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27 March 1999
By Pierre Boulet in Le Soleil (Québec), March 27, 1999

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Ce n’est pas évident, mais c’est plus fort que moi. Il faut au moins que je vous le signale. Je vous parle de la parution de Up Beat, le petit dernier du Fred Frith Guitar Quartet. Un bilan de la tournée européenne (1997) des quatre guitaristes électriques: Fred Frith, René Lussier, Mark Stewart et Nick Didkovsky. Deux ans après Ayaya Moses, les quatre complices s’en donnent à coeur joie sur leurs cordes amplifiées. Difficile? C’est selon l’oreille qu’on veut bien y mettre. De la musique actuelle composée et improvisée par des artistes à l’imagination débridée, à la virtuosité consommée, dotés d’une culture musicale large comme ça. Et qui, de toute évidence, s’amusent comme des fous à échanger. Du bruit, diront certains? Oui, du bruit… mais modelé par un sens peu commun de l’organisation, marqué par le souci de la surprise. Ça nous en apprend davantage sur la musique et sur… soi. Pour oreilles averties. Il n’en tient qu’à vous d’en être. Bonne écoute!

blogue@press-1696 press@1696
22 March 1999
By George Zahora in Splendid E-Zine (USA), March 22, 1999

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Just about anyone with some degree of musical awareness has heard of Fred Frith, right? Mention his name to someone who’s bought something less accessible than the Titanic soundtrack, and he or she will probably offer a glimmer of recognition, however slight. Anyway, on Ayaya Moses, Frith and the other three quarters of his quartet (René Lussier, Nick Didkovsky and Mark Stewart) once again remind the listening public that that the guitar is an instrument with six discrete strings (sometimes twelve) that can be tapped, plucked and scraped as well as strummed. The results can be beautiful (the first half of the title cut), harrowing (the second half of the title cut), fascinating (“Trummings”, “Geco Rettile Mialgico”), orchestral (“Pulau Dewata”) and downright confrontational (“The Stinky Boy Suite”). Since a lot of neophyte listeners expect nothing but dischord from “avant-guitar” compositions, Ayaya Moses is an effective tool for displaying the sheer range of both the instrument and the genre; yes, there are tracks that sound like the guitar is being thrown down a flight of stairs, but there are far more instances where Frith et al coax astonishingly varied and innovative tones from their instruments. Everyone should own at least one FFGQ album — it’s useful deprogramming after too much 3-chord punk rock, and it’s fun to taunt Teen Punk Rockers with it by confronting them with the fact that Frith is an “old guy” whose music is too challenging for them.

blogue@press-1704 press@1704
22 March 1999
By George Zahora in Splendid E-Zine (USA), March 22, 1999

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Just about anyone with some degree of musical awareness has heard of Fred Frith, right? Mention his name to someone who’s bought something less accessible than the Titanic soundtrack, and he or she will probably offer a glimmer of recognition, however slight. Anyway, on Ayaya Moses, Frith and the other three quarters of his quartet (René Lussier, Nick Didkovsky and Mark Stewart) once again remind the listening public that the guitar is an instrument with six discrete strings (sometimes twelve) that can be tapped, plucked and scraped as well as strummed. The results can be beautiful (the first half of the title cut), harrowing (the second half of the title cut), fascinating ( Trummings, Geco Rettile Mialgico), orchestral (Pulau Dewata) and downright confrontational (The Stinky Boy Suite). Since a lot of neophyte listeners expect nothing but dischord from “avant-guitar” compositions, Ayaya Moses is an effective tool for displaying the sheer range of both the instrument and the genre; yes, there are tracks that sound like the guitar is being thrown down a flight of stairs, but there are far more instances where Frith et al coax astonishingly varied and innovative tones from their instruments. Everyone should own at least one FFGQ album — it’s useful deprogramming after too much 3-chord punk rock, and it’s fun to taunt Teen Punk Rockers with it by confronting them with the fact that Frith is an “old guy” whose music is too challenging for them.

blogue@press-1815 press@1815
10 March 1999
in The Toronto Star (Canada), March 10, 1999

Press Clipping

blogue@press-6029 press@6029
8 March 1999
By Andrew Magilow in Splendid E-Zine (USA), March 8, 1999

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“… you’re not dealing with some flippant “nuvo-guitar-artiste” but rather the exalted Fred Frith, with guitar surgically attached to hand and creative juices that are always simmering with fresh ideas.”

If you’re a fan of avant-garde music from the last 25 years, progressive cross-genre performer and composer Fred Frith has most assuredly wowed you in one form or another. Combining guitar forces, this quartet engages in a variety of styles, from intricately delicate, lush compositions, to noisy, experimental beasts that seem barely tamed by the axes of Stewart, Lussier, Didkovsky and Frith. You practically have to wipe Spitty Boy off of your face, as its quick-tempered excitement sprays forth in a mere 52 seconds. No Bones is a noisy concoction that presents several layers of riffs and leads that smartly intertwine, manifesting in a composition that’s on the verge of a nervous breakdown, and comparable to, dare I say, Naked City’s most sparkling, definitive moments. However, the FFGQ also harnesses space, as it guides several tunes through periods of tranquility and fragility that are sure signs of musical maturity. Frith’s considerable creativity and tenure are apt guides, as the variety and complexity of these 13 tracks show that you’re not dealing with some flippant “nuvo-guitar-artiste” but rather the exalted Fred Frith, with guitar surgically attached to hand and creative juices that are always simmering with fresh ideas.

blogue@press-1703 press@1703
6 March 1999
By François Couture in All-Music Guide (USA), March 6, 1999

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Copie Zéro is the kind of album that can turn jazz-rock heads toward more avant-gardist directions. Recommended.”

In 1998-1999, the Montréal label Ambiances Magnétiques recruited a handful of new artists to update its roaster. Les Projectionnistes (“The Projectionists”) belong to this second generation. Lead by trombonist Claude St-Jean (of the Orkestre des Pas Perdus), this band also features the core of Papa Boa (Pierre Labbé on saxophones and flutes, Bernard Falaise on guitars, Rémi Leclerc on drums), along with bassist Tommy Babin. The name of the band comes from its first concerts, back when it improvised over projections of silent surrealist films from the 1920s-1930s. But the band quickly mutated into a strange hybrid. Is this St-Jean writing tunes for Papa Boa? Or the Orkestre des Pas Perdus adding Falaise’s avant-rock guitar crunch? Or even the avant-prog band Miriodor (in which Falaise and Leclerc are), without keyboards, plus trombone? One thing is sure, the result is strikingly fresh and energy-driven. Rock, funk, Rock In Opposition, jazz, all of it blended with a pinch of humor and delivered with big blows of hot brass and screaming electric guitar. Fans of the above-mentioned groups will feel at home. Les Projectionnistes’ music has an “in your face” quality (a constant feature in St-Jean’s projects) while remaining quite easy to listen to, thanks to inventive melodic lines and devilish rhythms. The opening track Hiboux (“Owls”), very OPP-ish in nature, 7e Balcon (“7th Balcony”) and Falaise’s Cacao Chaos, rank among the best tracks on this CD. The album closes with the only improvisation of the disc, Ballet Mécanique, recorded live in October 1997 at one of the band’s early shows, with Nicolas Masino (of Miriodor) on bass. Copie Zéro is the kind of album that can turn jazz-rock heads toward more avant-gardist directions. Recommended.

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