Fred Frith: guitar, bass, organ, piano
Nicolas Humbert: composition
Marc Parisotto: composition
Just Call Her Nagra (2:51)
At Tim’s House (0:58)
Traffic Jam (1:50)
Bach And Echo (2:10)
Samurai Pachinko Concert (4:28)
Le Lion de Leipzig (0:57)
And If I Had A Heart (7:36)
Clapping Rain (2:50)
Big Byt (2:15)
Le Train Fantôme (2:13)
Your Name Please (1:33)
Thank You Tom (3:18)
Go To The End (3:35)
Lost In A Subway Station (3:56)
Haco’s Cat (1:51)
I’m Not Diderot (4:56)
Too Loud for Dogs (3:17)
Original music and words by Fred Frith, Tom Cora, Haco, Iva Bittová, Pavel Fajt, Ted Milton, John Zorn, Donald Frith, Robert Frank, Jonas Mekas.
Field and live music recordings: Jean Vapeur
Additional recordings and micro impromptu: Marc Parisotto
Studio recording: Gerd Baumann at Millaton
Mixing and mastering: Michael Hinreiner
Liner notes: Paolo Podrescu
Additional texts: Fred Frith, Nicolas Humbert, Marc Parisotto
Photographs: Michael Witte, Simone Fürbinger
Cover design: Max Schoendorff
Cover realization: David Bourguignon
Producer: Bayerischer Rundfunk / Deutschlandfunk Kultur 2019
Editors: Katarina Agathos, Marcus Gammel
One hundred tapes. Recorded by Jean Vapeur on the now legendary Nagra IV S tape recorder. A box full of the original sound recordings for Step Across the Border, the film Werner Penzel and I travelled around the world to make in 1988-1989 with musician Fred Frith. Just before the collapse of Socialism and the digital take-over of the world. Twenty minutes on every tape. That is, thirty-three hours of sound material. In the end, only ninety minutes of it are in the film. The rest of the recordings have been slumbering away in an old crate, and trailed along on our every studio move, surviving icy winters and even a flood in our archive vault.
Now and again I need to clean the tape debris off the Nagra with a brush. Little piles of magnetic dust. But the sounds are still there! Wear debris, a symbol of elapsed time.
All the material that reappears again. Moments, life stories, drifting tracks. Wonderful Tom Cora with his cello. Died way too young, just a few years after Step Across the Border appeared. But the unmistakable sound of his cello remains. The voice of Jonas Mekas, free spirit and clown of independent cinema. And the voice of Robert Frank, the great American photographer and chronicler of the Beat Generation, who invented the cut-up montage that is the basis of our sound composition. Our subway ride with him to visit his son Pablo at a psychiatric clinic in the Bronx. Now Jonas Mekas and Robert Frank are no longer alive. Both died in the half-year after the Berlin premiere of Cut Up The Border.
So many life stories, sounds, music, voices reappear in this material. Trails of noise, record- ings: of New York streets at night, game arcades in Shibuya, cicada fields in Provence, seagull cries in Yorkshire. Tapes depicting time itself, like geological strata.
French sound artist Marc Parisotto and I opened the box again and re-composed the raw material together with Fred Frith into an imaginative journey through meandering sound- scapes and echoes of the past. 1 hour out of 33 hours. "Cut Up The Border". Nicolas Humbert, October 2019
In memory of Res Balzli, who made "Step Across The Border" possible