The Squid's Ear Magazine


Skeleton Crew (Frith / Cora / Parkins): Free Dirt (Live) [2 CDs] (Klanggalerie)

One of the most intense and unusual of the 80s Downtown NY groups merging rock and improvisation with strong attitudes and incredible musical concepts, these live recordings, including songs never before released, are taken from American and European concerts by the trio of guitarist Fred Frith, cellist Tom Cora, and either electric harpist Zeena Parkins or reedist Dave Newhouse.
 

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Personnel:



Dave Newhouse-bass clarinet, alto saxophone, keyboards, percussion

Tom Cora-cello, bass, sampler, bass drum, wood block, percussion, voice, accordion

Fred Frith-guitar, 6 string bass, violin, keyboards, snare, bass drum, voice

Zeena Parkins-harp, keyboards, accordion, tom tom, voice


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UPC: 5052571094624

Label: Klanggalerie
Catalog ID: GG389
Squidco Product Code: 31377

Format: 2 CDs
Condition: New
Released: 2022
Country: Germany
Packaging: Cardboard Gatefold 3 Panels w/ booklet
Recorded at Rote Fabrik, in Zurich, Switzerland; 28 rue Dunois Paris, in Paris, France; Salle Rameau, in Lyon, France; Hall Gatty, in Saint-Etienne, France; Triton Uptown, in Champaign, Illinois; The Isabella, in Toronto, Canada; CBGB's, in New York City, between 1982 ands 1983, by David Bryant.

Descriptions, Reviews, &c.

"Skeleton Crew was founded in the early 1980s by Fred Frith and Tom Cora. The original idea was to create a new group out of the ashes of Massacre, but medical issues of several potential members saw Frith and Cora end up as a duo. They started experimenting with what they could achieve by themselves, recorded the fantastic debut album Learn to Talk and finally decided to take the new project out on the road.

Dave Newhouse of The Muffins joined them for these live shows which proved very successful. Back in the studio, Frith and Cora recorded their second and last album, The Country of Blinds, and afterwards went on tour again. This time, they were joined by multi-instrumentalist Zeena Parkins who had already played on the recent album. Fred Frith remembers the days of touring as very low-key affairs with incredibly exciting results, saying the songs they played sounded very differrent every single night, such was the energy that was created by the band on stage.

Everybody who has seen them perform will agree that Skeleton Crew on stage was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. After several years of searching for recordings, mixing and mastering, and held up by the global pandemic, we are proud to finally offer you this double CD of live recordings, including songs that never ended up on any of their albums."-Klanggalerie


Artist Biographies

Dave Newhouse is an American multi-instrumentalist and composer member of Muffins. He was born in 1953 in Hawaii. He is also a member of 3 Quarter View and Diratz, and the author of "Stars That Turn" and "First".

-Squidco 7/10/2024

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"Thomas Henry Corra (September 14, 1953 - April 9, 1998), better known as Tom Cora, was an American cellist and composer, best known for his improvisational performances in the field of experimental jazz and rock. He recorded with John Zorn, Butch Morris, and The Ex, and was a member of Curlew, Third Person and Skeleton Crew.

Tom Cora was born in Yancey Mills, Virginia, United States. He made his musical debut as drummer on a local television program and in the mid-1970s he played guitar for a Washington, D.C. jazz club house band. He took up the cello while an undergraduate at the University of Virginia and studied with cellist Pablo Casals' student Luis Garcia-Renart and later with vibraphonist Karl Berger. During this time he formed his own group, The Moose Skowron Tuned Metal Ensemble and began constructing instruments for it.

In 1979 Cora moved to New York City where he worked with Shockabilly guitarist Eugene Chadbourne, introducing the cello to the honky tonk circuits of North America. He performed at improvising clubs and venues in New York with John Zorn, Fred Frith, Andrea Centazzo, Butch Morris, Wayne Horvitz, David Moss, Toshinori Kondo and others. Cora also collaborated with George Cartwright and Bill Laswell which led to the formation of the art rock band Curlew in 1979 . Cora remained with Curlew for over ten years and appeared on five of their albums.

In 1982 Tom Cora and Fred Frith formed Skeleton Crew, an improvising rock and jazz band best known for their live performances where they played various instruments simultaneously. Cora and Frith were each one-man bands on stage and for their act, Cora constructed musical contraptions he could play with his feet. The band existed for five years during which time they toured Europe, North America and Japan extensively. They made two studio albums, Learn to Talk (1984) and The Country of Blinds (1986), the latter with Zeena Parkins who had joined the band in 1984. In October 1983 Skeleton Crew joined Duck and Cover, a commission from the Berlin Jazz Festival, for a performance in West Berlin, followed by another in February 1984 in East Berlin.

Cora was also a member of the improvising trio Third Person, formed in 1990 as a live collaboration with percussionist Samm Bennett and a "third person" who changed from concert to concert. Two CDs of some of their performances were released, The Bends in 1991 (with "third persons" Don Byron, George Cartwright, Chris Cochrane, Nic Collins, Catherine Jauniaux, Myra Melford, Zeena Parkins, and Marc Ribot) and Luck Water in 1995 (with "third person" Kazutoki Umezu).

Cora performed with a number of other bands, including Nimal with Momo Rossel and post-rock quartet Roof. In 1990, he played two concerts with Dutch anarcho-punk band, The Ex, and the success of this collaboration resulted in Cora performing hundreds of concerts with The Ex and appearing on two of their CDs. In 1995 in The Netherlands, Cora and Frith collaborated, as Skeleton Crew, on Etymology, a CD-ROM sound sample library of sonic sounds and wire manipulations.

Tom Cora died of malignant melanoma at the age of 44 in a hospital in the south of France, where he lived with his wife, singer Catherine Jauniaux, and their son, Elia Corra."

-Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tom_Cora)
7/10/2024

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"Though the point of reference for many remains the iconic band Henry Cow, which he co-founded in 1968 and which broke up more than 30 years ago, Fred Frith has never really stood still for an instant.

In bands such as Art Bears, Massacre, Skeleton Crew, Keep the Dog, Tense Serenity, the Fred Frith Guitar Quartet, Eye to Ear, and most recently Cosa Brava, he has always held true to his roots in rock and folk music, while exploring influences that range from the literary works of Eduardo Galeano to the art installations of Cornelia Parker.

The release of the seminal Guitar Solos in 1974 enabled him to simultaneously carve out a place for himself in the international improvised music scene, not only as an acclaimed solo performer but in the company of artists as diverse as Han Bennink, Chris Cutler, Jean-Pierre Drouet, Evelyn Glennie, Ikue Mori, Louis Sclavis, Stevie Wishart, Wu Fei, Camel Zekri, John Zorn, and scores of others.

He has also developed a personal compositional language in works written for Arditti Quartet, Asko Ensemble, Bang on a Can All-Stars, Ensemble Modern, Concerto Köln, and ROVA Sax Quartet, for example. Fred has been active as a composer for dance since the early 1980s, working with choreographers Bebe Miller, François Verret, and especially long-time collaborator and friend Amanda Miller, with whom he has created a compelling body of work over the last twenty years.

His film soundtracks (for award-winning films like Thomas Riedelsheimer's Rivers and Tides and Touch the Sound, Peter Mettler's Gambling, Gods, and LSD, and Deborah Kaufman and Alan Snitow's Thirst, to name a few) won him a lifetime achievement award from Prague's "Music on Film, Film on Music" Festival (MOFFOM) in 2007. The following year he received Italy's Demetrio Stratos Prize (previously given to Diamanda Galas and Meredith Monk) for his life's work in experimental music, and in 2010 was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Huddersfield in his home county of Yorkshire.

Fred currently teaches in the Music Department at Mills College in Oakland, California (renowned for over fifty years as the epicenter of the American experimental tradition), and in the Musik Akademie in Basel, Switzerland."

-Fred Frith Website (http://www.fredfrith.com/biography.html)
7/10/2024

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"Multi-instrumentalist/composer/improviser, Zeena Parkins, pioneer of contemporary harp practice and performance, reimagines the instrument as a "sound machine of limitless capacity." Parkins has built three versions of her one-of-a-kind electric harp and has extended the language of the acoustic harp with the inventive use of unusual playing techniques, preparations, and layers of electronic processing.

Inspired and connected to visual arts, dance, film, and history, Zeena follows a unique path in creating her compositional works. Through blending and morphing of both real and imagined instruments, crafting, recombining, and layering mangled, sliced, massaged or possibly disengaged sounds, drawing from extra-musical sources for unusual scoring and formal constructions as well as utilizing multi-speaker environments, Zeena remains in process with sound as material and music, engaged in translations of sonic states in the concert hall, the black box theater, the dance studio, the recording studio, the classroom, the cinema, the skyscraper, the ocean and the gallery. Zeena has a particularly strong commitment to making scores for dance and continues to re-evaluate the nature and issues of the body's imprint on sound and sound/music's imprint on movement.

Parkins's compositions have been commissioned by NeXtWorks Ensemble, Merce Cunningham Dance Company, Roulette Intermedium, The Eclipse Quartet, William Winant, Bang on a Can, The Whitney Museum, The Tate Modern, Montalvo Arts Center, The Donaueschinger Musiktage and Sudwestrundfunk/SWR.

Parkins has released four solo records featuring her electric and acoustic harp playing and has released her compositions and band projects on six Tzadik recordings, with a new Tzadik CD with Ikue Mori and Phantom Orchard Orchestra, Trouble in Paradise, to be released in November 2012. As a sought-after collaborator Zeena has worked with: Fred Frith, Björk, Ikue Mori, Dame Evelyn Glennie, Maja Ratkje, Hild Sofie Tafjord, John Zorn, Butch Morris, Chris Cutler, Elliott Sharp, Nels Cline, Alex Cline, William Winant, Anthony Braxton, Pauline Oliveros, Yoko Ono, Christian Marclay, Matmos, Yasunao Tone, So Percussion, Bobby Previte, Carla Kilhstedt, Tin Hat, James Fei, Kim Gordon, Lee Renaldo and Thurston Moore.

Awards: The Foundation for Contemporary Arts Fellowship, NYFA Music Fellowship, Meet the Composer Commission, NYSCA Composer Commission, Multi-Arts Production Fund Grant, American Music Center, BAFTA award for best interactive media with visual artist Mandy McIntosh and sound artist Kaffe Matthews, Peter S. Reed Fellowship, Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust Commissions, Arts International, Prix Ars Electronica Honorary Mention for Phantom Orchard in the Digital Music category.

Curatorial: Guest curator for The Music Unlimited Festival in Wels, Austria, co-curator of the Movement Research Festival: Sidewinder, in NYC and curator for a month + a week of shows at The Stone in NYC

Residencies: Civitella Ranieri Foundation Fellowship, Oxford University, Harvestworks, Steim, Paf: Performing Arts Forum, Wooda Arts Residency, Montalvo Arts Center, RPI/iEAR and The Watermill Center.

Teaching: Zeena has given lectures at Oxford and Princeton Universities and has taught at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, Bard and Mills College. Currently, Zeena is a Distinguished Visiting Professor, at Mills College Graduate Music Department."

-Zeena Parkins Website (http://www.zeenaparkins.com/about.html)
7/10/2024

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.


Track Listing:



CD1

1. The Introduction/The Way Things Fall 4:18

2. Almost Free I 1:32

3. Disporting Themselves At Improper Moments 3:12

4. Not My Shoes 2:39

5. Selected Short Stories I 3:26

6. Factory Song 6:18

7. Onwards And Upwards 5:40

8. Automatic Pilot 2:07

9. Hook 4:33

10. Selected Short Stories II 4:03

11. Life At The Top 2:16

12. Almost Free II 2:20

13. Yer Elegy 1:17

14. Dere Geliyor 3:18

15. Listening In 0:44

16. Los Colitos 4:01

17.Zach's Flag 3:45

18. Half-Remembered Yesterdays 2:20

CD2

1. Just The Beginning 1:38

2. The Hand That Bites 6:17

3. Selected Short Stories III 1:30

4. Safety In Numbers 3:24

5. Bingo 3:35

6. Dead Sheep Coda 1:44

7. Factory Song 3:51

8. It's Fine 6:42

9. Spanner In The Works 5:01

10. The Folk Tune 2:52

11. Sparrow Song 1:24

12. Selected Short Stories IV 0:38

13. Begin Again 2:54

14. Second Rate 5:22

15. New Orleans Stomp 2:33

16. Selected Short Stories V 2:42

17. Birds Of Japan 4:05

18. Selected Short Stories VI 2:41

19. You May Find A Bed 7:32

Related Categories of Interest:


Rock and Related
Improvised Rock
Improvised Music
RIO (Rock in Opposition)
NY Downtown & Metropolitan Jazz/Improv
Quartet Recordings
Frith, Fred
Parkins, Zeena
Cora, Tom
Song Based Music
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New in Rock Forms
Top Sellers for 2022 by Customer Sales

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