Saturday 29 June 2019, 7.30pm
One of the most inventive and eclectic figures in contemporary music, guitarist and composer Fred Frith celebrates his 70th year at OTO with a three day residency here – his first since 2015 – with a fantastic array of collaborators old and new. With the aim of performing with as many people as possible this year, Frith has curated a line-up of "extraordinary and extraordinarily intense players", including a rare trio show with David Toop and Steve Beresford; the three having known each other for decades but this being only their second show together in the past thirty years!
“Few contemporary musicians have explored as many different – and frequently overlapping – genres as Fred Frith: traditional folk, indie rock, free improv, chamber composition, po-mo retro, graphic scores, and several…that may not have a name yet.” – Art Lange, Point of Departure
Frith's work has ranged from ground-breaking avant-garde rock with Henry Cow and Art Bears to extended compositions for choirs, orchestras and saxophone quartets and collaborations with figures such as Mike Patton, John Zorn, Brian Eno, Ikue Mori and Derek Bailey. His highly individual approach to the guitar and use of extended and unorthodox techniques give his music a unique and at times disorienting sense of texture and space.
Frith's musicial journey started when he formed Henry Cow with Tim Hodgkinson in 1968, a legendary group that expanded the parameters of rock music to include complex compositional forms as well as improvised elements.
After moving to New York in 1979, Frith was a key figure in the downtown experimental music scene, his collaborations with Zorn, Laswell, Mori and others helping form an important new musical vernacular in which elements of rock, contempary composition, noise and improvisation overlapped and intertwined.
Since 1999 Frith has been Professor of Composition at Mills University, California. Recent projects have included duos with Anthony Braxton and Evelyn Glennie, collaborations with the Arte Quartett and choreographer Donna Uchizono, and numerous festival appearances in Europe and America.
“A masterful sound colorist, Frith is in no way subject to analyses of has artistic legitimacy - (he) redefines the possible uses of the guitar and makes traditional discourse irrelevant” – L.A. Herald Examiner (USA)
David Toop (born 1949) has been developing a practice that crosses boundaries of sound, listening, music and materials since 1970. This encompasses improvised music performance, writing, electronic sound, field recording, exhibition curating, sound art installations and opera. It includes seven acclaimed books, including Rap Attack (1984), Ocean of Sound (1995), Sinister Resonance (2010), Into the Maelstrom (2016) and forthcoming - Flutter Echo, a memoir first published in Japan in 2017 (May 2019) and Inflamed Invisible: Writing On Art and Sound 1976-2018 (2020). Briefly a member of David Cunningham’s pop project The Flying Lizards in 1979, he has released thirteen solo albums, from New and Rediscovered Musical Instruments on Brian Eno’s Obscure label (1975) and Sound Body on David Sylvian’s Samadhisound label (2006) to Entities Inertias Faint Beings (2016). His 1978 Amazonas recordings of Yanomami shamanism and ritual were released on Sub Rosa as Lost Shadows (2016). In recent years his collaborations include Rie Nakajima, Akio Suzuki, Tania Chen, John Butcher, Ken Ikeda, Elaine Mitchener, Henry Grimes, Sharon Gal, Camille Norment, Sidsel Endresen, Alasdair Roberts, Thurston Moore, Ryuichi Sakamoto and a revived Alterations, the iconoclastic improvising quartet with Steve Beresford, Peter Cusack and Terry Day first formed in 1977. Curator of sound art exhibitions including Sonic Boom at the Hayward Gallery (2000), his opera – Star-shaped Biscuit – was performed as an Aldeburgh Faster Than Sound project in 2012. He is currently Professor of Audio Culture and Improvisation at London College of Communication.
Steve Beresford has been a central figure in the British and international spontaneous music scenes for over forty years, freely improvising on the piano, electronics and other things with people like Derek Bailey, Evan Parker, Han Bennink, John Zorn and Alterations (with David Toop, Terry Day and Peter Cusack).
He has written songs, written for large and small ensembles, and scored short films, feature films, TV shows and commercials. He was part of the editorial teams of Musics and Collusion magazines, writes about music in various contexts and was a senior lecturer in music at the University of Westminster. With Blanca Regina, he is part of Unpredictable Series, which produces events and sound and video recordings of experimental music and art.
Steve has worked with Christian Marclay on numerous Marclay mixed media pieces. He has also worked with The Slits, Najma Akhtar, Stewart Lee, Ivor Cutler, Prince Far-I, Alan Hacker, Tania Chen, Ray Davies, Mandhira De Saram, The Flying Lizards, Zeena Parkins, Satoko Fukuda, The Portsmouth Sinfonia, Ilan Volkov, Rachel Musson, Vic Reeves, Sarah Gail Brand, Lore Lixenberg and many others.
Beresford has an extensive discography as performer, arranger, free-improviser, composer and producer, and was awarded a Paul Hamlyn award for composers in 2012.