Seasonally-adjusted listening: it’s Bill Frisell time

Genre-defying: Bill Frisell

I have no doubt that seasonally-affected traits exist in terms of my listening habits. As soon as the spring weather rolls around, the stock of in-car listening discs changes from choral works and Tippett symphonies to Joni Mitchell albums and Debussy piano works.

And also to Bill Frisell. There’s something about his dusty, heat-haze-infused music that means it bursts anew from my disc collection in spring and summer, but goes into hibernation in the late autumn and winter months.

I love Frisell’s tape-loop trickery, his playing with repeated ostinati and improvisations over riffs and motifs generated from his own sampler, his genre-defying inventiveness: simply listen to his album, Unspeakable, to get an idea of just how many boundaries Frisell crosses with his music-making. The warm, shimmering haze of the opening track immediately speaks (no pun intended) of warmer climates, lazy days and the heat of summer.

Or there’s ‘Good Old People’ from The Intercontinentals, that puts you in mind of a porch-front jam session on a New England clap-board house.

I’m amid an eight-disc odyssey with the great guitarist, having lain them all aside since September last year, and I’m always hearing new things and being surprised anew each year how much I’ve missed them. My latest purchase is the excellent double album East-West, which has hardly been out of the CD player.

Spring is here, and it’s Frisell time: do not adjust your (head)sets.


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