The Happy End Problem

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The Happy End Problem
FredFrith AlbumCover HappyEndProblem(2006).jpg
Studio album by Fred Frith
Released 2006 (2006)
Recorded 2003 and 2004
Studio Guerrilla Recordings, Oakland, California
Genre Experimental rock
Length 51:13
Label Fred (UK)
Producer Fred Frith
Fred Frith chronology
The Happy End Problem
Back to Life
Music for Dance series chronology
The Happy End Problem
Nowhere, Sideshow, Thin Air

The Happy End Problem (Music for Dance Volume 5) is a studio album by English guitarist, composer and improvisor Fred Frith, and is the fifth of a series of Music for Dance albums he made. It comprises two suites composed in 2003 by Frith "for flute, bassoon, gu zheng, percussion, violin and electronics"[1] and was recorded in 2003 and 2004.


The two suites on the album, "Imitation" and "The Happy End Problem" were composed by Frith for small ensembles of six and seven musicians. They were originally commissioned in 2003 by choreographer Amanda Miller for two dances for her The Pretty Ugly Dance Company. Both suites premiered at the Stadttheater in Freiburg, Germany, "The Happy End Problem" in May 2003 and "Imitation" in April 2004.

In "The Happy End Problem" Frith drew on elements from Igor Stravinsky's 1910 ballet, Firebird Suite. "Imitation" focused on Oriental elements and played on the Western world's perception of Japan. At the time, the shakuhachi player, Kikutsubo Day was a student of Frith's at Mills College in the United States, and he constructed "Imitation" around her playing.


Professional ratings
Review scores
All About Jazz4.5/5 stars[2]

A reviewer at Sea of Tranquility summed up the album with the following comment:[4]

"Overall two highly accomplished and fascinating pieces of music, more perhaps for the classical enthusiast than the progger."

Track listing[edit]

  1. "Imitation"
    1. "Ukon" (Frith) – 6:18
    2. "Kira" (Frith) – 5:37
    3. "Kio" (Frith, Scanlon) – 2:33
    4. "Tan" (Frith, Scanlon) – 3:05
    5. "Shi--o" (Frith) – 1:33
    6. "Beni" (Frith) – 3:52
    7. "Kasumi" (Frith) – 2:15
    8. "Sumi" (Frith) – 1:12
    9. "Hanabira" (Frith, Scanlon) – 3:48
  2. "The Happy End Problem" (Frith) – 21:00


Sound and artwork[edit]

  • "Imitation" recorded at Guerrilla Recordings, Oakland, California, February 2004
  • "The Happy End Problem" recorded at Guerrilla Recordings, Oakland, California, February 2003
  • Engineered, mixed and mastered by Myles Boisen
  • Artwork by Tom Kurth


  1. ^ Frith, Fred. "Fred Frith compositions". Fred Frith homepage. Archived from the original on 2011-03-12. Retrieved 2007-03-06. 
  2. ^ Kelman, John. "The Happy End Problem". All About Jazz. Retrieved 2015-11-24. 
  3. ^ Couture, François. "The Happy End Problem". AllMusic. Retrieved 2012-03-29. 
  4. ^ Barnes, Richard. "Frith, Fred: The Happy End Problem". Sea of Tranquility. Retrieved 2007-04-24. 

External links[edit]