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Musician

Fred Frith

Born:

Multi-instrumentalist, composer, and improviser Fred Frith has been making noise of one kind or another for almost 50 years, starting with the iconic rock collective Henry Cow, which he co-founded with Tim Hodgkinson in 1968. Fred is best known as a pioneering electric guitarist and improviser, song-writer, and composer for film, dance and theater. Through bands like Art Bears, Massacre, Skeleton Crew, Keep the Dog, the Fred Frith Guitar Quartet and Cosa Brava, he has stayed close to his roots in rock and folk music while branching out in many other directions. Composing for dance throughout his long career, Fred has worked with Rosalind Newman and Bebe Miller in New York, François Verret and Catherine Diverrès in France, and Amanda Miller and the Pretty Ugly Dance Company over the course of many years in Germany, as well as composing for two documentary films on the work of Anna Halprin. Theater credits include the Creation Company in New York and François-Michel Pesenti’s Théâtre du Point Aveugle in Marseille, where he spent six months in 1990 working with “jeunes rockers en chômage des quartiers défavorisés” (young unemployed rock musicians from the ghettos) on the opera Helter Skelter. His compositions have been performed by ensembles ranging from Arditti Quartet and the Ensemble Modern to Concerto Köln and Galax Quartet, from the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra to ROVA and Arte Sax Quartets, from rock bands Sleepytime Gorilla Museum and Ground Zero to the Glasgow Improvisers’ Orchestra. Film music credits include the acclaimed documentaries Rivers and Tides, Touch the Sound and Leaning into the Wind, directed by Thomas Riedelsheimer, The Tango Lesson, Yes and The Party by Sally Potter, Werner Penzel’s Zen for Nothing, Peter Mettler’s Gods, Gambling and LSD, and the award-winning (and Oscar-nominated) Last Day of Freedom, by Nomi Talisman and Dee Hibbert-Jones. Fred has performed works by and sometimes alongside composers John Luther Adams, Gavin Bryars, Sylvie Courvoisier, Alvin Curran, George Lewis, René Lussier, Jose Maceda, Meredith Monk, Terry Riley, and Christian Wolff; improvised with Paolo Angeli, Lotte Anker, Derek Bailey, Chris Brown, Lol Coxhill, Chris Cutler, Janet Feder, Joëlle Léandre, Miya Masaoka, Phil Minton, Ikue Mori, Butch Morris, Bob Ostertag, Evan Parker, Zeena Parkins, and Camel Zekri, to name a few; collaborated with classical virtuosi Evelyn Glennie, Katia Labèque, Viktoria Mullova, and Werner Bärtschi; and—as session musician—recorded on albums by, for example, Brian Eno, The Residents, Robert Wyatt, The Swans, Violent Femmes, Material, Negativland, John Zorn, Matthew and the Unfortunates, and Half Japanese. He is currently performing with the Fred Frith Trio and Frelosa. The recipient of Italy’s Demetrio Stratos Prize for his life’s work in experimental music and an honorary doctorate from the University of Huddersfield in his home county of Yorkshire, Fred is Professor Emeritus at the legendary epicenter of American experimental music, Mills College in Oakland, California

Album

A Mountain Doesn't Know It's Tall

Label: Intakt Records
Released: 2021
Track listing: Bodaishin; The Biggest Lie; Stirred by Wind and Waves; Nothing to It; Fushiryō; The Biggest Idiots; Nothing at All; Shōdōka; Good for What?; The Same Moon Sometimes Seems to Smile; Things as They Are; Hishiryō; A Thief Breaks into an Empty House; Now Here; Samadhi.

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Article: Live Review

Moers Festival 2021

Read "Moers Festival 2021" reviewed by Martin Longley


Moers Festival Eventhalle/Rodelberg Moers, Germany May 21-24 2021 Just a few days before the start of this 50th anniversary festival, the local governmental authorities suddenly switched their virus regulations, allowing a crowd of 500 to attend each evening's outdoor park gig on the Rodelberg stage. During the daytimes, ...

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Article: Live Review

Moers Festival 2021

Read "Moers Festival 2021" reviewed by Phillip Woolever


Moers Festival Moers, Germany May 21-24, 2021 In a year that passed since the previous Moers Festival, the Covid 19 pandemic caused a lot of bad news regarding concert cancellations, closed venues, and further issues in the already challenging lives of professional musicians around the world. Thus, the success of this ...

Article: Album Review

Fred Frith, Ikue Mori: A Mountain Doesn't Know It's Tall

Read "A Mountain Doesn't Know It's Tall" reviewed by Alberto Bazzurro


Elettronica a gogo in questo album inciso oltre sei anni fa, nel gennaio 2015, a Esslingen, sud-ovest tedesco, tra due degli improvvisatori più radicali (ma per altri versi anche sufficientemente versatili, visti i molteplici terreni toccati nelle loro ormai lunghe carriere) in circolazione, Fred Frith, classe 1949, da Heathfield, East Sussex, e Ikue Mori, classe 1953, ...

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Article: Festivals Talking

Moers Festival Interviews: Fred Frith

Read "Moers Festival Interviews: Fred Frith" reviewed by Martin Longley


The Moers Festival in Germany celebrates its 50th anniversary during this year's edition, between 21st and 24th of May. The English guitarist Fred Frith was always a frequent player at this festival, particularly during the 1980s, whether with Massacre, Skeleton Crew or playing bass with John Zorn's Naked City. In comparatively more recent years, he appeared ...

3

Article: Interview

Ariele Monti: la filosofia inclusiva di Area Sismica

Read "Ariele Monti: la filosofia inclusiva di Area Sismica" reviewed by Libero Farnè


A Ravaldino in Monte, pochi chilometri a sud di Forlì, in una rustica e isolata casa di campagna ai piedi delle colline romagnole, per la precisione una Casa del Popolo costruita nel 1947, ha sede Area Sismica, uno dei locali più vivaci, autentici e accoglienti in cui ascoltare musica dal vivo con poche preclusioni di genere. ...

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Article: Live From New York

Shelley Hirsch: Back with a Vengeance

Read "Shelley Hirsch: Back with a Vengeance" reviewed by John Pietaro


It took Brooklyn's Roulette performance space to break COVID-19's hold on Shelley Hirsch. Now, it seems there'll be no stopping her. The vocal acrobat, poet and performance artist was a new music original long before “downtown" moved across the East River. An original member of the avant rock band The Public Servants, Hirsch also ...

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Article: Album Review

Fred Frith & Ikue Mori: A Mountain Doesn’t Know It’s Tall

Read "A Mountain Doesn’t Know It’s Tall" reviewed by Mark Corroto


Have you experienced a performance of John Cage's composition “4:33"? If you are not familiar, while studying Zen Buddhism, Cage wrote “four minutes, thirty-three seconds" to be performed solo or in any combination of instruments or players. The instructions were for the performers to NOT play their instruments for the allotted 273 seconds. Their 'silence' was ...

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Article: Album Review

Paolo Angeli: 22.22 Free Radiohead

Read "22.22 Free Radiohead" reviewed by Ian Patterson


There are almost as many strings to guitarist Paolo Angeli's bow as there are on his customized instrument. Ethnomusicologist, researcher and international arts festival director, Angeli plays in duos with Hamid Drake, Iva Bittova and Fred Frith. It's as a solo performer, however, that the Sardinian guitarist is probably best known. On this hour-long solo suite, ...


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