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Dearness

Artist: Fred Frith
Fred Frith - Dearness CD
Label: Spool
Regular Price: $16.95
On Sale For: $6.78 
Year: 1998
Format: CD

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...While Frith taps and scrapes his strings and Oswald swerves between textures, Bourne sings, sighs and bows to incite an initial calm. Frith responds with spectral slide work and Oswald with otherworldly cries and whispers. For the remainder, it is Bourne, with gambits ranging from an agitated arco motif to plaintive vocalisations, who triggers transitions in this sprawling soundscape.

Still, Frith and Oswald merit equal credit for moving the music along with carefully accumulated and overlaid details. Both occasionally relegate themselves to the background, letting a timbre serve as a momentary template. When they step to the foreground, it is done cleanly, with a clear bead on the open space they seek to fill, if only partially. To her credit, Bourne doesn't flinch when Frith and/or Oswald unleash their furries, but also dives into the breach. All three musicians come across as keen to blend with each other throughout the performance, even at its rawest, noisiest moments. Subsequently, the main event is as well rounded as its structure is elusive.
-- Bill Shoemaker, The Wire

This 1998 live recording is a successful combination of artists: guitarist Fred Frith with cellist Anne Bourne and sax squawker John Oswald. The main set is about 40 minutes long and impresses throughout. Frith's emphasis on vibrato and delay seems to dictate the kinds of ideas the three of them come up with, and all three are in great form, able to invent shifting rhythmic ideas and melodic statements to match the implied rhythms of the effects. Oswald shows nice range in his sax playing, sounding plaintive, dirty and angry. Bourne's cello playing is equal parts full-bore sawing and more delicate passages, where she and Frith duet with Oswald's punctuations. All three mimic each other's ideas with wordless vocalising, and they each display strong improvising skills. This concert would have been a great show, and this recording has miles of headroom.
-- David Dacks, Exclaim

...It's another example of Frith with some fine musicians creating something greater than their individual selves...What the sound dictates on [this release] is odd and enigmatic, an internal logic not easily dissected but rewarding to absorb.
-- Kurt Gottschalk, Signal to Noise

ARTISTS
Fred Frith (guitar, voice); Anne Bourne (cello, voice); John Oswald (alto sax, voice)
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