Such is the amount and assortment of projects and biographic highlights provided by Fred Frith and Hans Koch that it is virtually impossible to keep the pace with their ceaseless appearances. Then again, do we really still need to talk about leading figures of the last 50 years or so? The answer is affirmative when we stumble upon an album that does not exactly obey to the expectations linked to the musician’s personality. You Are Here is that type of release.
For the occasion, the duo pursued a balance between the realm of shade and blur and the more in-your-face aspects of offhand manifestation. Their interplay is fluid and articulate, with rare openings to (controlled) discord. The listener is let in without obstacles; the sonority is never distressing, including the sections introducing a measure of agitation (case in point, “Immagine Prima”).
Some episodes are surprisingly quiet, characterized as they are by faraway reverberations and shifting densities. The aptly titled “Strange Is The Night Where Black Stars Rise” is an enticing example, based as it is on tenuous resonance rather than depiction of actual shapes. Other instances of “stimulating quietness” are to be found in “Road, Mirror, Forrest, Sea”, notwithstanding an increased tendency to arrhythmic phenomena and pronounced dynamic reversals.
Perhaps the most riveting aspect of this collection is represented by Frith and Koch’s ability in maintaining their personalities in sight in contexts where the music’s physiognomy is not that definite. The acoustic aura that surrounds the spontaneous interaction remains perceptible from a piece to the next in spite of evident gestural discrepancies.
Nothing else then but a strong recommendation – also to loyal disciples – to listen scrupulously to a record that justifies the worn-out adage “there’s more than meets the ears”. It is not a given that renowned artists produce valuable work every time they meet. But this time they truly did.