Fraud - Art of Deception

One of last year’s breakthrough groups Fraud shows what it can do on record this month as its debut album, also called Fraud, is released. Powered by drummer Tim Giles and saxophonist James Allsopp the group has made the journey from the London underground jazz clubs to become the more visible face of the new post free jazz British groups. Interview :: Mike Flynn
Fraud - Art of Deception
It was like “sitting in front of a train” according to one girl who left afterwards, the grey-haired gentleman sitting next to me had to leave 20 minutes before the end having taken all he could handle, even I felt somewhat unsettled, yet simultaneously thrilled, that I’d witnessed something new, raw and exciting. These were some of the reactions to Fraud’s live show; a strange organic stew of sounds that can explode Vesuvius-style to produce mutated Albert Ayler free jazz sounds that meet molten funk laced with acid metal textures. And all this on a Saturday lunchtime at the 2006 Cheltenham Jazz Festival.

There was a palpable sense that once again people walking out of the Pillar Room had caught something very special, much like when Polar Bear made a similar splash three years previously, the latter band now enjoying big stages and higher billing as well as countless rave reviews and even a Mercury Music Prize nomination. Yet Fraud present something that responds to the zeitgeist from another angle, one that disassembles conventional ideas of structure, genre and form to serve a less punk, more free jazz-meets-electronic-rock purpose.

Led by 25-year-old saxophonist James Allsopp and 26-year-old percussionist Tim Giles, they met at the Royal Academy and are now both members of the north London based Loop Collective. This is a band with a creative credo that takes much of its energy from the grime of kitchen sink realism (Tim laughingly describes the album’s opener ‘Clatter’ as sounding like “Albert Ayler falling over in the kitchen”), the jet black humour of Chris Morris and the mean streets of Hackney as it does from the rich canon of free jazz, modern electronica and Norwegian thrash metal.

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