Moving Parts is a collection of vibrant improvisations by Normal, the duo of Fred Frith and Sudhu Tewari, playing manually and electronically manipulated home-made instruments. The duo formed in 2002 when Tewari sparked a revitalization of Frith’s early 80s explorations in self-made “planks of wood with strings”. Approaching instrument making not as beautifully crafted art objects requiring virtuosic techniques, but rather as crude de-constructions patched together using the simplest of means and requiring only minimal exertion to produce sound, the duo turns the smallest spring into a potential orchestra, the bluntest needle into a sharp response. As with any music, what is really going on is intense listening, tricks of memory, and the joy of discovery.
Fred Frith—multi-instrumentalist, composer, and pioneer of the extended electric guitar—has been active for many years in the fertile margins of new music. Deeply involved in the art and craft of improvisation since the late 1960s, he has also maintained a strong connection with his roots in rock and folk music, through bands like Henry Cow, Art Bears, Massacre, Skeleton Crew, FF Guitar Quartet, Cosa Brava and The Fred Frith Trio. He taught both improvisation and composition at Mills College for almost twenty years, as well as co-directing the improvisation master’s program at the Musik Akademie in Basel, Switzerland.
Sudhu Tewari has been called a professional bricoleur, junkyard maven, and young audio-gadgeteer. He holds a B.A. in Music from Sonoma State University, an M.F.A. in Electronic Music and Recording Technology from Mills College, and a Ph.D. in Cultural Musicology from UC Santa Cruz. His passion for design, re-design, and recuperation has led to the creation of experimental musical instruments, kinetic sculptures, interactive installations, audio electronics, and wearable sound art. Tewari has been seen performing improvised music on the east and west coasts of the US, Europe, and Japan. His visual and interactive art has been exhibited in the US and Europe. Sudhu also works as a technical consultant/art engineer, helping artists realize their creative visions.
released June 2, 2023
Fred Frith & Sudhu Tewari: home-made instruments including Heart Strings, Liquid Zither, Moving Parts, Portable Street Piano, Post Hole Tone Music Box, Sawzall 1, No Strings Guitar, Slapthwacker 1 & 2, Sudhu’s Infernal Spring Thing, Superstrut Bandsaw Bass
Recorded by Myles Boisen at Guerilla Recording, Oakland on July 8 & 9, 2022
Mixed, edited, and re-organized by Fred Frith at Chasa Torel, Guarda, Switzerland, August/September 2022
Mastered by Myles Boisen at Headless Buddha Mastering Lab, Oakland, California
Design & cover art: Theresa Wong with thanks to Arzanart, Venice, Italy
Inside photo: Sudhu Tewari
Special thanks to David Samas, Annemarie Cordeiro and the San Francisco Center for New Music, to Daniel Schmidt and Bart Hopkin, to Renée Jadushlever, and to Chris Brown, Golo Föllmer, Flurina Badel, Jérémie Sarbach, and Theresa Wong
In memorium Tom Nunn