I had heard some good things about Fridge on a mailing list,
so i went and downloaded a couple of tracks from AudioGalaxy.
I really liked the music -- Fridge seemed to be a pretty cool
mellow electronic outfit.
However, it did not seem interesting enough for me to drag
myself to The Echo Lounge
on a Tuesday night to see Fridge open for Low. Quite honestly,
Low bore me -- their music is too slow for a live performance,
and the thought of moderately interesting elctronica followed
by ~yawn~ really slow guitarwork just made me think about naps.
So i declined.
Fortunately Tracers went. She heard Fridge, and thought "PostLibyan
would really get into this!" So she bought me this disc, and
i love it. Happiness is simply stunning, and now
i kick myself for skipping out on the show. Oh well.
Now, according to Tracer's commentary, Fridge aren't electronic.
They are an instrumental trio that uses some heavy production
techniques to process their recorded music. The end result is
both interestingly beat driven and organic feeling.
Listening closely to Happiness, it sounds like
the band stood in the studio and jammed out some mellow tunes
on drums, keyboards, and bass, then sort of re-mixed those.
The base music has a sort of improvised feel, and it's all
light and airy, and seems vaguely jazzy. Also, there are no
proper song titles. Rather, songs have descriptive names, like
Cut Up Piano And Xylophone, or Sample And Clicks,
or Long Singing. This makes seem as if they jammed out,
then assigned some descriptions to the jams, as opposed to composing
songs. Well, at least that is how it seems to me, someone who
has a very tentative grasp of the technical fundamentals of
Anyway, what i think happened here is that the band sat and
jammed out these really cool tunes, and then fed them into a
computer and played with them. This created songs that sound
electronic (like i had first thought), but preserved the real
liveliness of the original jam sessions.
I think that this means that not only are the three band members
talented musicians who work well together, but they are also
pretty good producers. (According to the sleeve, the trio did
all of the electronic manipulation themselves.) I hav heard
far too many albums where any "life" has been stripped
out of music by computers, and the fact that i still hear it
is a good thing.
At any rate, the end product is exceedingly well done. The
songs on this disc are just wonderful to sit and listen to.
In fact, there isn't really a clunker around. However, there
are a few that exceed even the high standards that Fridge have
Five Four Child Voice is probably the album's highlight.
It's a groovy little indie rock song of bass, drums, and keys.
Eventually, a quiet sample of some happy child singing and babbling
comes in. The drumming is excellent, and the bass and the keys
play off one another really nicely.
Another fine tune is Long Singing. It starts out with
an echoey drum riff and then layers light guitar and keys over
top. The drums are heavily effected, but they really work with
the light guitarwork. Eventually what sound like horns float
in, to be accompanied with some barely heard voice singing stretched
Long Singing sounds very Mogwai-like. In fact, it sounds
like what Mogwai for searching for on Rock
Action, but Fridge seem to achieve it better. I
have spent quite a bit of time trying to figure out why, and
i have no real answer. I guess it gets down to the fact that
Long Singing sounds more honest than anything off of
Rock Action, and that is a quality that i can
barely put my finger on. Then again, i have been kind of down
on Mogwai ever since that
generally disappointing concert of theirs i saw back in June,
so maybe that's part of it.
Another noteworthy song is Samples And Clicks, which
represents the more elctronic side of Fridge. (The stuff i downloaded
was similar to this.) They build some interesting simple beats,
and then layer really deep bass and some keys over it. It's
a nice little song, totally different than Long Singing,
but still very enjoyable.
And that is how i feel about this disc: it is well done and
tremendously enjoyable. The next time they play Atlanta, i will
make a point out of seeing them.