Frisell, Bill / Richter 858
Album: Richter 858   Collection:General
Artist:Frisell, Bill   Added:Jan 2006
Label:Songlines Recordings  

A-File Activity
Add Date: 2006-01-22 Pull Date: 2006-03-26 Charts: Classical/Experimental
Week Ending: Mar 26 Mar 12 Mar 5 Feb 19 Feb 12 Feb 5 Jan 29
Airplays: 1 1 1 1 1 2 2

Recent Airplay
1. Aug 19, 2020: Some Songs Without Words
4. Mar 24, 2006: Memory Select
2. Jul 28, 2009: Jena & Gomorrah: Black is the Colors
5. Mar 10, 2006: Memory Select
3. Apr 12, 2008: On The Warpath
6. Mar 02, 2006: Baptism of Solitude

Album Review
Ben Wolfson
Reviewed 2006-01-21
Forget that Americana stuff. This is a string trio (violin, viola, cello) plus Frisell's guitars playing noisy, dissonant, modern/modernist sounding music composed for an exhibition of Gerhard Richter's abstract paintings, which are frequently jagged or smeared around. Not for the faint of heart, though, to be fair, it's not a nonstop barrage, and the music is almost all great. Unfortunately, you can't show the paintings over the air (they're reproduced in the booklet), because looking at them while listening to the pieces is interesting.

Best: 1, 3, 4, 6
1. Starts of with a noisy, frenetic explosion of string sounds, with some big flashes of feedback. Mellows out after about two minutes and the lower strings provide repeating motifs over which a beautiful violin solo is played. (Actually, since Frisell is credited with "electronics", as well, which might include samplers, it's hard to say exactly who is playing what--this could be a viola solo.)
2. Short repeated phrases of different lengths in the different instruments over an atmospheric ambience from Frisell. Occasional deviances from the phrases for brief solos or duets, but the instruments generally return to them. The effect is of stasis with a little variation.
3. Fairly Romantic sounding (to my uninformed ears). This is mostly a string trio in the first half, though in the second he lends some nice lines and some general background distortion. The string parts have frequent pauses; this is a slow-moving piece.
4. Starts off soft. Long, slow-moving melody with faintly creepy electronics until -5:45, when it gets all jaunty, like a dance. The weird electronic sounds remain, and increase in prominence towards the end, and the stasis of the melody introduced at -5:45 make the whole thing increasingly unsettling; by the end everything has gotten quite loud and insistent.
5. Pizzicato time! I can't help but find this at least a little upbeat in the pizzicato part (until -2:45), and even after that it's the most consonant and pleasant-sounding pieces here (even a little goofy, to be honest). However, I don't think it's very good, or interesting.
6. Dissonant smears, starts off just violin/viola, others come in; fairly dark. High, echoed, electronic-sounding guitar part; then the strings mostly drop out for a beautiful but ominous guitar section (Frisell puts his various electronics resources to good use here). Insectoid string playing. Ends with more dissonant string smearing.
7. It almost sounds like there's a mournful harmonica being played here (actually violin). A desolate western feel (perhaps because it looks like there's barbed wire in the painting?), comforting progression. Then, -4:00, some outright guitar strumming, first on the album, reinforces the impression, with the strings now playing much more actively.
8. Slow held notes from the high strings, some chords from Frisell, a little more activity in the cello. Very pretty.

Track Listing
1. 858-1   5. 858-5
2. 858-2   6. 858-6
3. 858-3   7. 858-7
4. 858-4   8. 858-8