With Friends Like These (Metalanguage) - 1979
Who Needs Enemies (Metalanguage) - 1983
(Reissued with extra tracks as With Enemies Like These, Who Needs Friends on Cuneiform)
Quirky and unrelenting. Frith and Henry Kaiser show how to use the guitar in a manner other than the way it was intended to be used, and how to have a dialogue in that language with great authority. One of the first albums to show me that very out avant can really
work, and can actually be catchy.
Stop Complaining (FMP) - 1991
Hans Reichel in duet with Frith Kazuhisa Uchihashi. Frith and Reichel take sound from subtle depths to raucous heights and back again. They display a sympathetic ear towards each other that can only be had through years of honing their craft, listening and playing as a single action. It's so fucking fun to go along for the ride...subtle and amazing.
Guitar Solos (Caroline) - 1974
(reissued several times, most recently, in 2002, on Fred Records)
A how-to guide on extended guitar
technique. If you play guitar (or even if you don't), this album will show you that more can be said on the instrument than you had ever imagined. Open you ears and let it pour in. "Hello Music" is your invitation!
Live at Loft Shinjuku (Floor Records) - 1982
It really captures the excitement of Fred, live
and unpredictable. Performed with Totsuzen Danball, a duo comprised of guitarist Shunji Tsutaki and Eiichi Tsutaki on organ and percussion. The have a very interesting groove all their own, and when Fred finds his space in the center, watch out... sparks ensue.
Live in Japan: The Guitars on the Table Approach (Recommended Records Japan) - 1982
Fred presented live, solo, with guitar firmly placed on a tabletop. If you have ever thought about what type of sounds can be produced using foreign objects on a guitar, this is the release for you. I t's hard to imagine what objects are being used at times, and even harder to imaging being able to control and shape these sounds into something both puzzling and beautiful.
Learn To Talk (Rift) - 1984
(Various reissues, slated for release on Fred Records in 2003)
Covering everything from formal Sousa marches to the most eclectic out improvisation, Frith and Tom Cora, as Skeleton Crew, present a document that is hard to imagine being produced by only two people. Two one-man bands communicating with their instruments better than most people can by talking. Exciting, enigmatic and surprising, this is the FINEST ROCK RECORD EVER MADE.
Step Across the Border (Rec/Rec) 1990
(Reissued by Fred Records, 2003)
This record takes the listener on a journey around a world of sound, quite literally, as Frith travels the United States and Europe, playing with a remarkable array of musicians, alarm clocks, seagulls and cars. The short list of artists who appear on the record, and the film of the same name, includes John Zorn, Bob Ostertag, Haco, Zeena Parkins, Tom Cora, Bill Laswell, Iva Bittova, Rene Lussier, Lars Hollmer, Tim Hodgkinson and Kevin Norton. This disc will push almost any listener in a new direction, regardless of what horizons they might already have.
Technology of Tears (SST) - 1988
(Issued on cd by SST in 1998, but with the final side of the double album omitted.)
Music for dance, and showing a side of Fred not often seen: sequenced compositions and a generally more electronic approach with a hard edge. With John Zorn, Christian Marclay, Jim Staley and Tenko. Amazing!
Read Mike Chamberlain's Interview with Fred Frith.
See the Fred Frith section at Squidco.