Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Genres: Alternative Rock, Jazz, Special Interest, New Age, Pop, Rock
Clearing is guitarist-composer-improviser Fred Frith's first solo guitar recording in over 20 years, and it's a dazzling disc. While its 11 pieces vary considerably, they hang together beautifully. Frith fully exploits the... more »
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Clearing is guitarist-composer-improviser Fred Frith's first solo guitar recording in over 20 years, and it's a dazzling disc. While its 11 pieces vary considerably, they hang together beautifully. Frith fully exploits the traditional qualities of his instrument but he also expands its sonic reach. Case in point: the lovely "White" recalls the playing of Nick Drake and John McLaughlin, but "Chains" could be the work of a Hollywood sound-effects artist with a particularly sharp ear. The percussive string-tapping on "Minimalism" creates a shower of dancing tones that reverberate with each other and bathe the listener in a wash of all-encompassing sound. Asian music is clearly an influence, both directly and by way of psychedelia, on a number of tracks. Clearing is a thoroughly pleasurable experimental album that will compel listeners to return to it again and again. --Fred Cisterna
Wondrous imagination from guitar innovator.
Lord Chimp | Monkey World | 08/02/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Fred Frith has done just about a million things in the music world, although he remains known primarily as a prime experimental guitarist. He released the groundbreaking _Guitar Solos_ back in 1974, and _Clearing_ is the first release since then that presents to us Frith unaccompanied in the spotlight.
As is to be expected, _Clearing_ is outstanding. Like the classic _Guitar Solos_, _Clearing_ explores the tonal boundaries of the guitar and draws sounds from the guitar both ugly and beautiful -- lots of sounds one might not attribute to the guitar were it not for the obvious fact that _Clearing_ is a solo guitar album. "Chains" indeed sounds like numerous chains of various sizes being dragged across a stone floor.
Although the sound is unfamiliar, Frith never fails to merge the avant-garde mind with sublime craftsmanship. He always uses the peculiar sounds of instrument to create imaginative, mesmerizing compositions. At its simplest, there is "Minimalism" -- a repetitive piece of layered, super-fast prestissimos with a truly foreboding, tense atmosphere that true black metal bands should take note. The edgy, Eastern sounding "Theatre" is the longest piece on the album, and it intuitively flows through evocative motifs comprised of complex arrays of interlocking guitar patterns, with a middle section that sounds like industrial dance music gone completely insane and "broken" (all on guitar, mind you). "This Earth Is a Flower" has a title that makes you think it will be a pretty song, but it opens with sharp, rasping noise accompanied by low machine-like grumbling that makes you think of having an acid trip in steel factory. Not pretty, but good. This song follows "Road Movie", which is downright funky in a Frithian way.
It's quite strange, but the opening piece, "White", Frith uses an unembellished guitar, and he crafts a bittersweet, somber atmosphere with unusual chord structures and erratic harmonics. Then there is "Not With Love But With Fear", my favorite piece on the album. It is a complex mix of bizarre melodies forcefully plucked over a backdrop of agitated, squealing arpeggios smeared with feedback. And it ends with some mellow Frith that makes me think of the beach. Also evocative is the appropriately named "Open Ocean", a surreal synaesthesia that uses atonal guitar sonics to evoke a vivid ocean scene. Even though lack tonal centeredness and consisting largely of scratching sounds and alien-bird-like sounds, it is somehow very beautiful, especially on the hair-raising, sporadic showers of acoustic guitar chords.
This is a must for Frith fans, but also worthwhile for fans of avant-garde guitar playing and those seeking a good introduction to Frith's massive catalogue of music.
Fred's a genius
mike bartolomeo | cockeysville, md | 11/15/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"There is so much atmosphere to be found here, it could fill the space for every planet in the solar system. Frith's guitar sometimes slices, sometimes twangs, but is consistantly incredibly beautiful. I think this is his best album in recent years; his vast soundscapes (created only by his guitar!) will draw you in...please listen."