Fred Frith: Gravity Rises
Gravity was Frith’s first solo album post-Henry Cow and is considered a landmark of his career — which is impressive, given his long and varied career. It’s also a bit of a departure after the art-rockisms of Art Bears and Henry Cow. Gravity is a fun and accessible album. The odd time signatures are fitted into a Euro-folk setting as opposed to the geometry of prog rock. The experimental touches and elements of “world music” that might have been new to listeners at the time emerge with an infectious joy.
A different prog/Rock In Opposition band backs Frith on each side of Gravity: Samla Mammas Manna on Side A and The Muffins on Side B. It sounds like Frith will replicate that concept by having two backing bands at Slim’s: Aaron Novik‘s Thorny Brocky, and Dominique Leone‘s band. [UPDATE: That was the original plan, but they've decided instead to have each song played by some combination of the bands.]
I’m planning a radio special in advance of the event. Part history, part interviews. It’ll include bits of music from Samla Mammas Manna and The Muffins — the two prog/Rock In Opposition bands that backed Gravity — as well as songs from the album itself.
The plan is to air this on Monday, Aug. 20 at 7:00 p.m. Pacific time on KZSU-FM. That’s 90.1 FM here in the Bay Area, or kzsu.stanford.edu here on the Web.
- Gravity’s Wikipedia entry
- Very detailed review at Prog Archives.
- A long-ago Fred Frith page from Beanbenders. This is from before Frith moved to the Bay Area. Beanbenders was a local DIY music series just starting out, and being able to book Frith was pretty darned cool.