Monday, April 27, 2015

Simon Frick, Solo

To my knowledge I have never had the pleasure of hearing violinist Simon Frick before. He is an extremely adroit virtuoso with apparently considerable classical training. He puts that schooling into very distinctive use in a solo violin album that makes of the violin a rock vehicle.

Solo (Boomslang) begins with a most unusual version of Nirvana's anthem "Smells Like Teen Spirit" and goes on from there with a series of very metallic solo violin pieces, making excellent use of effects and it seems double-tracking to give us a powerful jolt.

Beneath it all are real virtuoso abilities. Much of the music has a cadenza-like quality but also a driving hard-rock heft. Not since Jerry Goodman's work with the Flock has so much violin gone into a rock setting. And here as a solo violin effort the virtuosity and the heavy aspects join together as a unified single-source power thrust.

There are clearly improvisational elements as well as worked-over compositional routines on display. And the whole thing works together to give you an iconoclastic, genre-bursting wholeness that is most impressive.

If you come out of the rock side, you will be flabbergasted. If you come out of the classical side you may be shocked. If you have been musically exposed to both camps you will not feel that this is a shotgun marriage of styles. It works so well because Frick stays true to the rootedness of his violin heritage as well as the hard-rock world he so successfully engages.

It is a real ear-opener! Maybe even an era-opener! You will undeniably get something out of this music wherever you come from. He is an artist, truly, an innovator, and a creative force that needs to be heard.

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