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Soundcheck

Julian Cowley, The Wire, no 230, 1 avril 2003

In 2001 Canadian alto saxophonist Jean Derome and drummer Pierre Tanguay stepped across the border to Oakland, California, to link up with Frith at Mills College, where he holds a professorial post. Engineer Miles Boisen completes the quartet, engaging the others in real-time sound manipulation. Frith’s approach to improvising tends to dissolve focal points, creating a continual sense of solidity melting into flow. He leaves little for the memory to cling to, but you know you’ve been there. The sleevenotes to All is bright but it is not day speak of this CD as a “psychedelic dream”, which may point to one source of Frith’s taste for diffuseness. His electric guitar playing can be fiercely concentrated as well as nebulous and drifting, but even then it sounds like it’s on its way somewhere else. Derome and Tanguay play small instruments on the side, further decentring attention. Boisen’s processing does the rest.

… a continual sense of solidity melting into flow.

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