Fred Frith

Eye to Ear, Vol. 2

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Fred Frith is on something of a creative roll at the turn of the century, turning out new projects, new collaborations, and several film scores in addition to re-releasing some of his back catalog on his Fred label imprint. Eye to Ear, Vol. 2 is another compilation of pieces composed (and sometimes not used) for various short films. For most of the program, it's just Frith overdubbing himself, a talent he's used for decades now. Since these pieces were conceived to augment and accompany images, they tend to evoke mood and feeling rather than being true compositions unto themselves. They run the gamut from dark soundscapes to pretty Asian-sounding themes, and can switch gears dramatically within the course of a single piece. For example, at one point in "Gambling, Gods and LSD," sampled percussion enters so jarringly, one might imagine the percussion is entering your system from a wholly different source (although it works in the long run). There are also places where he gets into some nice melodic sequences, but the tunes tend to progress fairly quickly. The pieces are not grouped by film, except for the last four tracks, where Frith is joined by accordion, voice, and gu zheng. These beautiful pieces clearly belong together, and make for an excellent closing to the album. Eye to Ear, Vol. 2 demonstrates once again that there is almost no end to Fred Frith's music-making abilities.

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