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Fred Frith MP3

The multi-night, 11th annual Other Minds music festival that occurred a few months back in San Francisco is slowly taking on a second life, as a series of downloadable audio files on the servers at the Internet Archive, aka archive.org. Among the more recently uploaded entries is a half-hour series of improvisations by legendary guitarist Fred Frith (of Henry Cow, and now teaching music at nearby Mills College), in collaboration with instrument maker Sudhu Tewari. Frith mixes soft-hewn fragments of melody that ring like bell tones with more acoustically acerbic material drawn from mishandling of the instrument, and also launches into some solos forged from a mix of feedback and held notes. There’s limited info on Tewari at the Other Minds site, and this is one performance where visual accompaniment would have been particularly appreciated, but as the piece develops, it takes on a rhythmic intensity, a metric consistency — yes, a discernible downbeat — that is often consciously lacking in Frith’s music. In other words, it rocks. Intermixed are moments of intense quietude. The concert was recorded on February 25, and now it’s up online for the ages. The file is only downloadable via FTP, but the site provides clear instructions; just search for “Frith Tewari.”

By Marc Weidenbaum

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