CD Review by Dawoud Kringle
Simon Frick’s new CD, appropriately titled Solo was a present surprise. Frick composed, arranged, and produced this recording like a man on a mission.
Simon Frick was born in 1983 in Bludenz, Austria, and studied classical violin under Josef Sabaini and Werner Neugebauer, and jazz and improvised music under Andreas Schreiber at the Anton Bruckner Privatuniversität in Linz. He also delved into rock, experimental, free and contemporary music; and furthered his studies with Christoph Cech, Peter Madsen, Peter Herbert, Harry Sokal, Alan Praskin. Frick performs in different ensembles, playing experimental jazz, metal, contemporary music. He has performed at festivals, concert halls and clubs in New York, Santiago de Chile, Buenos Aires, Moscow, Teheran, Delhi, Istanbul, Shanghai, Vienna, Hamburg and others in the western and the eastern part of Europe. He composes and arranges most of his own music and teaches Jazz and Improvisation.
The CD opens with an almost Gypsy like violin attack, and then eases into the Nirvana hit song “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” Frick interprets it with an almost Paganini like treatment, drawing melody after melody out of the grunge rock classic.
“Moments” shows Frink using the looping pedal. He starts with a percussive figure over which he builds the song. The song itself has an engaging feel; almost like something Sting would have done.
The third track, “ATWA,” Begins with a ostinanto that almost sounds like a cello and violin duet. This turns out to be a loop over which a solo voice emerges. Suddenly, a startling machine gun like flurry smashes its way through the song, destroying everything in its path like a drunken Nordic death metal band. The former figure tries to take its place and is again driven back. The song ends abruptly.
“Don’t Damn Me” starts with the violin emitting a flute like tone. This gives way to a bass guitar type loop with the violin soloing through a wah pedal. The song takes the violin through a variety of moods, some simple, and some weird electronic abstractions.
Frick takes the listener through a vast labyrinth of sound and musical textures. He seemed intent upon proving the violin is capable of things few had ever envisioned. And he succeeds. The whole CD has a great many things to offer.