Fred Frith, Gravity

David Stubbs

By David Stubbs

on 04.22.11 in Reviews
Sneakily political dance music, world-style.

Another album whose lightness and jouissance bucks the ReR imprint's undeserved, under-heavy-manners reputation. Recorded in 1980 initially for Ralph Records, Gravity is an album of unabashed dance music, though not in the disco/funk sense of its day. Rather, its infectious, folksy rhythms and mazy melodies draw on an imagined, pan-global tradition of fun-time folk and, as such, anticipate later appetites for world music. The chipper strains of “Spring Any Day Now” are typical — but there's still a mischievous political glint in the cover of Martha and the Vandellas '”Dancing in the Street,” which features the sampled cheers of Iranians jubilant at the capture of American hostages.