Album Review

Frisell, Bill – “All Hat” [sdtk] – [Emarcy Records]

ArtCrimes   7/14/2009   CD, Soundtrack

Bill Frisell is no stranger to music scoring at this point, having created full-length scores for both period-piece silent films (Buster Keaton) and contemporary films. Having not seen “All Hat,” it would be inappropriate for me to consider whether this is in fact successful music in its original context, but as a collection of 31 (mostly short) instrumental tracks on an audio CD, I can report that the music doesn’t stray too far from the Americana-laced work Frisell has pursued at greater length on his own albums, especially those that feature him in the company of players that can actually play country convincingly. That’s the case here, with Viktor Krauss (bass) and Greg Leisz (steel, mandolin) playing it pretty straight while Frisell uses banjo and acoustics and electrics with varying degrees of signal processing (his use of looping is evident throughout and distortion is used for a change of moodat times). Jenny Scheinman (violin) and Scott Amendola (drums) add some non-traditional edges. He even does some fake “mainstream country” on #23, a resetting of the traditional “John Hardy” as might be heard on a bar jukebox (“John Hardy” gets a variety of treatments here: #1, #6, #17, #23, #31). Get yer music beds here… PGM: SOME TRACKS SEGUE! Preview as necessary. (((crimes)))

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