218

Fred Frith: Clearing Customs

Nic Jones By

Sign in to view read count
Fred Frith: Clearing Customs Over the decades of his solo career, Fred Frith's music has grown more reflective of the range of his musical interests. As well as being an improviser of significance he has also shown an interest in a diversity of folk musics, with initial signs showing up already, in his work of the late 1970s.

Clearing Customs might, in a sense, be a culmination of the process started back then. An unusual instrumentation enhances the singularity of the single hour-long title piece, and the deployment is something else. The eruption of sound at the 3:24 mark has the effect of disrupting the previously tranquil mood, but the discontinuity this implies is no issue in light of the overarching concept. The trio of guzheng, uncredited female vocalist (or electronics), and guitar is, by contrast, a sober but somehow uneasy affair, which could be the consequence of a balance precariously struck.

It could be argued that Tillman Muller's trumpet plays a role similar to Miles Davis' in the early-to-mid-1970s, but the comparison takes something away from the singularity of this music, especially as it's shot through with a very different strain of poise to that shown by Davis' groups at that time. During the lengthy passages when Tillman is silent, there's a kind of tranquility about the proceedings which, given Frith's way, prove only to be a kind of punctuation point. The stagnation which occurs at around the 13:30 mark has an ambient air about it, although the rhythmic repetition is offset by Frith's guitar and, eventually, Tillman's trumpet. Operating outside of the tempered realm, the electronics have the effect of subverting the known, particularly as all the musicians are skilled at avoiding the obvious. The proceedings get a little elegiac around 19 minutes, followed by neutered funk and a very different strain of lyricism.

Frith has always maintained an interest in longer forms, despite the brevity shown by much of his music on record. Clearing Customs summarizes this interest, but for him—and indeed his fellow performers on this record—the journey continues.

Track Listing: Clearing Customs.

Personnel: Fred Frith: guitar, homemade instruments; Tillman Muller: trumpet; Wu Fei: guzheng; Anantha Krishnan: mridangam, tablas; Marque Gilmore: drums, electronics; Patrice Scanlon: electronics; Daniela Cattivelli; electronics.

Title: Clearing Customs | Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: Intakt Records


Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read The Company I Keep CD/LP/Track Review The Company I Keep
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 28, 2017
Read Ma De Re Sha CD/LP/Track Review Ma De Re Sha
by Geno Thackara
Published: June 28, 2017
Read Ask Seek Knock CD/LP/Track Review Ask Seek Knock
by Roger Farbey
Published: June 28, 2017
Read Air and Light and Time and Space CD/LP/Track Review Air and Light and Time and Space
by John Eyles
Published: June 28, 2017
Read Eleven Cages CD/LP/Track Review Eleven Cages
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 27, 2017
Read Afro-Caribbean Mixtape CD/LP/Track Review Afro-Caribbean Mixtape
by Mark F. Turner
Published: June 27, 2017
Read "Uptown Down" CD/LP/Track Review Uptown Down
by Jack Bowers
Published: July 26, 2016
Read "Ma De Re Sha" CD/LP/Track Review Ma De Re Sha
by Geno Thackara
Published: June 28, 2017
Read "TajMo" CD/LP/Track Review TajMo
by James Nadal
Published: April 19, 2017
Read "Double Strike" CD/LP/Track Review Double Strike
by James Nadal
Published: May 31, 2017
Read "Pomona" CD/LP/Track Review Pomona
by Mark Sullivan
Published: October 16, 2016
Read "South Beat" CD/LP/Track Review South Beat
by Edward Blanco
Published: September 6, 2016

Smart Advertising!

Musician? Boost your visibility at All About Jazz and drive traffic to your website with our Premium Profile service.