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Early Output 1996-1998

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Album Review

Recording experimental music with a simple guitar/bass/drums setup and little use of modern electronics wasn't entirely a novel idea in the mid-'90s, but it was quite rare in England. Whether enforced by design or necessity, the format proved an excellent vehicle for creativity in Fridge, which featured three individual voices attempting to translate musical ideas with limited equipment and skills (but certainly growing facility as musicians). Early Output 1996-1998 provides a good opportunity for any level of Fridge fan (and there are many) to hear what the group did. Unlike the previous Sevens and Twelves compilation, this includes material from both Fridge's LPs and EPs of the '90s. The tracks certainly signal the dawn of the creative minds that would create future masterpieces; yes, "Anglepoised" was simply Tortoise with an 808 — Output honcho Trevor Jackson's 808, by the way, as we learn in the notes — but neither its simplicity nor its repetitions change the fact that it possesses a beauty that other dance or rock experimentalists of the time lacked. "Astrozero" is another sublime creation; what it lacks in virtuoso talent it makes up for in a knowledge of interplay that becomes bewitching. The outgrowths of Fridge (Four Tet and Adem) have spawned creative, inventive recordings for sure, but the early days of Fridge illustrate what musical constraints can do for artistic creativity.


Formed: 1995 in Putney, England

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '90s, '00s

The British post-rock trio Fridge comprised guitarist Kieran Hebden, bassist Adem Ilhan, and drummer Sam Jeffers, longtime friends from the Putney area who began playing music together while attending school. A chance record shop encounter with another friend helped put the group in contact with Output label chief Trevor "The Underdog" Jackson, who signed them the next day; the first Fridge record, the single "Lojen," was released in early 1997, with all three members still in their teens. The full-length...
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Early Output 1996-1998, Fridge
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