Champaign, Illinois’ Lanterna are pleased to announce the release of their seventh album, Hidden Drives, available June 4th on Badman Recording Co. The new album is guitarist Henry Frayne’s latest offering as Lanterna, a mostly instrumental side project, begun some thirty years ago. Since the ’80s, Frayne has played in Champaign bands such as Lodestone Destiny, The Syndicate, ¡Ack-Ack!, Area, and The Moon Seven Times. The past experiences in these bands influenced every song on the forthcoming Hidden Drives as it had with most previous Lanterna albums.
In the last thirty years Frayne has maintained a notebook and series of cassette tapes filled with song ideas. And after thirty years and six Lanterna albums, the songs that constitute Hidden Drives are ideas that might have needed a bit more time, give or take a decade, to come together.
In May of 1991 in an Urbana, Illinois living room studio Frayne met with The Moon Seven Times’ Brendan Gamble to record drums for what would become Lanterna’s self-titled first album. At first a cassette release, then an LP released in Greece, then a CD, then a reissue on CD, the ’90s saw the same Lanterna album released again and again. When Lanterna came to the attention of Badman Recording Co.’s Dylan Magierek in 2000, the new decade saw four new Lanterna albums before it was half over. After a brief respite, Badman released Backyards in 2015, with a vinyl edition licensed through Bruce Licher’s Independent Project Records. For Hidden Drives, Badman will issue the album on vinyl as well as CD, and digital download.
Twenty years ago when Lanterna began working with Badman, Frayne enlisted the help of producer/engineer/guitarist Mike Brosco at Waterworks Audio in Champaign, as well as Chicagoan Eric Gebow (Blue Man Group, Mouth Captain) who would drum on Lanterna’s Highways, Desert Ocean, and tour the US, and Greece. In 2018 with some of the songs on Hidden Drives already fleshed out with guitar, synthesizer, and bass, Eric Gebow traveled down from Chicago to Waterworks to lay down drums for half of the album’s 10 songs.
As with 2015’s Backyards, much of Hidden Drives was pondered and formulated by Frayne while “commuting” between Illinois, and Maine, or between the coastal regions and the interior of Maine. One particular winding stretch of backroad in Knox County, Maine called “Buttermilk Lane” sports an inordinate number of twists and turns, and hidden driveways, with signs warning of “HIDDEN DRIVES.” It only took a few summers of driving and pondering the songs that make up Hidden Drives to realize that a perfect album title was flashing by around every turn.
Today Glide is excited to premiere the video for “Chagrin Boulevard,” one of the standout tracks on the new album. The acoustic guitar driven “Chagrin Boulevard” existed as a fragment at the end of a cassette tape for many years, with Frayne relying on his memory for the rest of the song, because in those days, he says, “Surely I’d remember how the rest of it goes.” The resulting song is atmospheric and dreamy. Complemented by sepia-toned footage of the old American West, the song carries a sense of nostalgia as Frayne strums along peacefully. The drone footage also adds to the mood of the song, conveying a sense that you are floating over some long gone landscape and this is your soundtrack. As with much of Frayne’s music, this is a song about building sonic layers to ultimately create a mood, and he does that wonderfully with this track.
Frayne describes the process and inspiration behind the song and video:
Watching Ben Geier’s video for “Chagrin Boulevard” I feel like producer Mike Brosco and I had no idea just how many more layers the song could acquire when partnered with Ben’s floating camera. In my mind I didn’t imagine that one could float so high, or that trains could be so long!
Generally I have a series of images that play in my mind as a song comes together in the studio. Since my songs are mostly instrumental, a starting point for listeners is the title. Chagrin Boulevard is an exit off of the highway that I travel a couple of times a year on my way to Maine. On most of these trips I’m listening to mixes of Lanterna songs in progress and this song just became “Chagrin Boulevard.”
Hidden Drives was recorded at Mike Brosco’s Waterworks Audio on and off over the last few years. Recording with Mike I can just concentrate on playing my guitar parts leaving the sonic spaces to him.
Photo by Theo Merritt