Sunday, February 4, 2007

Fred Frith- Accidental (music for dance ,vol.3), CD, 2002

Fred Frith (born February 17, 1949) is an English multi-instrumentalist, composer and improvisor. Best known as one of the founding members of the English avant-garde rock group Henry Cow, Frith was also a member of Art Bears, Massacre and Skeleton Crew. He has collaborated with a number of prominent musicians, including Robert Wyatt, Brian Eno, Lars Hollmer, The Residents, Lol Coxhill, John Zorn, Bill Laswell, Derek Bailey, Iva Bittová and Bob Ostertag. He has also composed several long works, including Traffic Continues (1996, performed 1998 by Frith and Ensemble Modern) and Freedom in Fragments (1993, performed 1999 by Rova Saxophone Quartet).
Frith is the subject of Nicolas Humbert and Werner Penzel's award-winning 1990 documentary film Step Across the Border. He has contributed to a number of music publications, including New Musical Express and Trouser Press, and has conducted improvising workshops across the world. Frith's career spans over three decades and he appears on over 400 albums. He still performs actively throughout the world. [1]
Currently Frith is Professor of Composition in the Music Department at Mills College in Oakland, California. He lives in the United States with his wife, German photographer Heike Liss and their children, Finn and Lucia.
Frith is the brother of Simon Frith, a well-known music critic and sociologist, and Chris Frith, a psychologist working at University College London.
A review
Fred Frith has been heard in all possible contexts, from solo improviser to composer of orchestral music, but he remains at his best when trapped in a studio, alone or with a few musicians, building layered pieces. This process previously yielded stunning albums such as the delicate Middle of the Moment or the avant rocking Speechless. Accidental features Frith performing all instruments and voices, mostly guitars, violin, junk percussion, and random radio tuning. This music was commissioned by the British choreographer Paul Selwyn Norton for a dance piece made with the Batsheva Company in Tel Aviv (Israel). It was recorded in 1995-1996 and released on CD only in March 2002. Frith blends chord progressions arching back to his Henry Cow days with modern electronic manipulations and his accumulated experience as a composer. Each of the 11 short pieces establishes a stark atmosphere, culminating in the title track, which features an inspired violin solo over non-sequential organ chords. "Absinthe Memories (For Phil Minton)" holds quite a surprise: Frith actually parodies his longtime experimental vocalizing friend. "The Tangled Bank" and "Their Blood Is Black and Yellow" contain harsh guitar strumming, the latter sounding close to the Fred Frith Guitar Quartet's music. Accidental may not be as ambitious, challenging, or cutting-edge as the man's other output from the 1990s, but it sure sounds sweet to fans of his avant rock work from the previous two decades. Recommended.
~ François Couture, All Music Guide