Exposé Online banner

Phideaux — Friction
(Bloodfish ZYZ-777, 1992, CD)

by Mike Ohman, Published 1996-08-01

Friction Cover artPhideaux (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.

Filed under: New releases, Issue 10, 1992 releases

Related artist(s): Phideaux

Latest news

2018-02-18
Didier Lockwood RIP – Word reaches us today of the death of one of France's great jazz musicians, violinist Didier Lockwood. His playing bridged many worlds, from traditional jazz to fusion to progressive rock, and his talent can be heard on recordings by Magma, Clearlight, Pierre Moerlen's Gong, and many more. Lockwood was 62. » Read more

2018-02-15
10 Years of Fruits de Mer - The Incomplete Angler – Those of you who are faithful followers of Exposé will know that we have been promoting Fruits de Mer and its side labels and releases from nearly its first year. Now music journalist and author Dave Thompson has written a book chronicling the past ten years as a celebration of this milestone. » Read more

2018-02-14
Tom Rapp RIP – Singer / songwriter Tom Rapp, best known with the band Pearls Before Swine, passed away on February 12, at the age of 70, after a battle with cancer. » Read more

2018-01-30
Bill Bruford Ventures into Uncharted Territory – Drum master Bill Bruford, veteran of some of the most creative bands in history (King Crimson, Yes, Genese, etc.), is sharing some of what he's learned about being a drummer and a musician in his new book, Uncharted: Creativity and the Expert Drummer, out on University of Michigan Press. » Read more

2018-01-18
Christian Burchard RIP – Multi-instrumentalist Christian Burchard, who founded the seminal band Embryo in 1969, has died at the age of 71. His January 17 passing was announced on the band's Facebook page. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Magma - "Les Voix" - Concert 1992 Douarnenez – Magma's Christian Vander has decided to follow in the footsteps of Frank Zappa, Andy Latimer, and others in an effort to fight the bootleggers, and has started his own record label AKT to release...  (1993) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues