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Drift Sunday Classic: Fridge - Happiness

Drift Sunday Classic: Fridge - Happiness

Originally released on the Text label in September 2001, Happiness is the fourth album from experimental instrumental trio Fridge, a sprawling and intricate album that wasn’t just well ahead of its time, it was entirely different to pretty much everything else.


Fridge was formed in the mid-nineties by school friends Kieran Hebden (who would go on to work as Four Tet), Adem Ilhan (who would later record as Adem) and drummer Sam Jeffers. Their earlier releases were centered on tight, knotty post-rock, with the three musicians entangling themselves tighter and tighter into musical riddles before breaking out the other side into something Krautrock inspired and just as explosively creative. Happiness is a different beast, an album of pastoral lushness and beautifully evolving tones.
Fridge - HappinessHappiness is a really deceptive album. So much of it plays like you’re listening through a sunrise-hazed fug, songs that feel like they are slowly stretching into the new day. That said, the density is meticulous, in so many ways it was no departure at all from the freneticism and complexity of their earlier work, they just changed tones. The instrumentation is vast and imaginative, with chimes, glockenspiels and bells clattering and tinkling alongside harmoniums (I think) and other soft woozes. It is a beautiful and empowering suite of noise. If you want to instantly feel the vibe of the album, album center-point ‘Five Four Child Voice’ has everything; a searching and epic journey that builds to incorporate such beautiful drive through children's chatter.
Fridge - Happiness
Each track has a different identity, a jump off point for a free-flowing jam though jazz, hip hop and the beautifully human-sounding electronica that Four Tet would become so synonymous with. Interestingly,
Happiness was released just months after Hebden would release his breakout ‘Pause’ album on Domino as Four Tet. The two albums have similar spirit, but whereas Pause is focused, Happiness has the sort of sonic exploration that only comes from collaboration. 

Joyous, thoroughly unpretentious and a brilliantly coherent tapestry of styles and tones. From its post-rock clatters to its warping electronic hues, it is lush and it ebbs and flows with a rarely-met delicacy. A real beauty. 


Drift Sunday Classic

“Fridge’s aptly named Happiness was a curiously well-adjusted music, and, as such, perhaps an artifact of an altogether different and unrecoverable historical moment.”
- Aquarium Drunkard

• This 20th-anniversary edition of Happiness has been remastered from the original master tapes by Hebden. The album’s sound quality honours the original recordings like never before.

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