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Fred Frith - Gravity CD (album) cover


Fred Frith



4.02 | 59 ratings

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Easy Money
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars This is one of Frith's more accessible records, but it is hardly commercial. These are, for the most part, fairly short songs that mix traditional Persian and East European instrumental dance music with progressive rock, lounge exotica and Frith's unique brand of avant-garde improvisation. The progressive rock sections bear some resemblance to artists like Zappa, Fripp and Snakefinger. Frith and his band mates play a lot of acoustic stringed instruments such as violin, mandolin and acoustic guitar, but Frith also adds a lot of heavily sustained electric guitar melodies in the classic progressive rock tradition of Hackett, Manzanera and once again, Fripp.

Some songs on this album are worth special mention. Norrgarden Nyvla starts with a short quirky intro and then lays into a nice Indo- Persian groove. Frith plays a violin solo that might remind some of David Cross on The Talking Drum. After that lengthy section the whole song breaks down into an odd but catchy triple-tracked guitar melody that wouldn't sound too out of place on an early 70's Zappa record.

The track What a Dilemma is a driving avant hard rock song that is similar to Frith's noisy Massacre band, or some of King Crimson's more harsh tunes. A Career in Real Estate is a trip around the world musically that doesn't sound contrived or pretentious. Despite numerous style and meter changes the whole song hangs together thanks to Frith's ability to create coherent melodies that tie the different sections together. The only song that doesn't meet the standards of the rest of the album is his cover of Dancing in the Streets. The version by Martha Reeves will never be topped, the cover by Black Oak Arkansas isn't bad either, but this version is boring and tedious and contains none of the original's magic.

Fred Frith is one of the best composers to come out of the world of rock music. His ability to write interesting melodies with constantly shifting time signatures is unparalleled in this genre. If you want to check out his music, this album is a good place to start.

Easy Money | 4/5 |


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