Step Across the Border (soundtrack)

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For the film of the same name, see Step Across the Border.
Step Across the Border
Soundtrack album by Fred Frith
Released 1990 (1990)
Recorded 1979–1989
Genre Avant-rock
Length 73:31
Label RecRec (Switzerland)
Producer Fred Frith
Fred Frith chronology
The Top of His Head
Step Across the Border
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars[1]

Step Across the Border is a soundtrack double album by English guitarist, composer and improvisor Fred Frith, of the 1990 avant-garde documentary film on Frith, Step Across the Border. The album features music from the film performed by Frith and other musicians, and covers ten years of Frith's musical career.


Step Across the Border is more than a just a soundtrack. It includes additional tracks, for example, "Drum Factory" and "Candy Machine", that were written for the album by Frith from ambient sounds in the film. Discussing the album, Frith said:[2]

It struck me as not very interesting just to take what was exactly in the film and stick it on a CD and put it out as a soundtrack. Apart from anything else, the function, when you listen with the image and when you listen without the image, is very, very different.

One of the things I particularly enjoyed doing was taking raw sound from locations during the film, like the candy machine, and writing pieces of music to go with them, which is totally unnecessary within the context of the film, because they have their own logic ... In the film, the candy machine is there, and you hear the noise it makes but the image was so strong that there was no need to do anything with it. On the record there was no point of sticking the sound of a machine on there, because it wouldn't mean very much.

The album also includes live music as performed in the film, for example "Houston St"; tracks from other albums that accompany scenes in the film, for example "Too Much Too Little"; and tracks from other albums that replace live covers of those tracks performed in the film, for example "Legs".

Track listing[edit]

  1. "Sparrow Song" (Frith) – 1:28
  2. "Voice of America (part 3)" (Frith, Ostertag) / "Legs" (Frith, Laswell, Maher) – 4:24
  3. "Selluloid Restaurant" (Frith) / "The Old Man Puts Out the Fire" (Frith) – 3:09
  4. "After Dinner" (Haco) – 1:47
  5. "Houston St" (Frith, Zorn) – 2:54
  6. "Drum Factory" (Frith) – 2:01
  7. "Regardless of Rain" (Frith, Cora) – 3:05
  8. "Candy Machine" (Frith) – 2:59
  9. "Romanisches Café" (Frith) – 6:19
  10. "The Border" (Frith, Hemenway) – 3:29
  11. "Nirvana Again" (Frith) – 1:53
  12. "Scottish Roppongi" (Frith) – 1:46
  13. "Norrgården Nyvla" (Frith) – 2:58
  14. "Birds" (Frith, Hodgkinson) – 2:18
  15. "The As Usual Dance Towards the Other Flight to What is Not (part 3)" (Frith) – 1:47
  16. "Williamsburg Bridge" (Frith) – 1:53
  17. "Same Old Me" (Frith) / "Williamsburg Bridge (reprise)" (Frith) – 4:10
  18. "The As Usual Dance Towards the Other Flight to What is Not (part 5)" (Frith) – 2:24
  19. "Lost and Found" (Frith) – 3:21
  20. "Nine by Nine" (Frith, Hayashi) – 5:52
  21. "Evolution" (Frith) – 3:20
  22. "Union Square" (Frith) – 1:41
  23. "Morning Song" (Bittová, Fajt, Pitinsky) – 2:00
  24. "Voice of America (part 4)" (Frith, Ostertag) – 2:02
  25. "Too Much Too Little" (Frith, Curran) – 2:08
  26. "Too Late" (Frith) – 2:23


The numbers below indicate the tracks on which the musicians played.

Recording details[edit]

  • Tracks 1, 10 – recorded by Tim Hodgkinson at Sunrise, Kirchberg, Switzerland, December 1985
  • Tracks 2a, 24 – recorded live at PASS, New York, January 1981
  • Track 2b – recorded by Martin Bisi at OAO Studio, New York, June 1981
  • Tracks 3a, 4 – recorded by Yasushi Utsunomiyaat at MUE Studio, Osaka, Japan, February 1988
  • Tracks 2a, 3b, 6, 8, 12, 15, 16, 17b, 18, 22, 24, 26 – recorded by Rainer Carben at Bavaria TV Studios in Munich, Germany, December 1989
  • Tracks 5, 7 – recorded live at The Kitchen, New York City, February 1989
  • Tracks 9, 12 – recorded live at the Romanisches Café, Tokyo, Japan, February 1988
  • Track 11 – recorded live in rehearsal at Roulette, New York City, February 1988
  • Track 13 – recorded at Chickenhouse, Uppsala, Sweden and Sunrise, Kirchberg, Switzerland, July 1979
  • Tracks 14, 20, 22 – recorded live at ROX, Tokyo, Japan, February 1988
  • Track 14 – recorded at Hodgkinson's home in Yorkshire and Brixton, England, December 1988
  • Tracks 17a, 21, 25 – recorded in Frith's apartment in New York City, August 1983
  • Track 19 – recorded by Rudolf Oleschko in Provence, France and Paosostraße, Munich, Germany, July 1989
  • Tracks 23 – recorded at a hotel room, Bern, Switzerland March 1989

Tracks from other albums[edit]

CD reissues[edit]


  1. ^ Anderson, Rick. "Step Across the Border". Retrieved 2011-06-20. 
  2. ^ Wolff, Sander R. "Defining The Edge: The Musical World Of Fred Frith". The Long Beach Union Newspaper. Retrieved 2009-02-27. 

External links[edit]