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Frith, Fred / Hans Koch: You Are Here (Intakt)

Two commanding players from the UK & European improv scene who have consistently pushed the envelope in free improvisation--electric & prepared guitarist Fred Frith and saxophonist/bass clarinetist Hans Koch--present an album of assertive interactions, merging alien environments with amazing technical playing and inexplicable approaches to sound - superb!

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product information:

UPC: 7640120192860

Label: Intakt
Catalog ID: Intakt 286
Squidco Product Code: 24130

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2017
Country: Switzerland
Packaging: Jewel Case
Recorded at the Jazz Campus, Basel, Switzerland / April 23/24, 2016.


Fred Frith-guitar, objects

Hans Koch-bass clarinet, soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone

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Artist Biographies:

"Though the point of reference for many remains the iconic band Henry Cow, which he co-founded in 1968 and which broke up more than 30 years ago, Fred Frith has never really stood still for an instant.

In bands such as Art Bears, Massacre, Skeleton Crew, Keep the Dog, Tense Serenity, the Fred Frith Guitar Quartet, Eye to Ear, and most recently Cosa Brava, he has always held true to his roots in rock and folk music, while exploring influences that range from the literary works of Eduardo Galeano to the art installations of Cornelia Parker.

The release of the seminal Guitar Solos in 1974 enabled him to simultaneously carve out a place for himself in the international improvised music scene, not only as an acclaimed solo performer but in the company of artists as diverse as Han Bennink, Chris Cutler, Jean-Pierre Drouet, Evelyn Glennie, Ikue Mori, Louis Sclavis, Stevie Wishart, Wu Fei, Camel Zekri, John Zorn, and scores of others.

He has also developed a personal compositional language in works written for Arditti Quartet, Asko Ensemble, Bang on a Can All-Stars, Ensemble Modern, Concerto Köln, and ROVA Sax Quartet, for example. Fred has been active as a composer for dance since the early 1980s, working with choreographers Bebe Miller, François Verret, and especially long-time collaborator and friend Amanda Miller, with whom he has created a compelling body of work over the last twenty years.

His film soundtracks (for award-winning films like Thomas Riedelsheimer's Rivers and Tides and Touch the Sound, Peter Mettler's Gambling, Gods, and LSD, and Deborah Kaufman and Alan Snitow's Thirst, to name a few) won him a lifetime achievement award from Prague's "Music on Film, Film on Music" Festival (MOFFOM) in 2007. The following year he received Italy's Demetrio Stratos Prize (previously given to Diamanda Galas and Meredith Monk) for his life's work in experimental music, and in 2010 was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Huddersfield in his home county of Yorkshire.

Fred currently teaches in the Music Department at Mills College in Oakland, California (renowned for over fifty years as the epicenter of the American experimental tradition), and in the Musik Akademie in Basel, Switzerland."

-Fred Frith Website (

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"Hans Koch plays bass clarinet and soprano saxophone. He has played alongside of musicians such as Cecil Taylor, Evan Parker, Fred Frith, Paul Lovens, Barry Guy, Barre Phillips, Phil Minton, Peter Kowald, Hans Reichel, Tom Cora, Jim O'Rourke, Fennesz, Elliott Sharp, Anthony Coleman, DJ M. Singe, Voicecrack, Günter Müller, Jean-Marc Montera, and Joëlle Léandre in Europe, America, and Asia-and still managed to maintain his association with the Koch-Schütz-Studer Trio. He has put out compact discs on various labels." (Dame, Ambiances Magnetiques) (

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.
track listing:

1. Just A Crack 8:02

2. Strange Is The Night Where Black Stars Rise 12:57

3. Exercises Chronologiques 6:14

4. Lots Out Of Large 6:20

5. Immagine Prima 1:36

6. Road, Mirror, Forest, Sea 11:43

7. Ever Wonder 7:16
sample the album:

descriptions, reviews, &c.

"Fred Frith is a world renowned improvisor, composer and multi-instrumentalist who has positioned himself on the contemporary music scene between rock and jazz, improvisation and compostition. Experimental saxophonist and bass clarinetist Hans Koch has a similarly superb reputation. In the past few years Hans has dedicated himself to the quieter side of improvisation.

Both musicians have extended the possibilities of their instruments and stepped into new territories. The pair have known each other since the Nineties. As a guest, Frith took part in the "hardcore chamber music" of trio Koch-Schütz-Studer.

On the new album You Are Here they create intriguing sound worlds and fascinating tone structures purely by improvising. It is the music of two mature masters who have worked all their life to develop their own musical language. The duo allows them to make full use of their artistic capability to the great pleasure of the listener."-Intakt Records

"Natty Bumppos both, Fred Frith and Hans Koch were pioneers on their respective instruments in the realm of free improvisation who have seen firsthand the changes decades have wrought on the idiom. Like the hero of James Fennimore Cooper's Leatherstocking Saga the career longevity of Frith and Koch has sometimes led to them being forgotten or passed over for younger facsimiles. Neither is the sort to go congenially into obscurity and both have pushed back through reliably expanding discographies over the years. You Are Here is an excellent placeholder of their partnership and felicitous reminder for listeners of their present creative improvised music coordinates.

Recorded on a spring day in Basel, Switzerland last year the seven free improvisations are recalcitrant and uncompromising from the jump. Koch jockeys between bass clarinet, soprano and tenor saxophones and there's good reason why the fourth instrumental entry next to his name is "spit". Viscous rivulets of saliva pass back and forth regularly through the mouthpiece and tubes of his implements adding glottal and sibilant accents to the alien reed-borne creations. Frith is similarly ruthless on his guitar, affixing it with various preparations and only rarely playing it with anything resembling conventionality.

"Just a Crack" features oscillating drones conjured on amplified strings and avian soprano with form arising fleetingly in favor of an overarching aqueous presence. The specific dimensions of the performance space are a mystery, but Frith fills them with vast clouds of rumbling sound. "Strange Is the Night Where Black Stars Rise" echoes the ominousness of its title as slabs of angry feedback collide and converge with the distortions of booming tenor overtones. Even when moving together at volumes that amount to a collective murmur, Frith and Koch bring the ambient existential menace.

Percussive reed plosives open "Exercises Chronologiques" with answers from Frith's metallic scrapes and percolating investigations with amplification. Koch carves out an increasingly frenetic corner on tenor as his colleague hammers away on the body of a guitar. A weird reverie ensues with Frith playing an almost-melody, dipped in dulcet electricity the nimbus of an underlying drone audible around the edges. Koch engineers a Doppler reed whistle in response, scraping the limit of sensory perception. The sonorous mirage is summarily shattered in a cascade of intemperate dissonance.

"Lots Out Large" finds Koch's bass clarinet navigating a floating firmament of percussive ephemera, fragments of quixotically tuneful phrasing interspersing with serrated reed slurs and piercing peals of noise. Frith moves between similar extremes, thumping out a tumbling rhythm alongside Koch's ululations. Audience-oriented amenities appear but an afterthought in these sorts of heated and headlong exchanges with both players trusting that anyone signing on for the ride will be willing to forgo assumptions in favor of the attendant rewards attainable in wherever the pair undergo. It's an unspoken, unwritten compact, but one that's been a reliable bargain throughout their careers just as it remains here."-Derek Taylor, Dusted Magazine

Get additional information at Dusted Magazine
Related Categories of Interest:

Improvised Music
Free Improvisation
European Improvisation and Experimental Forms
London & UK Improv & Related Scenes
Duo Recordings
Instruments with Preparations
Recordings by or featuring Reed & Wind Players
Frith, Fred
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