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.
Wolfgang Dauner RIP – Pianist Wolfgang Dauner, one of the pioneers of both European free jazz and jazz rock, has died at the age of 84. With his own groups and with the United Jazz+Rock Ensemble, his playing and compositions were a prominent presence in European jazz from the mid-60s until just recently. » Read more
Michael Allison RIP – Michael Allison, who since 1997 has been recording as Darshan Ambient, passed away on January 9th after a long and brave battle with cancer. He has been at at the forefront of the new ambient/electronic music scene, with over eighteen releases to his credit. » Read more
Neil Peart RIP – One of rock music's defining drummers has died at the age of 67. Neil Peart's work with Rush provided one of the templates for percussion in rock, and he certainly ranks in the top ten most influential drummers of the 20th Century. Peart retired from playing in 2015 due to health issues, and succumbed to brain cancer on January 7, 2020. » Read more
Joel Vandroogenbroeck RIP – Word has reached us of the death of Joel Vandroogenbroeck, best known as one of the founders of Brainticket, He also recorded electronic music under a variety of names. He was born August 25th, 1938 in Brussels, Belgium and died December 23, 2019 in Arlesheim, Switzerland, aged 81. » Read more