Ayaya Moses is the first CD by the Fred Frith Guitar Quartet. It was recorded in the studios of Radio-Canada in 1996 and captured the quartet at its early stage. The material found here can be split in three categories. First, there are pieces by outsider composers, the Italian Olivia Bignardi and the Québécois Claude Vivier. These contemporary pieces were re-arranged by the quartet and Vivier’s Pulau Dewata works particularly well, developing around a simple melodic structure into a very personal world. The second category is made of contributions from band members. Each guitarist brought one piece. Fred Frith’s Freedom Is Your Friends II is an excerpt from Freedom in Fragments, written for the ROVA Saxophone Quartet, while Nick Didkovsky’s She Closes Her Sister with Heavy Bones is taken from a larger piece for chamber orchestra. They both contrast with Mark Stewart’s textural Trummings. René Lussier’s Ayaya Moses is the strongest piece, written especially for this quartet and making use of all its possibilities. Finally there are a handful of short collective improvisations arranged in suites. More serious and industrious than its follow-up Upbeat, Ayaya Moses showcases four gifted avant-garde guitarists applying their talent to demanding compositions. Recommended.