A dream is a complex and well-oiled machine that contains all possible, generally unconscious experiences, desires, expectations and traumas of the subject. If the latter seem to be quite certain and understandable while still awake, then after falling asleep they will be broken into a vague blur which a dream brings together again, but more compactly than before, differently. Freud would say that the condensation and displacement take place. The first one, condensation, means that the dream always contains much more than we could expect from a retelling of the dream; the second one, displacement, suggests, however, that the dream is only indirectly related to what is seen.
Dream pop and Pia Fraus, being one of the representatives of dream pop, draw attention to something else that does not fit well into the dream descriptions of psychoanalysts. In particular, while listening to Pia Fraus’s new full-length album ‘Field Ceremony’ (2017), it comes out that the dreams produced there have a logical, controlled, and professional structure. Pia Fraus’s dream is sterile and easy to understand (or to listen), not requiring direct analysis (cf. Swans’ industrial and gloomy, also dreamy noise). Nor is it far from the statement that Pia Fraus can be regarded as commercialized, albeit not so much by sales figures, but by an idea behind it, as it claims to be up-to-date and spiritual characteristic of the consumer culture, which at first glance is manifested in endless presence of harmless well-being. The latter is amplified by the muffled vocals, nostalgia, and present sounds characteristic to dream pop and shoegaze. These features are not criticized, not being put under hesitation nor being radically developed further. Rather they are brought out again and again, skillfully repeated, while avoiding any intrusiveness or narcissism. Instead of crossing the boundaries, it is self-consciously and precisely emphasized what is within the boundaries of the genre.
It may seem that Pia Fraus has no ambition to do anything with the listener, rather it is declared that something is done with the listener’s space. There is not much dialogue with the listener but more of a talking across at each other. The latter also guarantees the prominent atmospheric feel, omnipresence and impersonality characteristic to the dream pop. Pia Fraus does not condensate actual experiences, expectations, desires, and traumas into a complicated and uncanny dream, but unravels them and the related impulses, arguing that there’s really nothing to analyze, nothing to talk about. Pia Fraus does not reduce excess space, does not condensate, but creates more such space. Visually, this can be read out of the wide field and (electric) wind turbines on the cover design of the ‘Field Ceremony’. Some sketchy and dreamlike images of rotors have somehow risen in the air, adding up the distant horizontal space with the vertical and truly atmospheric heights.
Just as Pia Fraus is not condensed, it’s not displaced. It just floats and does not point to anything else, to any outsideness, which is located beyond the horizon. Pia Fraus’s dream is characterized by static, because it does not cover anything other than itself, and it does not surprise with the following steps. Pia Fraus claims that there are no secrets hidden under its dense sound layers. The listener’s beliefs or mood are not displaced but kept stationary. Although all of this can mesmerize and even paralyze the listener, it’s not gonna make them anxious. This is not a multi-layered and disturbing dream soon to be awakened from, but still a linear and even passive dreaming, nobody thinks of awakening from.
The meaning of a dream may be hidden, but dreaming is, as a rule, specific and fixed for the dreamer. It’s always dreaming of something. However, in the case of Pia Fraus, it is not clear what is the object of dreaming. One can only point out that, in spite of openness and enhanced atmosphere, however, they are not moving to any utopian environment or the time period, but cling to the present. Pia Fraus designates the utopia that has arrived, and as a contrast, it’s not possible to find any utopia that would be somewhat equal to the present. Therefore, Pia Fraus is more of a state than a process.