmosphere one would expect to hear on Flamenco music. The Title Song, Dawn Dancer & The Third Heaven are more serene in tempo and rhythm, but they too are engaging and consistent in theme.
Finding a forte in blending New Age, Flamenco and Classical styles into a single orchestration, Fred Thrane is a music professional who shines on his first release by his diverse experience as a guitarist. More than capable of arranging a select number of music influences into a single improvisation of wonder, I can see where Angels of the Sun will please a wide variety of musical tastes. In the end, this makes his first release seem more like a universal commodity.
Hubble Telescope cover image courtesy NASA, B.D. Moore and J.J. Hester.