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Guitar Solos/Fifty

Label:

Format: 2xLP

$69.99

Audiople Review: It’s like Fred Frith heard about that reissue of Brian Eno’s ‘Apollo’ album… You remember the one? With the second record of new tracks on the same theme? And the new songs were legitimately good? Yeah, well, it’s like Fred Frith heard that and said: “Hold my beer.” Which is to say, this release pairs Frith’s 1974 classic ‘Guitar Solos’ with an album of new pieces in the same vein, recorded 50 years later. Frith may not have anything like the mainstream profile Eno enjoys but, in avant rock circles, he’s hardly any less legendary. And, as both are serial collaborators, their paths have, of course, crossed. But Frith is probably best known for the pioneering 1970s avant rock of Henry Cow and Art Bears. He was also a member of Bill Laswell’s Massacre and John Zorn’s Naked City. Like we said, a serial collaborator. But here he is alone, solo. The sound on ‘Guitar Solos’ is like a more atmospheric take on the wiry, alien improvisations of Derek Bailey (who appeared alongside Frith on a various-artists sequel to ‘Guitar Solos’ in 1976). And ‘Fifty’ shows that Frith has lost none of his modernist vigour. It manages to be more approachable than ‘Guitar Solos’ while being utterly fearless and occasionally borderline aggressive. Both these albums make many of today’s acclaimed experimentalists seem milquetoast and generic. Fred Frith rocks, in the most avant way imaginable.

 

Guitar Solos is the debut solo album of British guitarist, composer, and improviser Fred Frith. It was recorded while Frith was still a member of the English experimental rock group Henry Cow and was released originally in October 1974. Voted one of the best albums of 1974 by NME critics it also attracted the attention of Brian Eno, resulting in Frith playing guitar on two of Eno’s albums. Frith’s never tiring spirit in creating and performing music has made him one of the most notable and creative guitar players and musicians in the scene of improvised and composed music. For the anniversary of this release, Week-End Records have encouraged Frith to arrange a set up similar to what he used 50 years ago to record an album of new compositions which will accompany the original record.

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