Dirty Math review in Guitar Techniques October 2013
We love to hear material from our readers, particularly when it offers something away from the mainstream blues or rock formulas and this album from Tom Fryer is just that. This CD arrived unannounced from Australia and features Tom on fretted and fretless guitars in seven instrumental excursions with the aid of Christopher Hale on bass and Ryan Menezes on drums.
While it reflects some of the attitude and ambient attack of early Allan Holdsworth with the Bruford band this set offers loads of originality within its spacious framework. You're never allowed to dwell anywhere for long as the music twists and turns, flowing from track to track. Often commencing from a relatively simple riff the feel and intensity soon varies yet you're continually caught in the foray, and that's what's most striking about this album. The interplay between the musicians is very effective and as the listener you're made to feel part of the whole experience. If you like your music unpredictable and sonically diverse then take a sample listen at … :-) and remember not to confuse this trio with the Brit based Tom Fryer Band.
Independent Review by Jonathan Dimond
"Dirty Math" documents some of Fryer's most characteristic and well-loved originals, delivered with his masterful trio of Chris Hale (bass) and Ryan Menezes (drums).
The opening track "Bedford Avenue" starts with a tight funky groove that sits neatly in its 11/8 groove. Subtly nuanced variations and fills are offered conversationally by Hale and Menezes. Gradually opening up, it embraces drum-n-bass sensibility before the drums and bass provide bedrock for a soaring fretless guitar solo.
The collision of contemporary influences continues, with Mahavishnu Ensemble-esque Indian rhythm ("Bodhisattva"), odd meters ("Greasy Boundaries", and in fact most of the tracks!), shredding guitar solos, interesting and lyrical harmonic motion of Allan Holdsworth ("Old Friends"), and climaxing with the saturated and comic over-the-top wah-wah guitar sound of "Tube Steak Junky".
Whilst "Dirty Math" might contain some complex numbers, it's a complex conjugation as palatable as a doughnut.
composer, performer, educator