Stone, Brick, Glass, Wood, Wire — Graphic Scores (1986-96)

Fred Frith




Programme notes

The graphic scores of Stone, Brick, Glass, Wood, Wire consist of a series of pictures taken by Frith himself of a variety of inanimate objects, from stone paving, brick walls, and windows, to stacks of logs and high voltage cables. As the images have been chosen for the patterns and repetitions they contain, each photograph comes with a set of instructions for the musicians on how to visually and musically interpret those same patterns. Ruptures in the patterns (such as spots of paint or leaves on the sand) guide soloists and define instrumental groupings. Usually, time is read from left to right and pitch, vertically. Under Frith’s direction, with wide latitude for the interpretation of the proceedings given to each musician, the resulting music was a form of structured improvisation. Dave Lynch at AllMusic wrote: “At its best, structured improvisation can provide a guiding context that enhances, rather than limits, the impact of the improvisations themselves. Such is the case with Stone, Brick, Glass, Wood, Wire, some of the best photographs you ever heard.”