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Album Review

Rivers and Tides: Working With Time is Fred Frith's score to a film by Thomas Riedelsheimer about the "land art works" of Andy Goldsworthy. Goldsworthy is preoccupied with the natural processes of water, beaches, and tides, and these elements are used extensively in his art. After viewing the film, Frith not only took his cues from the sounds of nature (the actual sound of water recurs throughout), but composed music that uncannily echoes the processes involved as well. Anyone who has spent time at the shore will recognize these elements: the repetition of waves on the beach, the inexorability of the tides, and a sense of time that can be so slowed as to be almost static. All of that is reflected beautifully in Frith's score, principally through piano, violin, and soprano sax. As with any large body of water, the music is mostly serene but can have some discord at times as well, as heard in "Part III." with its martial drumbeat and generally noisier demeanor. Rivers and Tides demonstrates that Frith is not only a skewed pop genius and fearless improviser, but a remarkably empathetic soundtrack composer as well.


Born: February 17, 1949 in Heathfield, England

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

In the '60s and '70s, much (if not most) contemporary improvisation was jazz-based. That began to change in the '80s, when a significant number of rock musicians began exploring the possibilities of free improvisation and new classical forms. Fred Frith is one of the more prominent. Co-founder of the underground British band Henry Cow in 1968, composer/improviser/guitarist Frith moved to the U.S. in the late '70s, where he began associations with such New York-based experimental musicians as cellist...
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Frith: Rivers and Tides, Fred Frith
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