|'A measure of success in these pieces is that for all the spontaneity there is still a logic to the finished work - a sense of creation, of drama and humour.'|
Jim McLeod, 24 Hours, January 1993
'... it is enjoyable to sit back and follow the paths of (Frampton's) musical flights of fancy as a sensual experience.'
Cathie Travers, Sounds Australian, Autumn 1992
…there is only one Roger Frampton, and he operates best when he takes for granted a certain level of musical curiosity on the part of the listener. As witness these two fascinating and deeply satisfying CDs. The first uses the one 'prepared' piano. Frampton was inspired by John Cage's Sonatas and Interludes, but his approach, including his own method of preparing the piano, is quite his own… At times Frampton makes the instrument sound like a gamelan orchestra, but industrial associations also arise, particularly the sounds of antiquated technology. Reluctant ticks, whirrs and shirrings lead to agitated rhythmic passages that may suggest a donkey engine at the point of flying apart. The off-pitch bonging of ancient clocks is also evoked, with accompanying remote poignancy. When he plays two pianos – one prepared, the other not – two contrasting tonal and textural worlds interface.
Gail Brennan Sydney Morning Herald
Roger Frampton: An Impromptu Appreciation
When I look out from my desk towards Parramatta Road, on a sunny day, a white refrigerated transport will sometimes slide by and a brightness beyond daylight will reflect back through the camphor laurels along the embankment and into my room. There is no direct sun today, but an orange van catches my eye beneath the grey overcast sky. It says 'Gem Of The West' and it is indeed from Orange. Playing in my room is Roger Frampton's Two Pianos One Mind, part of a trilogy he recorded for Tall Poppies ten years ago. This uses an unadulterated piano and a prepared one, angled so that Roger can sit with good access to both. The other discs are Pure Piano and Totally Prepared, titles which speak for themselves.
In this music are peeling melodies, reminding me of the carillon over there at Sydney University; there are passages where he improvises in the language of serial music and sustains it, and there are cracked chimes, and passages that are not melodies or reshuffled tone rows but simply processions of curious shapes, such as I can see passing along the great artery I am pleased to live by. There is a wonderful tranquility in this music - as there sometimes is, believe it or not, in the flow of traffic outside, especially when everything is slowing to stop at the lights with air brakes squeeling and snorting like horses reined in - and it reminds me that we are artists and that when we sit down to work we are seeking shapes and rhythms that will give point to the endless procession of experiences. Few artists can take you so close to that very process. I can hear Roger thinking.
© John Clare JazzChord No.51, Feb/Mar 2000