Phideaux — Friction
(Bloodfish ZYZ-777, 1992, CD)
by Mike Ohman, Published 1996-08-01Phideaux (pronounced like "Fido") is New York singer/composer/multi-instrumentalist Phideaux Xavier. His debut release, Friction, is a dense and quite impressive piece of work. Featuring something in the region of twenty guest players, and packaged strikingly (if somewhat pretentiously) with a rather cumbersome 24-page booklet richly illustrated with original artwork, Friction is quite some effort for a debut disc. Friction covers a lot of stylistic ground over its 22 tracks and 76 minutes. Certain tracks such as "The Odyssey" are spotlights for Phideaux's Steve Hillage-like guitar playing, while others like "Love of a Million Doves" and "Aquamarine" feature mostly acoustic backing, lots of cello and saxophone, pointing to a possible Renaissance influence. His own calming baritone voice graces many of the tracks, though he's often joined by a few female vocalists, often singing lead along with, or instead of him. Most of the pieces are highly arranged, the one exception being the claustrophobic "Claw the Land," the simple arrangement complementing the dark lyrical content. Elsewhere are avant-garde sound collages ("Menace"), indescribable folk-influenced pieces ("Letters to the Tiger") and MIDI-heavy techno. It's the last style which is least likely to appeal to Exposé readers. Also, the occasional use of a drum machine in lieu of real drums on a few pieces weakens otherwise strong tracks like "Resurrection Pact" and "Wake up Little Beauties" somewhat. Due to its great length and astounding stylistic variety, it's a bit of a commitment to put Friction on and listen to it all the way through. It helps to think of it as a bit of a sketchbook of musical ideas, which for all intents and purposes, it is. For someone who has just burst onto the scene, it's surprising that Phideaux should attempt something of such magnitude and scope. And heartening when one thinks of the possibilities of future releases.
Related artist(s): Phideaux
First ProgStock Festival Set for October – October 2017 will see the inaugural edition of a festival called ProgStock in Rahway, New Jersey at the Union County Performing Arts Center. With a definite slant towards neo-progressive music, the event is sure to please many fans with the inclusion of such artists as Echolyn, Glass Hammer, and Aisles. The festival will take place October 13-15. » Read more
Clive Brooks RIP – Word reaches us today of another sad passing in the music world. Drummer Clive Brooks, best known as a member of such Canterbury bands as Egg, Uriel / Arzachel, and Groundhogs, has died at the age of 67. Details are sketchy at this point. The news was reported on Nick Mason's Facebook page — Brooks was Mason's drum tech. » Read more
Col. Bruce Hampton RIP – The phrase "He died doing what he loved" is almost a cliche, but in the case of Col. Bruce Hampton, it couldn't be more true. Hampton, who was born Gustav Berglund III, collapsed on stage at his own 70th birthday celebration and later passed away. The event took place at the Fox Theater in Atlanta. » Read more
ProgDay 2017 Announces First Bands – Flor de Loto, Sonar, and Infinien are the first three performers to be announced for the 2017 edition of the long-running ProgDay Festival. The 23rd ProgDay takes place Saturday and Sunday, September 2nd and 3rd, at Storybook Farm in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. » Read more