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Richter 858 [Enhanced, Hybrid SACD, Live]

Bill Frisell Audio CD

Price: CDN$ 35.13
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
32 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Let a thousand quartets bloom! Feb. 13 2005
By greg taylor - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
In recent years, I have read some reviews that chastised Bill Frisell for making music that is a little too accessible. Any fears that we might have that he will engage in that kind of nonsense on this CD are put gloriously to rest during the first two minutes of play.

The opening is two minutes of electronic distortion, skittering extended techniques on string instruments and oddball humor. Delightful. Out of that emerges a strumming guitar followed by Ivesian melodies by the string section.

I recently remarked in a review of a Dresser-Uitti CD that I felt that creative improvised music was experiencing a string instrument renaissance. Part of that renaissance is a renewal of interest in the string trio/quartet as a medium for improvised music. Early efforts in that renaissance were made by Henry Threadgill, Anthony Braxton, Julius Hemphill and Oliver Lake (of course- that particular quartet of individuals started the music off in so many directions). In the last decade, Tristan Honsinger and Ig Henneman have made fascinating contributions to the quartet form while the Arcado String Trio and the Amsterdam String Trio have explored a nearby sonic world.

The delight of this particular CD is the conceit of using Frisell's guitar and electronics in lieu of one of the traditional violins. The other players are Jenny Scheinman on the violin, Eyvind Kang on the viola and Hank Roberts on the cello. The eight pieces are inspired by eight paintings in a series by Gerhard Richter. The CD's booklet has very nice reproductions of the paintings and interviews with both Frisell and producer David Breskin who oversaw the whole project. The interviews tell you much about the creative process that was involved.

I find this to be mostly a very successful piece of music. I was trying to be precise earlier when I mentioned Ives. The last few years of Frisell's career has been defined by an immersion in and a reimagining of Americana. With this CD, he gives American folk sensibilities as much of a tweak as Ives did in many of his pieces. The results are both familiar and oddly disturbing. Part of the reason for the disturbing quality is the way the geography of the sound is spaced. Frisell is in the center and the other three are heard through and around him. Frisell uses plenty of space of course so he does not dominate the sound but the result is that his playing frequently emerges seamlessly out of the playing of one of the others.

My only beef with the music is the electronics. One of the problems I have with electronics in music is that occasionally they almost always remind me of cheap sci-fi movie special effects. I know this is nothing more than my weird quirk but there it is. This occurs for me on the sixth piece. From Ives to Star Trek in a single musical phrase. I am just getting too old for that sort of juxtaposition.

But this is a minor and personal criticism. I enjoy this CD everytime I have put it on. I hear something new every time. And every time I feel a delight in the fact that my beloved string quartet format is being renewed. My thanks to Hank, Jenny, Eyvind and Bill.
8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars definitely not The Intercontinentals June 7 2005
By Drusca - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Most interesting and adventurous work Frisell's released in almost a decade. Dissonant and abstract. Parts resemble Bartok's string quartet writing. One for those of us who have grown quite bored with the pentatonic blues licks and the static vamps.

Thanks Songlines for putting this out, and for doing such a comprehensive job in presenting the project.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WOW ! ! ! May 12 2010
By A Reader - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
I picked this up because I like the guitar work of Mr. Frisell and The NY Times had a review of a concert performance of a group led by Frisell called "858"

I had no idea what I was getting. It is a group of musical pieces (tone poems?) composed in response to a group of paintings by Richter. The liner notes include pictures of the paintings. When I plugged the disc into my computer, two CD icons came up. One was a typical icon for musical recordings, and I copied that into my computer memory. The other icon produced a slide show of the paintings, full screen on my computer display and they were beautiful. At the same time the music played in my computer speakers.

I have not the musical vocablulary or knowledge to describe the music. Some of the liner notes compare it to Philip Glass. The first cut starts as (to me) pure noise. But the left side of the picture is kind of chaotic and jarring. This moves into other, kinder sounds.

Each painting is different, and each of the eight musical reactions is different. Rarely did I hear any kind of melody. But they are all interesting and worth replaying, while carefully looking at the paintings.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars electronic jazz Jan. 17 2007
By Case Quarter - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
i bought this cd about a year ago for the birthday of a friend who is a fan of richter. when i listened to it, not having a cd-rom set up then, i looked at the photos of richter's painting while frisell's composition played, and i imagined the music corresponding to the paintings, much in way i have with other artist-musician collaborations, disney's the socerer's apprentice and jackson pollock painting to jazz. frisell's accomplishment was sufficiently pleasing for me to put my own purchase on the backburner.

this week i bought richter 858 and put the cd immediately on my player and continued doing things around the house. what i didn't hear during my previous listening: frisell's cd reminds me of of miles davis' bitches brew and later cds of miles work, aura and siesta, with just a touch of frisell's rock.a.billy hokey music, there, i suppose, as frisell's signature.

frisell's cd's have never topped my list of jazz guitarists. however, this one is worth consideration. definitely an excellent addition to electronic jazz.
6 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Herr Richter meets Sounds Aug. 14 2005
By Melvin S. Stanforth - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
If you know the many faces of the German painter, Gerhard Richter, you need to be advised that this music focuses on one of those faces.
The sounds are more discomfitting than are RIchter's paintings, it is that RIchter is seen through the ears of Frisell. The sounds are about pain. A pain that flows through the past 60 years of European/USA history. Listen to this, look at the images that affect Frisell's sounds.

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