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Richter 858 Hybrid SACD - DSD

5 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Hybrid SACD - DSD, February 8, 2005
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Editorial Reviews

In 2002 Bill Frisell was commissioned by producer David Breskin to create the music for an elaborate art book project on the great German painter Gerhard Richter. The book, RICHTER 858, was published in connection with a comprehensive US retrospective of Richter's work, although it focused entirely on a recent series of eight small abstract paintings numbered 858 1–8. There were poems, essays, superb reproductions of the works, and Frisell's music on an inserted CD -- one piece for each painting. When Songlines' owner Tony Reif was approached about releasing the recording he suggested enhancing the music in two ways: remastering it from analogue to DSD for maximum sound quality as an SACD, and creating a CD-ROM slideshow that would present the paintings and their details together with the pieces they'd inspired, demonstrating analogies between visual art and music that Breskin and Frisell had been working with.

In fact this music is a departure for Frisell, although it builds on musical friendships going back years or decades. Having discussed the possibility of a project with strings since the '80s, Breskin and Frisell settled on the basic sound, electric guitar and three acoustic strings, and on the players -- gifted, far-ranging improvisers who would relish the aesthetic challenge. After viewing the paintings in a private showing and finding out more about Richter, Frisell set about composing. A few months later Breskin and the band rendezvoused in Seattle and after a couple of days' rehearsal the music was recorded in a live mix to 1" analogue in just one day by master engineer Joe Ferla. There's a density to the music, a layered quality, and performance strategies that all clearly relate to Richter's art. But Frisell's RICHTER 858 also stands on its own as an evocative suite that straddles jazz and contemporary new music, moving between musical abstraction and something more melodic and "representational," from extremes of dissonance, energy and noise to darkly serene meditations. Inspired by the whole process, Frisell has since written much more for the band, which premiered this music January 11/03 at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, has recorded as the string section of his latest Nonesuch project Unspeakable, and is undertaking its first US tour as the 858 Quartet in February.

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (February 8, 2005)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Hybrid SACD - DSD
  • Label: Songlines
  • ASIN: B00077CYL4
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #419,759 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

33 of 35 people found the following review helpful By greg taylor VINE VOICE on February 13, 2005
Format: Audio CD
In recent years, I have read some reviews that chastised Bill Frisell for making music that is a little too accessible. Any fears that we might have that he will engage in that kind of nonsense on this CD are put gloriously to rest during the first two minutes of play.

The opening is two minutes of electronic distortion, skittering extended techniques on string instruments and oddball humor. Delightful. Out of that emerges a strumming guitar followed by Ivesian melodies by the string section.

I recently remarked in a review of a Dresser-Uitti CD that I felt that creative improvised music was experiencing a string instrument renaissance. Part of that renaissance is a renewal of interest in the string trio/quartet as a medium for improvised music. Early efforts in that renaissance were made by Henry Threadgill, Anthony Braxton, Julius Hemphill and Oliver Lake (of course- that particular quartet of individuals started the music off in so many directions). In the last decade, Tristan Honsinger and Ig Henneman have made fascinating contributions to the quartet form while the Arcado String Trio and the Amsterdam String Trio have explored a nearby sonic world.

The delight of this particular CD is the conceit of using Frisell's guitar and electronics in lieu of one of the traditional violins. The other players are Jenny Scheinman on the violin, Eyvind Kang on the viola and Hank Roberts on the cello. The eight pieces are inspired by eight paintings in a series by Gerhard Richter. The CD's booklet has very nice reproductions of the paintings and interviews with both Frisell and producer David Breskin who oversaw the whole project. The interviews tell you much about the creative process that was involved.

I find this to be mostly a very successful piece of music.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Reader VINE VOICE on May 12, 2010
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I picked this up because I like the guitar work of Mr. Frisell and The NY Times had a review of a concert performance of a group led by Frisell called "858"

I had no idea what I was getting. It is a group of musical pieces (tone poems?) composed in response to a group of paintings by Richter. The liner notes include pictures of the paintings. When I plugged the disc into my computer, two CD icons came up. One was a typical icon for musical recordings, and I copied that into my computer memory. The other icon produced a slide show of the paintings, full screen on my computer display and they were beautiful. At the same time the music played in my computer speakers.

I have not the musical vocablulary or knowledge to describe the music. Some of the liner notes compare it to Philip Glass. The first cut starts as (to me) pure noise. But the left side of the picture is kind of chaotic and jarring. This moves into other, kinder sounds.

Each painting is different, and each of the eight musical reactions is different. Rarely did I hear any kind of melody. But they are all interesting and worth replaying, while carefully looking at the paintings.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Drusca on June 7, 2005
Format: Audio CD
Most interesting and adventurous work Frisell's released in almost a decade. Dissonant and abstract. Parts resemble Bartok's string quartet writing. One for those of us who have grown quite bored with the pentatonic blues licks and the static vamps.

Thanks Songlines for putting this out, and for doing such a comprehensive job in presenting the project.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Case Quarter VINE VOICE on January 17, 2007
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
i bought this cd about a year ago for the birthday of a friend who is a fan of richter. when i listened to it, not having a cd-rom set up then, i looked at the photos of richter's painting while frisell's composition played, and i imagined the music corresponding to the paintings, much in way i have with other artist-musician collaborations, disney's the socerer's apprentice and jackson pollock painting to jazz. frisell's accomplishment was sufficiently pleasing for me to put my own purchase on the backburner.

this week i bought richter 858 and put the cd immediately on my player and continued doing things around the house. what i didn't hear during my previous listening: frisell's cd reminds me of of miles davis' bitches brew and later cds of miles work, aura and siesta, with just a touch of frisell's rock.a.billy hokey music, there, i suppose, as frisell's signature.

frisell's cd's have never topped my list of jazz guitarists. however, this one is worth consideration. definitely an excellent addition to electronic jazz.
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7 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Melvin S. Stanforth on August 14, 2005
Format: Audio CD
If you know the many faces of the German painter, Gerhard Richter, you need to be advised that this music focuses on one of those faces.
The sounds are more discomfitting than are RIchter's paintings, it is that RIchter is seen through the ears of Frisell. The sounds are about pain. A pain that flows through the past 60 years of European/USA history. Listen to this, look at the images that affect Frisell's sounds.
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