Idiosyncratic improvisation with a strange set of tools from two master musicians, fascinating recordings from 1983-85 in the blossoming downtown NY scene.
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Label: Recommended Records
Catalog ID: ReR FRA6
Squidco Product Code: 9842
Tracks 1 & 5 were recorded live at P.A.S.S., New York City on January 25, 1983. Tracks 2, 3 &4 recorded live at Roulette, New York City on July 27 & 28, 1985.
These recordings were assembled from cassette recordings by Fred Frith and Bob Boster at the Center for Contemporary Music, Mills College, April 1997.
The first volume of this series was released on Derek Bailey's Incus label in 1994 as Incus 20.
Fred Frith-home-made instruments, voice, Casio monophonic keyboard
John Zorn-alto sax, mouthpieces, duck-calls
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1. The Heaven 17:37
2. The Wood 4:43
3. The Standard 8:46
4. The Wheel 5:44
5. The Painter 20:21
sample the album:
Fred Frith summarizes the release on his website as "early 80s weirdness with John Zorn." To expand a bit, perhaps "idiosyncratic improvisation with a strange set of tools from two master musicians" would help place the form and ability of the music of Frith and Zorn, who have travelled and performed sporadically as a duo over several decades. These are five fascinating recordings from the blossoming downtown NY scene, originally from two NYC performances recorded on cassette in 1983 at P.A.S.S. and in 1985 at Roulette (the recordings are clear and resonant, belying their humble cassette origins).
As with the 1st volume of The Art of Memory, the interplay here is remarkably playful and sophisticated. Zorn uncaps his mouthpiece as much as he plays the horn itself, and pulls out his duck-calls for some of their earliest performances. Frith uses a variety of home-made instruments, many guitar-like or string based, along with Casio keyboards and his own cantankerous voice. There is a great logic in their discourse, and a great telepathy between them that controls the dynamic and keeps the complex and extremely informed interchange interesting. Incredible and creative improvisation, superb!
The Squid's Ear!
NY Downtown & Jazz/Improv
Top 20 for 2008