steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion

The Friction Brothers

Self-titled CD

Abstract on Black / Sort of Records

Genre: free improv, free jazz, experimental jazz

June 25 2008

The aptly named Friction Brothers specialize in abrasive free improv music derived from seemingly everything but the kitchen sink (though a cleaning brush makes the cut) - among the instruments employed on this disc, an espresso maker filter, a plastic foosball figure, and dry ice all show up. Even traditional instruments come with stipulations - the cello is played by a cheese slicer, the trumpet and trombone have been reduced to their mouthpieces, and the piano is played from within. These are familiar hijinks for those acquainted with the cast behind the madness - The Friction Brothers are avant-cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm, experimental percussionist Michael Zerang, and the Flying Luttenbachers' Michael Colligan. Heavily percussive in sound, this album tends towards the noisier end of things than your average Peter Brtzmann record, so these three tracks (all recorded live) will undoubtedly be limited in appeal to a very particular niche. Still, the shifting, scraping, and droning of this record makes for a compelling if challenging listen - moments of silence punctuate the outbursts of sound and noise, resulting in an unpredictable sonic experience that keeps you on the tip of your toes.


Fun Fact: If this sounds like your bag, keep an eye on Abstract on Black, Sort Of Records- new imprint devoted to improvised and free music.

Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 3 tracks, distributed by the label, released 2008]