Formed in Hackney, in London’s East End, as a part of the Loop collective, this five-piece band’s members met while studying at London’s Royal Academy of Music. They are James Allsopp (b. 4 June 1981; saxophone/clarinet), Philip Hochstrate (b. 30 May 1977, Germany; keyboards), Stian Westerhus (b. 2 April 1979, Norway; guitar), Tim Giles (b. 3 April 1980, Eye, Suffolk, England; drums/electric percussion), and Ben Reynolds (b. 24 January 1978, Nassau, Bahamas; drums). The band’s line-up also includes floating bass players. Fraud attracted attention at the 2006 Cheltenham Jazz Festival and in 2007 the group was nominated for a BBC Jazz Award for Best Album and won the Ronnie Scott Award as UK Newcomer, while Allsopp was nominated for a BBC Jazz Award as Rising Star. In addition to his work with Fraud, Allsopp has worked with Graham Collier, Richard Fairhurst, Brian Irvine and Polar Bear, while Giles has also worked extensively with Fairhurst and also with Stan Sulzmann, Julian Argüelles and the Orb.
Fraud performs an exhilarating blend of post-rock pop and contemporary electronic jazz with considerable technical skill, often cloaked liberally in offbeat humour. Its improvisations are daring and often demanding of audiences, but remain accessible in large part through their dedication and somewhat anarchic musical wit. The group’s material, mostly composed by Allsopp and Giles, usually collaboratively, includes ‘Insect’, ‘Girafitti’, ‘Voodoo Teeth’, ‘Laundry Theatre’, ‘Wrong Brain’ and ‘Mystery Box’.