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Fred Frith: Mapping the Further Reaches

By Published: May 3, 2010
AAJ: Do you feel as engaged as you have at any other arbitrary point in your career with the mechanics of making music? As someone who it seems has consciously concerned himself specifically with the vocabulary of the guitar, to what extent is this still the case, if indeed it ever has been?

FF: I'm fascinated with acoustic guitar right now, after making To Sail To Sail (Tzadik, 2008). I feel as if I have a lot of work to do to understand it, to get to grips with the possibilities. But in the end the mechanics is always less interesting than what is being expressed.

AAJ: Would you say that modernism is still a sustainable proposition in the sense that music can perpetually be seen to be moving forward, as opposed to being merely a rehash of what's gone before?

FF: I resist binary comparisons whenever possible. We accumulate and accumulate—post-modernism didn't replace modernism, it coexists with it, presents another angle of attack. If you're alive and aware you need to be engaged with both and with everything else as well.

Selected Discography

Cosa Brava, Ragged Atlas (Intakt, 2010)

Fred Frith, Nowhere / Sideshow / Thin Air (Fred/ReR, 2009)

Fred Frith/Arte Quartett, The Big Picture (Intakt, 2009)

Fred Frith/Arte Quartett, Still Urban (Intakt, 2009)

Henry Cow, The 40th Anniversary Henry Cow Box Set (ReR Megacorp, 2009)

Fred Frith, The Happy End Problem (Fred/ReR, 2008)

Fred Frith, To Sail To Sail (Tzadik, 2008)

Fred Frith, Eleventh Hour (Winter and Winter, 2005)

Fred Frith, Clearing (Tzadik, 2001)

Fred Frith/Ensemble Modern, Traffic Continues (Winter and Winter, 2000)

Fred Frith Guitar Quartet, Ayaya Moses (Ambiances Magnétiques, 1997)

Massacre, Killing Time (Celluloid Records, 1981)

Fred Frith, Gravity (Ralph Records, 1980)

Henry Cow, Western Culture (Broadcast, 1979)

Art Bears, Hopes and Fears (Recommended Records, 1978)

Fred Frith, Guitar Solos (Caroline Records, 1974)

Henry Cow, Unrest (Virgin Records, 1974)

Photo credits

Page 1: Heike Liss, courtesy of Fred Frith

Pages 2, 3: Martin Morisette

Page 4: Frank Rubolino

Featured Story: Nick de Pencier

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