Frith, Fred - Gravity

Year of Release: 2002
Label: ReR Recommended
Catalog Number: FRO 01
Format: CD
Total Time: 47:10:00

By this turn of the century, dance has largely been forgotten for what it really is and instead been grafted to the conception of sweaty discothèque dance floors or spastic rave-attending youths with an overloaded hormone count and a not-too-rare accompanying substance backup. If Fred Frith's Gravity were to be processed through that definition, one would probably be able to pluck out just enough hyperactivity and tension by means of a careful and precise track selection in order not to appear so exaggeratingly conspicuous, but even the most selective of wariness would not be able to hold the effects of the whole album for long, and the entire place would soon be flooded with Eastern European gypsies, wild African tribes, Arab chanters, and several species of couther and more "civilized" Westerners. Dance in revolution.

Revolution, evolution, and devolution. Passing through the barriers of dance music as if they were some sort of porous membrane; taking the visceral, tribal, and civilized all to the next illogical step; and largely returning the attention to the music that once upon a time held reign over each of its own ethnic representations and realizations (a.k.a. "world music"). And while the result is far from the threatening avant-gardism of Frith's previous outfit, Henry Cow, due to its being much more accessible and instantaneous, the music remains elusive and mercurial as tracks pass by and demonstrate the quirkiest of mood swings and harmonic structures. It may not be the possessed Frith of yesteryear going for the driving extreme at every turn, but the daring exploration of electric guitar continues, and so does the penchant for complexity well above radio fare, deviously hidden under a veil of simplicity that in truth is nothing more than the fact that each track has a unique and relatively stable essence going on at all times.

Yet for all its internationalism and evident lack of musical bigotry, Frith's record can't help but be a unified statement in its diversity and span. The album does not only ignore borders; it makes them irrelevant and childish while the four corners of the world unite their peculiar visions into one indivisible statement under one name: Gravity. The result is an album overflowing with life and genuine excitement; an organic experience of tension and release, exotic landscapes and small suburban towns, ecstatic tribal dances and happy-go-lucky frolicking. Gravity is more than just an avant-garde "dance" record; it is universalism in its very essence. But for those wondering, yes, it can all be danced to, provided the listener has a fine understanding of foreign time signatures and one hell of a dancing capability. The music has such an ability to crawl under the listener's skin, however, that knowledge of dancing might not be necessary in the end. It might just come by itself.

Similar artists: Samla Mammas Mana, Escapade

First released in the US in 1980 by Ralph Records (FF8057-L); reissued in 1990 by East Side Digital (ESD 80452) and T.E.C. Tones (FF-8057) and in Switzerland in 1991 by RecRec Music (RecDec 901)

The Boy Beats The Rams (Kluk Tluce Berany) (4:53) / Spring Any Day Now (3:05) / Don't Cry For Me (3:28) / Hands Of The Juggler (5:32) / Norrgården Nyvla (2:54) / Year Of The Monkey (4:06) / What A Dilemma (3:10) / Crack In The Concrete (1:24) / Come Across (2:48) / Dancing In The Street/My Enemy Is A Bad Man (4:39) / Slap Dance (2:30) / A Career In Real Estate (4:41) / Dancing in Rockville, Maryland (2:51)

Fred Frith - bass, guitar, violin, percussion, drums, piano
Lars Hollmer - piano, organ, accordion
Eino Haapala - guitar, mandolin
Marc Hollander - alto saxophone, clarinet, bass clarinet
Dave Newhouse - alto saxophone, organ
Paul Sears - drums
Billy Swann - bass
Hans Bruniusson - drums

Selected Works:

Henry Cow - Unrest (1974)
Henry Cow - Concerts (1976)
Henry Cow - Western Culture (1978)
Art Bears - Hopes And Fears (1978)
Art Bears - Winter Songs (1979)
Gravity (1980/2002)
Art Bears - The World As It Is Today (1981)
Memory Serves (w/Material) (1981)
Massacre - Killing Time (1981)
Who Needs Enemies? (w/Henry Kaiser) (1983)
Skeleton Crew - Learn To Talk (1984)
skeleton Crew - The Country Of Blinds (1986)
Nous Autres (w/Rene Lussier) (1987)
Dropera (w/Ferdinand Richard) (1990)
Death Ambient (w/Ikue Mori & Kato Hideki) (1995)
The Guitar Quartet - Ayaya Moses (1997)
Synesthesia (w/Mori & Hideki) (1998)
Massacre - Funny Valentine (1998)
The Guitar Quartet - Upbeat (1998)
Massacre - Meltdown (2001)
Accidental (2002)
Keep The Dog - That House We Lived In (2003)
Prints (2003)
The Sugar Factory (w/Evelyn Glennie) (2007)
Drunken Forest (w/Mori & Hideki) (2007)
Massacre - Lonely Heart (2007)
See complete discography here

Genre: Rock In Opposition

Origin UK

Added: July 16th 2002
Reviewer: Marcelo Silveyra
Artist website:
Hits: 629
Language: english


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