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Smash & Scatteration

3 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Audio CD, January 1, 2002
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Editorial Reviews

By the time he recorded this deliriously oddball 1984 encounter, Bill Frisell had developed his signature haunting, haltering sound in recordings with Paul Motian and others. Hints of his later excursions into Americana and other unlikely fields of modernist jazz expansion are heard here and, strikingly, are enthusiastically joined by the raunchier Reid, who was en route from Defunkt and Decoding Society to his own successful funk-rock outfit, Living Colour. Frisell's pieces rollick and jog along at one moment, then sing languidly and sweetly at another, his bent and splayed electric guitar complemented by his jaunty acoustic guitar and the strange sonorities of the guitar synth. With Reid's wonderful counterpoint--a more raw guitar, squiggling electronics, synth drums beats, and an occasional hoe-downing banjo--the results are highly compelling. --Peter Monaghan

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Landscapes In Alternitave History
  2. Size 10 1/2 Sneaks
  3. Amarillo, Barbados
  4. Last Nights Of Paris
  5. Burden Of Dreams
  6. Dark Skin
  7. Fr, Fr, Frisell
  8. Small Hands
  9. Black Light

Product Details

  • Audio CD (January 1, 2002)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Rykodisc
  • ASIN: B0000009MW
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #131,499 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
This is an album made by two guitar playing friends from very different worlds (Frisell from the jazz world and Reid best known from the heavy progressive metal band, Living Color). You can picture them jamming in Bill's apartment and throwing this together over a few late nights with the lights down low.
I was introduced to this album while I was in college, by an older guitar head I was jamming jazz and blues with - it seemed a rather approporiate album given the nature of our musical friendship. He gave me this on tape along with John Zorn's Naked City (also a cool investment).
If you're a fan of Bill Frisell, this unknown gem is worth the look. His stylings are all over the album - the playful, country-tinged guitar, ever present optimism and enough quirkiness to keep it interesting. Fans accustomed to Vernon Reid may find this a bit of a challenge. Along with his usual "Hendrix meets Ornette Coleman" barrages of electric guitar, Reid takes up banjo (e.g. Size 10 1/2 Sneakers), clean jazz comping and outer-worldly distortion freakouts.
The only thing that dates this album a bit is the use of a cheap beat box for rhythm and chintzy analog synths, but with the continuing retro kick in dance music, it is starting to sound almost hip these days.
In the end, this won't be an album you listen to every day (and it certainly won't make for the next dinner party). But after ten years in the collection, I still like listening to it (which I have a harder time saying for other 'esoteric' albums that are gathering dust).
Recommeded for: fans of Frisell, Bill Laswell or Pat Metheny's weirder stuff, fans of darker mood music, guitarists of broad tastes who want to see what two players can do together.
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Format: Audio CD
"Smash & Scatteration" is the meeting of two unlikely guitar greats. Bill Frisell came from the ECM school of rock infused jazz while Vernon Reid was Living Color's hard rocker. I approached this album as a Frisellian. Bill Frisell's work in the 1980s was progressive for the time period, but his sound didn't mature until the late 1990s. Released in 1984, "Smash & Scatteration" is no exception. As a whole, it sounds painfully dated. In particular, the drum machine really kills the project. The rhythm sounds like it was performed on a drum pad that could have been played on a twenty dollar Casio keyboard. In the rare moments without drum synths, the playing ranges between good and unlistenable. There is a blend of electric and acoustic material. Some tracks are enjoyable while others play 80s avant-garde or Miami Vice sounding pop. The 1980s were a decade that saw the use of audio technologies that went out of style as quickly as they were developed and adopted. Long time Frisellians will appreciate that this release features 'Amaillo, Barbados,' a track that Bill played on the second Ginger Baker Trio album. Threre's no doubt that this duo would sound better on a contemporary reunion. Indeed, these guys get a big "E" for the effort they invested into such an interesting project. As it stands, "Smash & Scatteration" is a curious but unfruitful experiment.
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