Bill Frisell: Throughout




Bill Frisell (acoustic and electric guitars)


In Line (ECM 837 019-2 CD)

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Bill Frisell (acoustic and electric guitars).

Composed by Bill Frisell


Recorded: Talent Studio, Oslo, August 1982


Rating: 92/100 (learn more)

Bill Frisell embarked on a freelancing career in the late 1970s that found him performing in Boston, New York, and Belgium, the last of which he moved to briefly in 1978. While gigging throughout Europe, Frisell met ECM founder/producer Manfred Eicher, who, impressed by the young guitarist, invited him to become an unofficial “house guitarist” for the label in the late 1970s, appearing on such releases as Eberhard Weber’s Fluid Rustle and Later That Evening, Arild Andersen’s A Molde Concert, Paul Motian’s Psalm, and Jan Garbarek’s Paths, Prints. With these experiences in hand, Eicher invited Frisell to record as a leader for the ECM label in August of 1982, which resulted in the guitarist’s debut recording, In Line.

A lot can be learned of Frisell’s method and style from these initial recordings. To begin with, with the exception of bassist Arild Andersen’s accompaniment on five of the nine tracks, In Line is a solo performance, or, more accurately, multiple layers of Frisell’s guitar. On the bass-less “Throughout,” the guitarist sets a high precedent for his career-long concentration on mood and texture, achieved here with his combination of minimalist acoustic and electric guitars, the use of volume, delay and chorus pedals and his dichotomous presentation of the sheer beauty and simplicity of a folk-song melody and the presence of mysteriously dissonant intervals and tone clusters.

Even when playing along with himself, there’s a palpable playfulness and sense of spontaneity here – the joy of sailing into uncharted waters with the tapes rolling – that’s also a dependable feature of the Frisell experience.

Reviewer: Eric Novod

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