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Fred Frith - The Technology Of Tears - And Other Music For Dance And Theatre CD (album) cover


Fred Frith


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4 stars The music offered here bears a lot of similarities to the Skeleton Crew work Fred was doing around the same time. All of the vocals are voices as instruments rather than words. There is a whole lotta sampling going on. It's weird, complex, and fairly heavy. I may attempt to revise this for a track by track someday, but for now, some other details:

It was printed in 1988, but the music was recorded '86-'87 for The Technology of Tears parts. The Jigsaw tracks were recorded in '86. The credits say Frith plays all instruments and vocals except for a few other musicians.

According to the booklet "The Technology of Tears was commissioned by Rosalind Newman and first performed by her dance company at the Joyce Theatre, New York City in February 1987; with designs by Pier Voulkos and animation by Pierre Hebert." And "Jigsaw was commissioned by the Concert Dance Company of Boston as a collaboration between Fred Frith, Rosalind Newman and Pier Voulkos and funded in part by the National Endowment for the Arts and the New Works Program of the Massachusetts Council on the Arts and Humanities." I'm not a ballet freak, but I hope there's some film available and I can see a DVD of it some day. I've never seen any of Fred's pieces for dance performances in person, but as avant-garde as much of his musical material is, you can bet it's really weird dancing.

It does rank it's own entry in a certain free internet encyclopedia. I was rather disappointed to find out that there's a third LP (vinyl) side that wasn't included on the CD version I have, aaaauuugghh! Sorry, maybe I should have put that in caps and used less repetitive letters . The Technology of Tears is unfortunately out of print, but I see Fred Records is planning to reissue TToT and Propaganda!

Report this review (#121602)
Posted Friday, May 11, 2007 | Review Permalink
Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
4 stars I find this album, which consists of pieces commissioned for a few different dance companies, to be one of Fred Frith's most intriguing solo albums. The pieces were performed mostly in 1987 (one was in Boston, I wish I had known about it then), and all but one was written by Frith.

The title piece, taking up the entire first LP, consistes of three angular songs, featuring Frith along with John Zorn on sax, Tenko on voice, and Christan Marclay on turntables. These are quirky tracks, with blips and sounds coming together for some surprisingly coherent compositions.

The third album side is the best work. It has Frith playing most of the instruments on some splendid RIO tracks. He gets an assist from trombonist Jim Staley, but Frith's sharp guitar is the star of this side.

The last side is a series of fourteen tracks, written by Matthew Maguire, called Propaganda. These are some eerie sounding short pieces, made even weirder by noises and found recordings blended into the music. The problem with these is that they are so short that once you get the feel of what the music is doing, the song fades out.

On the whole, this is a fine Frith album (someone else must think so too, as my CD of this has disappeared from my collection).

Report this review (#449067)
Posted Tuesday, May 17, 2011 | Review Permalink

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