Richter 858 is an album by Bill Frisell of improvised music inspired by the paintings of German artist Gerhard Richter and performed by Frisell, Eyvind Kang, Jenny Scheinman and Hank Roberts. The album was originally released as part of a limited-edition volume of Gerhard Richter’s paintings which also contained poetry and essays by Dave Hickey and Klaus Kertess inspired by the artist’s work. The album was rereleased in 2005 on the Songlines label with a CD-ROM with MP3 music to accompany a slide show of the paintings, which can also be found reproduced in the booklet.
below,from Richter 858, by Mark Corroto, AllAbout Jazz.com:
Commissioned to create music for a book project on the German painter Gerhard Richter, guitarist Bill Frisell opened his book of guitar techniques to enhance the painter’s art.
Given instructions and eight Richter images, Frisell composed pieces for the 858 Strings Trio of Jenny Scheinman, Eyvind Kang, and Hank Roberts, a unit which can be heard on Frisell’s 2004 release, Unspeakable. These eight pieces were recorded live in the studio without overdubs, remixing or post-production change. Like a painter working a canvas, the quartet plays from compositional concepts and improvises where needed.
The music diverges from the folk-leaning of Frisell of late. His employment of a string trio parallels the European concept of painting, with its continental origins as a starting place. Frisell then does as Richter does with painting, smearing concepts of modern chamber composition.
This recording, with its many Frisell effects, is reminiscent of his early Elektra recordings and the little-known American Blood, Safety In Numbers (Intuition, 1995). While you cannot consider this a folk record, certain Frisell-isms are present. His distinct sound always presents itself. His minimal use of space and order are here too. If the producer David Breskin had wanted the guitarist to lose his identity within these paintings, it doesn’t happen. The German painter’s work is interpreted from Frisell’s perspective. In other words, this is a Bill Frisell recording.’
Music composed by Bill Frisell, performed by his 858 Quartet: Jenny Scheinman, violin; Eyvind Kang, viola; Hank Roberts, cello. Producer: David Breskin. Recorded Seattle, July 20, 2002.
Paintings: Gerhard Richter, Abstract Pictures 1999 (858-1, 858-2, 858-3, 858-4, 858-5, 858-6, 858-7, 858-8). © Gerhard Richter