Fridge: Eph

Go Beat, 1999

Now then. Fridge are a London-based acoustic-electronic trio, but their kind of sound is impressively individual. The first track, “Ark,” gives a good idea. The initial impression is amateruish, with a home-keyboard chime loop, but that illusion is disspelled by a clattering ride cymbal loop. From there come eight structureless minutes of dicordant B-movie organs, a grinding drone and gradually building percussion, coming to a huge climax with a massive closing chord. Sounds horrible? Strangely, it isn’t. Other tracks include the humming, clicking vibraphone suite “Meum,” “Tuum,” and “Yttrium,” the latter underpinned by tastefully-used, subtly-mangled drum machines; the horror-filmic “Transience” in 5/4 with wailing chords and loose, booming rhythm; the almost catchy Of, a simple blend of Spanish guitar and chunky rhythm. The album closes with the majestic “Aphelion,” a formless ten-minute orchestral piece which mesmerises through its layers of lush strings and off-beat double-bass plucking. Fridge’s territory lies in dangerously “avant-garde” territory—a Wire Magazine kind of album—but don’t let that put you off, by any means. Eph skillfully treads the thin line between unoriginality and unlistenability. Buy it if you can find it.

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