Prints (album)

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Prints
FredFrith AlbumCover Prints(2002).jpg
Studio album by Fred Frith
Released 2002 (2002)
Recorded 1987–2001
Genre
Length 41:36
Label Fred (UK)
Producer Fred Frith
Fred Frith chronology
Accidental
(2002)
Prints
(2002)
Rivers and Tides
(2003)

Prints: Snapshots, Postcards, Messages and Miniatures, 1987–2001 is a 2002 album by English guitarist, composer and improvisor Fred Frith, and his first album of songs since Cheap at Half the Price (1983). It comprises four tracks taken from previously released compilations that Frith had contributed to between 1987 and 1997, seven tracks that were "created spontaneously"[1] in the studio in 1997 and 2001, and one live guitar improvisation in 2001. The album was released on CD in 2002 on Fred Records and was the second release in Frith's archival release program on the record label.

Content[edit]

Compilation tracks[edit]

"Trains & Boats & Planes" and "The Ballad of Melody Nelson" are two cover songs Frith recorded for the Tzadik tribute CDs, Great Jewish Music: Burt Bacharach (1997) and Great Jewish Music: Serge Gainsbourg (1997) respectively. "The Ballad of Melody Nelson (La Ballade de Melody Nelson)" is about Gainsbourg's fictional character, Melody Nelson, and is sung by Frith in the original French. "Life of a Detective" was recorded with the 5uu's in 1990 and appeared on Place of General Happiness (1993). "True Love" was recorded in 1987 and was released on a Shimmy Disc compilation, The 20th Anniversary of the Summer of Love (1987).

Improvisations[edit]

The tracks "Stones", "Fingerprints", "Trocosi", "Levity", "I Want it to be Over" and "In the Winter of '64" were recorded for a WDR radio production by Alexander Schuhmacher in January 1997. Frith explained how the pieces were created:[1]

"Reduce Me" was recorded four years later using the same approach described above. "Spot" was a live guitar improvisation by Frith recorded in July 2001 where he used a live sampler to dynamically capture and loop guitar sounds.

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic4/5 stars[2]
LeonardoFavourable[3]

In a review of Prints for AllMusic, François Couture described it as "a very fine album, ... truly enjoyable", and "much friendlier to the listener" than Frith's Cheap at Half the Price, which Couture in turn called "the best tongue-in-cheek take at the New Wave".[2] He said Prints is "[h]ighly recommended", adding that the improviser's "humor and pop sensibility" contributes to its success.[2]

In the MIT Press journal, Leonardo, Stefaan van Ryssen wrote that the recording process of Prints give the tracks an "immediacy and urgency".[3] He described "Stones" as a waltz, "limping as if hit in the leg by a bullet", and "I Want it to be Over" as a "miniature drama" with improvisation that is "top class". Van Ryssen said the pieces are deceptively simple, but repeated listening reveals that the relationship between the samples and instruments is "subtle and never obvious", and they leave one "[in] awe at what a master improviser can do in real time".[3]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks composed by Fred Frith excepted where noted.

No.TitleLength
1."Trains & Boats & Planes" (Burt Bacharach, Hal David)5:07
2."Stones"2:02
3."Fingerprints"3:50
4."Life of a Detective" (Fred Frith, Earnest Noyes Brookings)3:13
5."The Ballad of Melody Nelson" (Serge Gainsbourg)2:01
6."Trocosi"4:36
7."Reduce Me"5:48
8."Levity"2:36
9."True Love"2:56
10."I Want it to be Over"3:01
11."Spot"4:38
12."In the Winter of '64"1:48

Track notes[edit]

  1. From Great Jewish Music: Burt Bacharach (1997, Tzadik)
    • Recorded at Jankowski Studio, Esslingen, Germany, 1996
  2. Recorded at Jankowski Studio, Esslingen, Germany, January 1997
  3. Recorded at Jankowski Studio, Esslingen, Germany, January 1997
  4. From Place of General Happiness (1993, Modern Variety Music)
  5. From Great Jewish Music: Serge Gainsbourg (1997, Tzadik)
    • Recorded at Jankowski Studio, Esslingen, Germany, 1997
  6. Recorded at Jankowski Studio, Esslingen, Germany, January 1997
  7. Recorded at Jankowski Studio, Esslingen, Germany, 2001
    • Text: The Guardian, July 2001, "Afghan woman returns home after ten years of exile"
  8. Recorded at Jankowski Studio, Esslingen, Germany, January 1997
  9. From The 20th Anniversary of the Summer of Love (1987, Shimmy Disc)
  10. Recorded at Jankowski Studio, Esslingen, Germany, January 1997
  11. Recorded at Jankowski Studio, Esslingen, Germany, July 2001
  12. Recorded at Jankowski Studio, Esslingen, Germany, January 1997

Personnel[edit]

  • Fred Frith – all instruments (except those listed below), voice
  • Bernd "Lönsch" Lehmann (2,3) – clarinet, tenor saxophone
  • Mike Johnson (4) – principal voice
  • Dave Kerman (4) – backup voice
  • Sebastian Gramms (6) – acoustic bass
  • Alexandra Schulz (7) – additional voice
  • Sheena Dupuis (9) – backing vocal

Sound and artwork[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Frith, Fred. Prints: Snapshots, Postcards, Messages and Miniatures, 1987–2001 CD liner notes.
  2. ^ a b c Couture, François. "Prints: Snapshots, Postcards, Messages and Miniatures, 1987–2001". AllMusic.com. Retrieved 2011-06-20.
  3. ^ a b c van Ryssen, Stefaan (2005). "Prints, Snapshots, Postcards, Messages and Miniatures 1987-2001 (review)". Leonardo. 38 (1): 77 – via Project MUSE. (Subscription required (help)).

External links[edit]