Gideon Freudman
Hologram Crackers

From the very first second the CD started to play, I knew this wasn't going to be a typical "classical" recordů the man was hammering out chords on his cello like it was a guitar! Over this percussive section, Freudmann bowed an aggressive melody that soon morphed into a haunting passage of eloquence. "Robin Hood Changes His Oil", is a merry little jaunt that mixes a country fiddle with acoustic guitar, plus a touch of "Mary Had a Little Lamb". Other songs, such as "Carpal Tunnel" bring in elements of the blues and jazz, while "Backlit" is akin to tribal drums overlaid with a reverberated, flowing melody and "Mango" can only be described as New Age meets Pink Floyd. One of my favorites, "Fish Food", is a lazy underwater waltz (although in what appears to be 7/4 meter) with strange, computerish noises bubbling up now and then. The most amazing thing about the album is that every note, every texture, every percussive rhythm, every noise comes from a cello (plus a few effects units but who's counting). Although classically trained, this cellist has a natural, easy style that contains none of the stiffness (or stuffiness) sometimes associated with classical music. Like many other instrumental musicians (Phil Keaggy comes to mind with the album Acoustic Sketches), Freudmann recorded nearly the entire album in one pass, building the song through digital delays and tape loops into a dense, overdubbed sound. The result is a refreshing and truly creative adventure that I would highly recommend not only to those classical music lovers whose tastes are a bit more daring but also to guitarists as Freudmann explores many avenues of songwriting and improvisation that guitarists should find refreshing.

This review first appeared in WhatzUp, January 2000.