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February 25, 2024

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Eph Reissue (Temporary Residence)

By: Cam Lindsay

Eph was originally released in 1999 on the British label Go!Beat. Unfortunately, like many of Fridge's earlier releases, Eph was only available through import in North America, making it fairly hard for anyone to purchase. Now resissued with other hard-to-find gems, the Kinoshita Terasaka single and the Of EP (which are nicely combined on a second disc along with a couple of extra remixes), Eph Reissue is out and ready to be heard.

Fridge's music is unlike anything out there, and Eph Reissue is probably the finest example of that. Located somewhere between magical prog-rock, experimental pop music and the no-boundaries rule of free jazz, Fridge's sound is such a fantastic thing to experience for someone fascinated by music without rules. Unlike last year's marvellous Happiness, this record is a little more complex and challenging. There are light pieces of ambience like "Meum" and "Tuum", that are no-brainers to get, but the magic lies in tracks like "Of" and "Bad Ischl". The former balances a steady acoustic guitar riff with a raw and hard drum beat. Some glitches are thrown in, as well as some vibes to give the track some engaging components. The latter is something completely different. What is not found in "Bad Ischl" must not exist, because there are so many different tracks laid down that it becomes a chore trying to figure out all of the different noises occurring at once. Two different drums, trumpets, a saxophone, computers beeping as if they lost their minds, maracas and a lone guitar are only some of the sounds noticeable to the ear, but after repeated listens, the song can reveal even more.

As interesting and compelling as the first disc is, the second one offers even more great sounds. The singles "Kinoshita" and "Terasaka" both show why it was an obvious decision to include them in this package. Showing more of an electronic side of the band, the songs do make it apparent that it is a band performing these songs, but maybe made up of cyborgs instead of actual human beings. The remixes that follow are all something to check out, but they don't quite shine the way the lead-off singles do.

Though it's taken three years to get this record domestically, it is definitely worth the wait considering the extras included with the original album. Eph Reissue is a complex, imaginative and thrilling listen throughout. However, plenty of time is needed to appreciate how good it really is. A-

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