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Bill Frisell - Music IS CD (album) cover


Bill Frisell


Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.21 | 5 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars American jazz guitarist Bill Frisell (b. 1951) has an enormous discography since 1983, but I haven't listened to any of his albums before now, I think. This recent release features Frisell alone with his electric, acoustic and bass guitars (plus some loops, ukulele and music boxes). Even though he's not on ECM label anymore, one can sense or guess from this music that he has been, co-working with musicians such as Jan Garbarek. "Music IS" offers rather calm, intimate, introspective and spacey ambient-related music with a friendly amount of aural experimentation. Bare soul-searching might be a suitable expression. The sound is often layered, but never feeling too fully packed, or being sonic experimentation just for the sake of experimentation. In other words, there is "heart and soul" in this music. It completely depends on the listener if it leaves him/her mostly cold and detached, or if it will resonate with the listener's own emotions.

The 16 pieces vary from one to 6½ minutes. Having quite a lot to do with Ambient, this music could be playing on the background while working in an office or something like that. One might also enjoy it with full concentration, lying down eyes closed and letting the music caress the mind. But be aware of some rough edges too; after six peaceful tracks that flow harmonically, the shortest piece 'Think About It' has a heavily amplified, extremely dry and gritty electric guitar sound. Particularly 'In Line', and why not some other tracks as well, reminds me of ROBERT FRIPP and his Frippertronics. Other reference could be DANIEL LANOIS at his most experimental. The spaceyness!

Frisell has embraced many styles in his career, and to some minor degree that versatility can be sensed here. For example, some acoustic pieces such as 'The Pioneers' have rather earthy mood, a touch of Americana so to speak, while some others have a dreamier and hazier atmosphere. My initial reception is pretty positive, but on the long run this album would hardly become notably dearer to me, even if I had it on my own shelves (I borrowed the cd from library). Perhaps it lacks definitive highlights and sounds a bit too introspective and narrow in its one-man approach. Like he was playing primarily for himself, not the audience. Some tunes are re-workings of Frisell's older compositions, says All Music Guide. Lukewarm three stars.

Matti | 3/5 |


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