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Improvisation on six strings

Curious about impromptu encounters and sound tinkering, virtuoso guitarist Fred Frith approaches improvisation as a meditative breath in action.

Fred Frith
Fred Frith: limitless inventiveness

Fred Frith
Live at Cave 12 (Geneva, 2018)

From New York to Tokyo, from blues to folk, jazz and flamenco, Indian, Balinese and Japanese music, the man meets alter egos from the experimental scene, including John Zorn, Arto Lindsay and Iva Bittova. "I am influenced by the people I work with at any given time. Collaboration is a crucial aspect to keep music alive and I learn much more than in admiration or even love for things heard on records or at concerts."

A furious collection of myriads of sounds that the documentary Step Across the Border (1990) by Nicolas Humbert and Wolfgang Panzer, a documentary that draws towards abstraction, embraces perfectly. Fred Frith's improvisation is "open to all possibilities" and a challenge to "embrace the unknown". It is a way of being in the world. The artist thus sees the film as a "skin allowing him to reinvent himself" after each vision.

Dances of time

In 1998, its disjointed sounds, with their offended, unstructured language, enchanted the Kaspar plateau. He was then alongside, among others, the French choreographer and dancer François Verret. "With François, I was able to enjoy the conversations during the creative process. It's never about what I want. But more than that, it's what I read or look at, the journey I make. This gives me the space to imagine, and allows the material, the history, to grow in an unpredictable way. "His artists of heart" have in common a deep and resonant struggle with time and memory".

Thus Paul Klee, Louise Bourgeois, Rauschenberg, Daniel Spoerri, Cornelia Parker, Tarkovski, Eduardo Galeano. And, in particular, the immersive and hypnotic Swiss filmmaker Peter Mettler. He was the first to invite her to make film music. This to Gambling, Gods and LSD (2014), a trip docu exploring perception through skillful visual sequences. You let yourself be carried away like in a torrent, like the sound flows of magical fades and crossovers, each time reinvented by Fred Frith.

Bertrand Tappolet


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