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Fred's '88 SST release, one of his finest instrumental releases, with Tenko, John Zorn, Christian Marclay in an intense mix of melodic, rhythmic and technological brilliance.

Frith, Fred
Technology of Tears

Frith, Fred: Technology of Tears (Recommended Records)
Label: Recommended Records    
Released in: USA    

The Technology of Tears was commissioned by Rosalind Newman and Dancers and first performed at the Joyce Theater, New York in February 1987, with design by Pier Voulkos and animation by Pierre Hébert. The title is taken from a poem by Zbigniew Herbert, which is printed on one of the gatefold sleeves, is about the problems of commercially exploiting genuine tears.

The music uses a vast repertoire of oddly metered, shifting rhythms and samples. Tenco provides a fierce vocal presence, with a strong cry and discussion from John Zorn's alto sax, while Marclay drops the needle for other unexpected sounds and interventions - Frith does all the rest. The pieces, intended for dance, easily stand alone apart from their performance counterpoints. Each is a journey filled with a mix of compositional, improvisational, and rock leanings, with literate references to form. They put strong rhythmic tension together with equally strong melody and an oddly street-wise swagger, using a wonderfully cynical sense of fun to glue it all together. And, of course, the pieces use technology, a great blend of synthetic and natural sources that make for an unusual and memorable album. This is New York City Fred Frith right after Skeleton Crew, an active member of the exploding downtown scene, mining many creative avenues with great result. Highly recommended.

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Recommended Records

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Improvised Music
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Price: $12.00
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Product Information:

UPC: 752725901727

Label: Recommended Records
Catalog ID: ReR FRO11
Squidco Product Code: 9841

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 1988/2008
Country: USA
Packaging: Digipack
Recorded at Noise, October 1986. Digitally re-mastered by Paul Zinman at New York Digital, August 1987.

Originally released on cassette, LP and CD on the SST label as SST-172 with additional material not included on this release.


John Zorn-alto


Christian Marclay-turntables

Jim Staley-trombone

Fred Frith-guitars, violin, field recordings, all other instruments

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Track Listing:

1. Sadness, Its Bones Bleached Behind Us 13:18

2. You Are What You Eat 18:46

3. The Palace Of Laughter, The Tecnology Of Tears 10:16

4. Jigsaw 14:48

5. Jigsaw Coda 3:07