Frigg — Frigg
(NorthSide NSD6079, 2002, CD)
by Jon Davis, Published 2004-09-01Not to be confused with the German Frigg, a jazz quartet led by guitarist Bert Wrede, this Finnish seven-piece is an acoustic fiddle orgy. Five members play fiddle at least part-time, bringing to mind JPP, but where that ensemble stays fairly traditional in their arrangements, Frigg brings a more eclectic, modern approach to the music, bringing in some American and Celtic flavors. It’s a little like an acoustic Värttinä set with multiple fiddles instead of singers. The rhythms are tricky, with accents likely to appear just about anywhere in a measure, giving the impression of shifting meters even when it’s really straight four or three. About half of the tunes are traditional and half original compositions, but for a non-Finn listening there seems little difference, which is not a bad thing. Aside from the fiddles, you get guitar, dobro, harmonium, mandolin, cittern, viola, and nyckelharpa, the traditional Swedish keyed violin. As if that weren’t enough, guests supply drums and percussion (very infrequently), accordion and piano. The dobro in particular lends an unexpected twist, with a little bluesy twang behind the lilting fiddles. And they have the good sense to vary the arrangements, so sometimes only a single instrument carries the tune, sometimes the whole crew, and various stages in between. If you haven’t overdosed on Nordic folk music yet, Frigg is a good addition to your collection.
Charles O'Meara (C.W. Vrtacek) RIP – A true musical original has left us. Charles O'Meara, who recorded under the name C.W. Vrtacek, was a wild-card musical talent, ranging from complex progressive rock to introspective modern compositions, with stops at many places inbetween. » Read more
Eurock Documentary Seeks Funding – We've been fans and fellow travelers with Archie Patterson and his Eurock project on the journey to discover great music. After many years of promoting and trying to spread the word,a new phase is beginning: a documentary film. Things like this don't just happen, and money does not magically appear to make it happen, so it's up to the fans to get it done. » Read more
Marty Balin RIP – One of the architects of the 60s psychedelic sound of San Francisco has died at the age of 76. Marty Balin was a singer, songwriter, and guitarist who was one of the founders of Jefferson Airplane. After the split of the original Airplane, Balin went on to form the highly successful Jefferson Starship. » Read more
Krautrock Documentary Seeks Funding – The next installment of the Progressive Warriors documentary series will focus on the vast body of music that falls under the banner of "krautrock." As most of our readers will know, previous films have tackled RIO and the Canterbury scene, as well as what we might call "mainstream" prog rock. » Read more
Ain Soph - Marine Menagerie & Five Evolved from Nine – The line between fusion and fuzak can be a very fine one, and Ain Soph walks that line like a drunken goat, stepping first on one side, then on the other, back and forth with dizzying frequency. I... (2006) » Read more