Frith, Fred - Accidental

Year of Release: 2002
Label: ReR Recommended
Catalog Number: FRA1
Format: CD
Total Time: 39:30:00

Ever since postwar art in general became so gruesomely mutated and increasingly fond of both the grotesque and the demented, things just haven't been the same. New forms of expression are constantly devised in order to break with tradition, concepts that once would have been deemed as unseemly at the very least are now the center of entire expositions, and art has long since acquired an entire new spectrum of exploration that is only enhanced through new technological possibilities and scientific discoveries. The resulting problem, however, is that the amount of rubbish that can be passed off as art has increased accordingly. So much indeed that I almost dismissed Fred Frith's Accidental on first listen as nothing more than an unnerving and annoying collection of noises and pointless sonic experiments. Thank God for both patience and discipline.

Not to say that the album isn't unnerving, however, because it is. Accidental is very much like a hellish jeep ride through the war-strewn paths of Bosnia or the paranoid streets of present day Gaza, accompanied by forays into the minds of victims edged into lunacy by both substance abuse and the constant veil of death outside. It is an experience that often makes the listener cringe uncomfortably, that many a person would rather just avoid entirely, and that is in truth quite exhausting if listened to more than once in a row. Yet that is exactly what makes this Fred Frith release click.

Originally commissioned for a dance piece called Rogue Tool, Accidental would perhaps be less alienating were it experienced along with the entire production that it once formed part of. Since that is not the case, however, the listener is left to haplessly cower under the intrusion of sudden noises that sound like incoming mortar shots, shiver while listening to frantically guttural gasps, clench anything that is near in a vice grip after jarring pangs of dissonance explode out of nowhere, and catch one's breath in hopes of not drowning when things become almost normal during the sparse melancholy of "Fooled Again" or during the short bouts of aural sanity to be found from that point on. It is a harrowing descent into a world of distrust, exploitation, envy, and fear; except Frith refuses to allow the listener to sit in the first row, demanding instead that one becomes the main character and is almost brought down into the madness as well.

And quite frankly, it is an approach to be confronted only by those with nerves of steel and utter disregard for what is commonly considered the great divide between what is music and what isn't. Yet even those meeting the qualifications will find it hard not to become exasperated by the annoying intermittent radio tuning of "Gatto Nero," for instance, while finding reward after repeated listens confer a rather distinctive nature and harmonic environment to others such as "The Tangled Bank." All in all, Accidental is a record that must be unraveled and comprehended by each listener, as well as defined by one's tolerance and taste. Regardless of the differences in interpretation, however, one thing stands crystal clear: it is an unmistakable example of the fragmented violence and traumatic impressions that have characterized some of the most shocking, bold, and dissonant art of the twentieth century.

Similar artists: Gayle Ellett, Petros Drecojecai

The Tangled Bank (3:40) / Hit And Run (2:57) / Gatto Nero (1:33) / Old Geometry (2:24) / Their Blood Is Black And Yellow (4:33) / In A Heartbeat (1:15) / Fooled Again (5:04) / Accidental (3:27) / Absinthe Memories (For Phil Minton) (3:00) / Incoming (6:20) / Almighty Home At Last (5:12)

Fred Frith - All instruments, samples, and tape manipulations

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: Experimental

Origin UK

Added: July 16th 2002
Reviewer: Marcelo Silveyra
Artist website:
Hits: 602
Language: english


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