In 2002 Bill Frisell was commissioned by producer David Breskin to create the music for an elaborate art book project on the great German painter Gerhard Richter. The book, Richter 858, was published in connection with a comprehensive US retrospective of Richter’s work, although it focused entirely on a recent series of eight small abstract paintings numbered 858 1–8. There were poems, essays, superb reproductions of the works, and Frisell’s music on an inserted CD – one piece for each painting.
When Songlines’ owner Tony Reif was approached about releasing the recording he suggested enhancing the music in two ways: remastering it from analogue to DSD for maximum sound quality, and creating a CD-ROM slideshow that would present the paintings and their details together with the pieces they’d inspired, demonstrating analogies between visual art and music that Breskin and Frisell had been working with.
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