Review: Joe Frawley – Carnival

One thought will cascade into the next. Carnival is constantly moving between states; overlapping between shrieks of fireworks and gentle and introspective piano movements, studded with choral pads, phantom synthesiser and rather deliberate and over-acted fragments of conversation and monologue. Just as our minds leap back and forth through our own recollective chronology during periods of reflection – threading together thoughts spanning across recent days through to early childhood via tenuous thematic links – Carnival takes every gateway presented to it, leaving the “now” to exist as a state of transition and constant interconnection. Certain ideas are repeatedly brought back to the surface again and again; particularly prominent is a spoken passage through which a girl recounts her meeting with a psychic at a carnival.

The density of Frawley’s pieces is admirable. He juxtaposes periods of fluid movement with abrupt cuts into new territory, forever introducing new sounds and states, piling electronics onto reverberant voices and gentle breaths of flute. However, this ceaseless motion means that the album floods right through the listener as a fleeting period of bewilderment, rather than having any long-term impact. The only feeling that sticks (in the case of this reviewer at least) is a distaste for those glossy, unconvincing clips of people talking about their memories and experiences, but Carnival is otherwise enjoyable while it lasts, even if its imprint evaporates the moment it comes to a close.