Robert Wyatt: Classic or Dud?

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So, is he the Alan Bennett/Stanley Spencer of pop or just a dodgy old failed jazzer with a Woolworth's Sooty organ and a propensity towards dubious scat-singing and Dave Spart lyrics? To paraphrase the immortal Bill Heine, "but what do YOU think?"

Marcello Carlin, Sunday, 15 April 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

Good lord, Robert Wyatt makes Joni Mitchell and Simon & Garfunkel seem listenable by comparison.

Otis Wheeler, Sunday, 15 April 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

Cripes, who needs a thread? Nobody's going to be able to top Otis, positive or negative.

I know his reputation more than his music -- but based on his two songs with Ultramarine, he's got a definite something.

Ned Raggett, Sunday, 15 April 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

Ruth Is Stranger Than Richard: wheelchair rock, for cats who haven't bought enough records by handicapped people this week. From what I can tell, it set a new standard for wibbling British nonsense. It makes listening to Henry Cow records seem like an enjoyable experience. (Obviously it doesn't, I'm just exaggerating for effect.) You can guess how I feel about Soft Machine.

Otis Wheeler, Sunday, 15 April 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

Like Ned, I've heard very little of Wyatt's music thus far, but I love his recordings of "Kingdom" and "Happy Land", which sound at once ancient and driving into the future, relevant equally at any point in a hundred-year timespan. I also love his version of Chic's "At Last I Am Free". Needless to say I think his embrace of communism was fucked from top to bottom, but I wouldn't hold that against him as a judgement.

Robin Carmody, Monday, 16 April 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

The communism I don't mind. It was the Stalinism I could never figure out. Muslimgauze's political stance in comparison seemed calm and sweetly reasoned.

Ned Raggett, Monday, 16 April 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

"Shleep" is definitely classic, even if it does have Paul bleedin' Weller on it. "Rock Bottom" isn't too far from classic, though it can sometimes feel a bit claustrophobic and muggy (to me, at least). His version of Chic's "At Last I Am Free" is an unmitigated joy.

Johnathan, Monday, 16 April 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

I've been listening to a lot of Wyatt recently and revere the man immensely. (Not to mention having once upon a time put Soft Machine samples high in the Japanese singles charts with Kahimi Karie's 'Good Morning World.) 'Rock Bottom' is a lovely album. Great analogue synths, beautiful through and through. 'Ruth Is Stranger Than Richard' is also strong, more mannered, less melancholic. His voice has to be one of the most beautiful in pop music. Check out Pascal Comelade's version of Weill's September song, with Wyatt guesting. Nobody sings like that! I have less time for the jazzy noodling of Matching Mole, but Wyatt himself sits in my pantheon amongst the toppermost of the poppermost.

Momus, Monday, 16 April 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

I still think that EC sang 'Shipbuilding' better than RW did. Artists always seem to say that cover versions are better than their own (original) versions - I don't know whether that's some kind of appropriate modesty, a pop convention, or whether, um, they actually always believe it, but I do sometimes find these views skewed. Perhaps that song wasn't a cover, cos it was written specially for RW, and EC was borrowing it back? Either way, I'd rather listen to EC.

the pinefox, Monday, 16 April 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

What he said.

Ally C, Monday, 16 April 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

It would figure that Pascal Comelade, possibly the only musician more insufferable than Robert Wyatt, would get mentioned in this thread.

Otis Wheeler, Monday, 16 April 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

I love Robert Wyatt. Hardly listen to "Rock Bottom", never heard "Ruth...", but the late 70s early 80s stuff is the business - some amazing singles and a few brilliant album tracks, and his sad rocking-chair voice I could listen to for hours.

And the brilliant tracks include - yes - some political ones. "Alliance" for instance is reductionist and I don't agree with it (or more to the point I don't care about the actual political situation being described) BUT as a portrait of political disillusionment and betrayal it's superb and like a lot of great political songs it's a disappointed love song too - "It's hard to talk to enemies / And we are enemies / What we had in common / Makes it even worse".

Also m'lud take into account: "At Last I Am Free", "Shipbuilding", "Born Again Cretin", "Arauco", "Kingdom" and a large chunk of "Shleep" too.

Tom, Tuesday, 17 April 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

Speaking a bit against him here now, I think we also have to take into account that he still thinks Paul Weller is a good idea. This operates under the assumption that 'Paul Weller' is a metaconstruct constructed from _The Who Sell Out_, an Italian suit from 1958, _Das Kapital_ and mulch.

Ned Raggett, Wednesday, 18 April 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

I think _Rock Bottom_ is a pretty good record, and a life-affirming one despite its seeming darkness. There are some truly bad ideas on it, though (the long bass solo, the dancing-elves bit at the end, ugh) but then there are some pretty unusual textures and melodies to counterbalance that. The first Soft Machine album is damn clever, too, and not in that bad clever way. And it rocks. I didn't really dig much of his other stuff. (and how classic: "Oh, I only like his early stuff")

I would hardly rank him in the same league as Simon and Garfunkel; I haven't heard anything on Soft Machine 3 or greater, but it can't be as staggeringly annoying as "Cecilia". Uff da.

Jacob Anderson, Wednesday, 18 April 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

i think pretty much everything Robt. W. ever sang or played on is GREAT, GREAT, GREAT (& Henry Cow suck but Slapp Happy were awesome 7 FredFrith's solo gtr album is awesome too), but you know who i've been enjoying most out of that Canterbury- scene sorta stuff recently, is Kevin Ayers. I guess he's a comparively minor artist (compared to Wyatt) but man, his 1st 2 albums (3rd one too probably but i still haven't heard it) are the biz.
(& the best Soft Machine stuff is the stuff with him, no q.)

duane zarakov, Thursday, 19 April 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

& hey ned, excellent metadeconstruction ,or whatever one would say, of P. Weller......except his "Who Sell Out" days are way behind him, I'd say by now he's up to about "Who By Numbers"...specifically probaly something like "Squeeze Box". Or maybe more like one of Humble Pie's worst "fake negro mannerisms" period. Beard-era stuff, anyway.
Yeah I know Robt Wyatt has a beard too but I'd consider him one of the elite of rock beardos who actually earned his whiskers.

duane zarakov, Thursday, 19 April 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

I hate to be perverse (he lied), but I LIKE the fact that RW likes Weller: seems a v.succinct yet unmoralistic way of saying, "I have transcended mere trend and am serene in the land I landed up in..." His Stalinism also seems (given its timing) to be, like, siding with losers as a matter of principle.

mark s, Friday, 20 April 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

Stalin, sure, but Paul Weller...

d.z., Friday, 20 April 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

two years pass...
"rock bottom" = greatest thing ever or, um, greatest thing ever?

see also "dondestan revisited"

amateurist (amateurist), Saturday, 5 July 2003 06:42 (sixteen years ago) link

not sure, btw, that he's a "stalinist" anymore as he'd left the cp some years ago.

amateurist (amateurist), Saturday, 5 July 2003 06:43 (sixteen years ago) link

i heard there was a new wyatt album due out soon, anyone know anything further?

shleep is a beautiful record and the first I discovered; both rock bottom and ruth hit my cd player regularly. I liked Old Rottenhat as well, which means I like pretty much everything I've heard by him, which I suppose means I'm a fan and therefore think: classic.

anthony kyle monday (akmonday), Saturday, 5 July 2003 07:39 (sixteen years ago) link

'rock bottom'. yes perhaps greatest album ever.

'old rottenhat' close behind. prefer the original mix of 'dondestan' over the polished 'revisited' one by ten miles.

jl, Saturday, 5 July 2003 07:50 (sixteen years ago) link

So has Ned heard more Robert Wyatt since this thread was started? I'd be happy to copy something for you, Ned, as I suspect you'd love Rock Bottom.

amateurist (amateurist), Saturday, 5 July 2003 16:09 (sixteen years ago) link

It was a stroke of genius to end this record with Ivor Cutler's voice, although every time I think of it, it calls to mind The Who's "A Quick One, While He's Away"....

amateurist (amateurist), Saturday, 5 July 2003 16:21 (sixteen years ago) link

robert wyatt is my all time favorite artist, ever.

JasonD (JasonD), Saturday, 5 July 2003 19:07 (sixteen years ago) link

What a great human being. His voice is like a warm, comforting friend. Rock Bottom and Ruth are wonderful beyond words. I hate Elvis Costello with a passion but I love Wyatt's "Shipbuilding". His animal rights advocacy is admirable. He introduced me to Victor Jara. I paid too much for the EPs box but I missed it the first time around and I had to have it. Some brilliant stuff on there, but the Shleep remixes suck. Actually, I was a bit let down by Shleep; for all the hype and praise it received, it was a tad disappointing. Still, it's great that he's still active and we can only hope for a new record.

The recent live Matching Mole discs on Cuneiform are pretty shit-hot too.

Mr. Diamond (diamond), Saturday, 5 July 2003 20:35 (sixteen years ago) link

victor jara introduced me to robert wyatt! (in a sense.)

i like everything he's done, even "a short break" and "the end of an ear" (which i listen to with some difficulty). his voice is indeed the unifying factor and it is so inviting, his wordless vocalizing in particular. apparently he can *sing* entire coltrane solos from memory.

i can't quite get into some of the matching mole stuff but "o caroline" is one of the greatest things he's done. manages to be self-effacing and utterly serious at once.

amateurist (amateurist), Sunday, 6 July 2003 03:06 (sixteen years ago) link

mr. diamond it is nice to see someone else liking jara. i grew up listening to him and other political singers like pablo milanes and theodor bikel and paul robeson. robert wyatt doesn't quite fit in that tradition as his political songs are generally more allusive than didactic (although this is true of many jara songs as well).

amateurist (amateurist), Sunday, 6 July 2003 03:07 (sixteen years ago) link

Well, I dunno, thinking about V. Jara sort of just makes me want to kill myself.

What a fucking wonderful country, right?

What a disgusting legacy. FUCK the United States of America.

Mr. Diamond (diamond), Sunday, 6 July 2003 03:14 (sixteen years ago) link

yes thinking about jara's end does make me despair for so many reasons. would that pinochet would end his life in a prison cell but what's done is done. bloody fucking awful.

jara's songs are lovely b/c they take the road not (often) taken w/r/t political songs, where a story about people living their daily lives, things like love and sex and children and school and so on, connect to politics in these suggestive but nonetheless clear ways. as wonderful as wyatt's reading of "te recuerdo amanda" is, jara's is heartbreaking. i shouldn't even bother to attempt to apply any superlatives to it.

amateurist (amateurist), Sunday, 6 July 2003 03:40 (sixteen years ago) link

haha the "United States" = democracy.

I'm like, at a loss for words whenever discourse centers on the ridiculousness of this place.

Anyway, yes Amateurist you are your normal smart, sensible self. Still, frankly, I can't dismiss people who have politics opposite to my own. Gosh, I'd like to think we all do.

Darnit, this world is fucked, but for Christ's sake some of us pine for the alternatives...

Mr. Diamond (diamond), Sunday, 6 July 2003 04:35 (sixteen years ago) link

actually, frankly, I'm drunk and not even sure what I'm talking about.

Wyatt rules.

Mr. Diamond (diamond), Sunday, 6 July 2003 04:37 (sixteen years ago) link

sorry who is jara?

this is a nice thread. there was a doc on robert wyatt abt a couple of months back on BBC4 and he came across as a wonderful person. I've heard some soft machine and i sort of struggle with it for some reason but I like his voice so i should check solo stuff.

Julio Desouza (jdesouza), Sunday, 6 July 2003 08:06 (sixteen years ago) link

start with rock bottom julio. and yeah, ned, have you heard it yet?

gaz (gaz), Sunday, 6 July 2003 08:46 (sixteen years ago) link

julio, you'd really appreciate his first solo record 'the end of an ear'. it's pre-accident and is pretty out. mixes free jazz and his voice. unlike anything he's ever made (actually, unlike anything anyone's ever made).

and soft machine doesn't even compare to his solo stuff. it's slow, moody, post-prog political love songs. and his keyboard tones are so warm and thick.

JasonD (JasonD), Sunday, 6 July 2003 08:50 (sixteen years ago) link

diamond, how much did you get his ep box for? i picked it up sometime this year for 30$ off ebay. i already had most of the stuff - from either owning the singles and eps or from the mid eighties cd (which collects old rotten hat and a bunch of ep stuff). but the animal farm disc is killer. the shleep remixes do kinda blow.

i keep passing up this one single of his. it's him and a bunch of south african musicians. anyone know anything about it?

JasonD (JasonD), Sunday, 6 July 2003 08:53 (sixteen years ago) link

Julio: Victor Jara was a Chilean singer and songwriter, who often wrote lyrics telling intimate stories with a political cast (he also wrote some athems), and was a major part of the pan-American movement called "Nueva Cancion" ("new song") which drew a lot of musical inspiration from Latin American folk music but also contemporaneous American politicized folk music à la Bob Dylan.

He was closely identified with the Popular Unity movement of Salvador Allende. After Pinochet's coup which toppled Allende, Jara was arrested, tortured, and later killed (along with 1000s of other Chileans).

His stuff probably shouldn't be too hard to find in any Hispanic music store (I'm not sure where you're at, but there's a million such places in Chicago), and on eBay you can sometimes find the remastered CDs from his catalog that came out in Chile last year.

Anyway we're talking about him because Wyatt recorded one of his most famous (and beautiful) songs, "Te Recuerdo Amanda" ("I remember Amanada").

amateurist (amateurist), Sunday, 6 July 2003 16:22 (sixteen years ago) link

thanks for recommnedations and amt thanks for info on jara.

Julio Desouza (jdesouza), Sunday, 6 July 2003 17:15 (sixteen years ago) link

Egads, looks like I turned into a drunken ranting fule last night. I think I became possessed by the spirit of Jello Biafra or something. Oh well. One of my cats died yesterday so I needed to put a good raging drunk on.

Anyway, Jason - yeah I believe I paid something like $30 or $35 for EPs as well. Too much, but as I say I had to have it (maybe it isn't too much, i dunno; I don't know what it went for new, but it seemed like a lot to me). It's just a really beautiful package, a nice thing to have on the shelf, you know? Yeah that Animals soundtrack is unsettling, and I've never even seen the film.

Mr. Diamond (diamond), Monday, 7 July 2003 03:30 (sixteen years ago) link

don't (see the film)--it's the most disturbing thing i've experienced. i had to avert my eyes much of the time.

amateurist (amateurist), Monday, 7 July 2003 03:32 (sixteen years ago) link

Yeah, Amateurist, I sort of really don't want to see it.

I think it would give me nightmares.

Mr. Diamond (diamond), Monday, 7 July 2003 04:16 (sixteen years ago) link

OH i love him, mostly classic (atleast the solostuff i´ve heard)
Rock Bottom and the At last i´m free / STRANGE FRUIT 7" is my favourite solo. And his best song is on the first Matching MOle record, it´s called O CAROLINE it´s on my top ten ever list.

Also he was on one of the best singles ever, Vivien Goldmans Launderette / private armies record

Jens (brighter), Monday, 7 July 2003 07:02 (sixteen years ago) link

he's also on some raincoats records!

amateurist (amateurist), Monday, 7 July 2003 13:00 (sixteen years ago) link

i believe robert wyatt is CLASSIC without any argument. he is like a patron saint to me in some way.
what single with south african musicians? that's probably people from chris mcgregor's brotherhood of breath, whom wyatt was tight with. mongezi feza plays trumpet on "ruth" and the first brotherhood of breath record kicks it in an amazing way.
has anyone seen the film about robert wyatt? recommended was selling an NTSC copy not too long ago - is it worth splurging for?
wyatt rules so much. and he turns up in the damndest places (like on michael mantler's "The hapless child," where he sings the edward gorey-penned lyrics.

j fail (cenotaph), Monday, 7 July 2003 18:25 (sixteen years ago) link

The communism I don't mind. It was the Stalinism I could never figure out. Muslimgauze's political stance in comparison seemed calm and sweetly reasoned.

Since when was Robert Wyatt ever a "Stalinist"? What, because he sang "Stalin Wasn't Stallin'"? Do some research before accusing people of being Stalinists.

Dadaismus (Dada), Wednesday, 9 July 2003 13:57 (sixteen years ago) link

Two years down the line and there's this! Okay, share the details then -- I have always understood that Wyatt had a belief in some interpretation of hardcore communism along Stalinist lines, so what's the real story?

Ned Raggett (Ned), Wednesday, 9 July 2003 14:08 (sixteen years ago) link

hardcore communism along Stalinist lines

Errrrrrrrrrrrrrrr, what exactly does that mean? Wyatt was a member of the British Communist Party, he was a Marxist, he was not a Stalinist.

Dadaismus (Dada), Wednesday, 9 July 2003 14:12 (sixteen years ago) link

I dunno. A number of people, including Ted Grant, split from the British CP in the fifties over Hungary and other issues. Not sure if the CP ever officially repudiated Stalin a la Krushchev.

amateurist (amateurist), Wednesday, 9 July 2003 14:17 (sixteen years ago) link

there's an interview somewhere where green gartside says he and wyatt grew apart in the mid-80s because wyatt was "becoming more stalinist" (GG = grew up in the Young Communist League, so presumably knows what *he* means by the term — ie is using it technically and precisely, rather than just a vague or dismissive synonym for "marxist" or "communist")

mark s (mark s), Wednesday, 9 July 2003 14:30 (sixteen years ago) link

There was also an NME interview I remember with Steven Wells in which Wells says something like "Well, although we argue, he being a Stalinist and I being a Trotskyite etc., he's basically a good sort". Don't know how accurately Swells was characterising his politics, but anyway.

N. (nickdastoor), Wednesday, 9 July 2003 14:40 (sixteen years ago) link

Wyatt with Hatfield and the Matching Police Floyd Cow

Milton Parker, Saturday, 6 May 2017 01:16 (two years ago) link

Looks like Nick Mason on drums in that Wyatt clip too

Bernie Lugg (Ward Fowler), Saturday, 6 May 2017 03:44 (two years ago) link

You don't know "Shipbuilding", clemenza? That's his most famous cover I'd guess. His version rules. Much better than Elvis Costello's original. And somehow I have the feeling with the Brexit Great Britain is going for another folly which is at least as irrational and nutty as the Falkland war.

Alex in Spree-Athen (alex in mainhattan), Saturday, 6 May 2017 17:14 (two years ago) link

Robert Wyatt's is the original recording, Costello's version was released later.

Punnet of the Grapes (Tom D.), Saturday, 6 May 2017 17:33 (two years ago) link

But it was written by Costello, so it is his song.

Alex in Spree-Athen (alex in mainhattan), Saturday, 6 May 2017 17:36 (two years ago) link

To be accurate it was written by Clive Langer, he asked Costello to write lyrics for it.

Punnet of the Grapes (Tom D.), Saturday, 6 May 2017 17:38 (two years ago) link

He signed me up to CND in the mid-80s. He was often on Twickenham High St canvassing membership on Saturdays iat that time.

Dr Drudge (Bob Six), Saturday, 6 May 2017 19:09 (two years ago) link

You don't know "Shipbuilding"?

I don't (even though I know it's just a click away). I did order both Rock Bottom and Ruth Is Stranger Than Richard because of "I'm a Believer" (and after a little reading).

clemenza, Sunday, 7 May 2017 01:08 (two years ago) link

Ruth is a little thornier/difficult imo, I'd also recommend Nothing Can Stop Us, Shleep, Dondestan, and Comicopera

HONOR THE FYRE (sleeve), Sunday, 7 May 2017 03:34 (two years ago) link

ahhh you are in for a treat with 'rock bottom'

just another (diamonddave85), Sunday, 7 May 2017 04:52 (two years ago) link

for whatever reason, 'reminds me of your rocky bottom' is the lyric from that album that sticks with me. the contrast between ones rough edges and the concept of hitting rock bottom are especially poignant to me i suppose

just another (diamonddave85), Sunday, 7 May 2017 05:01 (two years ago) link

I walked past him in Lincolnshire market town Louth (he lives there).

djh, Sunday, 7 May 2017 08:30 (two years ago) link

Ruth Is Stranger Than Richard: wheelchair rock, for cats who haven't bought enough records by handicapped people this week. From what I can tell, it set a new standard for wibbling British nonsense. It makes listening to Henry Cow records seem like an enjoyable experience. (Obviously it doesn't, I'm just exaggerating for effect.) You can guess how I feel about Soft Machine.
― Otis Wheeler, Sunday, April 15, 2001 1:00 AM (sixteen years ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

I'm sometimes taken aback by the shitheadery of old school ILX, but this takes the fucking biscuit. How insulting to Wyatt and his work to suggest people only buy his albums because he's disabled. Ridiculous.

Pheeel, Sunday, 7 May 2017 11:53 (two years ago) link

the good old days before ilx was mean

in a soylent whey (wins), Sunday, 7 May 2017 11:54 (two years ago) link

That TOTP clip is fairly infamous for the shitty way they treated Wyatt.

WYATT: The producer said, "l'm embarrassed by that wheelchair, it's not entertaining, can you go and sit in this wicker-work thing?" I told him to fuck off, and he said, "You will never work on this programme again" - but as I just told you, I am too posh to care, frankly. I mean, I can't wheel a wicker chair, and I need to be able to get out quick in case the cops are coming, for fuck's sake!

Dan Worsley, Sunday, 7 May 2017 14:59 (two years ago) link

I did order both Rock Bottom and Ruth Is Stranger Than Richard because of "I'm a Believer"

you are in for a treat! Rock Bottom is amazing.

Robert Wyatt obviously classic as fuck

AdamVania (Adam Bruneau), Sunday, 7 May 2017 18:12 (two years ago) link

No love here for his (flop) follow up single?

Punnet of the Grapes (Tom D.), Sunday, 7 May 2017 18:16 (two years ago) link

the two Matching Mole albums are also solid

AdamVania (Adam Bruneau), Sunday, 7 May 2017 18:17 (two years ago) link

I really like the Drury lane set too. Though it does drop in sound quality towards the end.

Also really like the stuff he did in 1975 with Henry Cow which I think is mainly live.

Matching Mole is pretty essential definitely. Especially the 2cd versions that came out about 5 years ago.

Stevolende, Sunday, 7 May 2017 18:52 (two years ago) link

Don't know if anybody knows this but it's glorious...I could listen to it all day

X-Prince Protégé (sonnyboy), Sunday, 7 May 2017 20:11 (two years ago) link

The Concert for Corbyn w/Paul Weller last December was widely heralded but I don't remember seeing a single review. There are one or two clips on YouTube, but little else.

mahb, Wednesday, 10 May 2017 08:50 (two years ago) link

i suspect it being about jeremy corbyn had something to do with its burial

increasingly bonkers (rushomancy), Wednesday, 10 May 2017 13:48 (two years ago) link

Mojo reviewed it.

Mark G, Wednesday, 10 May 2017 14:37 (two years ago) link

one year passes...

Mostly Daevid Allen...

Poisoned by Johan's pea soup. (Tom D.), Sunday, 20 May 2018 19:37 (one year ago) link

from Rolling Jazz---I mostly listened to these because of Wyatt (and Coyne):

Michael Mantler:
The Hapless Child
words by Edward Gorey
(from 'Amphigorey')

Robert Wyatt (voice)
Terje Rypdal (guitar)
Carla Bley (piano, clavinet, synthesizer)
Steve Swallow (bass)
Jack DeJohnette (drums)

recorded July 1975 through January 1976
Willow, NY, and England
A whirlwind right out of the gate, and I knew from later all-instrumental versions how strong some of these frameworks would be---did not expect the excellent and unusual studio effects on some of Wyatt's vocal turns---but eventually, when the words are more upfront, can seem overly emphatic---Gorey's dank little narratives work better with his spare, black white & grey drawings or etchings or whatever they be. Also, c'mon, it's Gorey---think I'll go on to the settings of Beckett and Pinter.

― dow, Thursday, May 17, 2018 9:18 PM (three days ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

That is, the *overall* effect, the ensemble onslaught, not primarily Wyatt's vocals, can seem overly emphatic here.

― dow, Thursday, May 17, 2018 9:21 PM (three days ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

Mantler again: Silence(1976)---the overemphasis here is confined to some of MM's heavier handling of Pinter's words, and Chris Spedding's often repeated use of sustain etc., drawing a note out and curving it around 'til it's a needle in my earphones ---but it can hurt so good, and the voices are strong and distinctive, Carla Bley holding her on with Kevin Coyne and Robert Wyatt---and sometimes everybody follows Wyatt's dustdevil percussion, without ever missing their cues (it's a play with a small cast/combo, compressed, maybe condensed, into a single LP's worth of songs).

― dow, Friday, May 18, 2018 6:10 PM (two days ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

The text itself may grow on me, but so far doesn't seem up to several Pinter plays I'm more familiar with, though Mantler can highlight the weak spots in his literary sources, maybe by blurring some of the plot points.

― dow, Friday, May 18, 2018

dow, Sunday, 20 May 2018 21:14 (one year ago) link

Pretty sure I would have bought these in the 70s if had come across them (was mailorderphobic, opp extreme in 80s), and as a Wyatt fan would have been fairly satisfied.

dow, Sunday, 20 May 2018 21:18 (one year ago) link

never even heard of these, thanks.

akm, Sunday, 20 May 2018 21:58 (one year ago) link

wowowow this rules!!

kurt schwitterz, Monday, 21 May 2018 20:11 (one year ago) link

That "Playa de Formentor" clip; wow, just wow! Thanks so much for that.

stirmonster, Monday, 21 May 2018 21:34 (one year ago) link

Some atrocious acting from young Robert there, he looks at the camera, the last thing you should do as an extra. Daevid is good though.

Poisoned by Johan's pea soup. (Tom D.), Monday, 21 May 2018 23:25 (one year ago) link

Yup, Daevid is good. Incredible seeing him so young with it all ahead of him.

stirmonster, Monday, 21 May 2018 23:29 (one year ago) link

Talking of which, this is pretty nutty, though it would belong on a Daevid Allen thread, if such a thing existed...

Poisoned by Johan's pea soup. (Tom D.), Monday, 21 May 2018 23:33 (one year ago) link

I hadn't seen that one either. Going by that and myriad other Daevid Allen TV appearances, French TV in the late 60s / early 70s was tres out there.

And yes, a scandal that there is no Daevid Allen thread.

stirmonster, Tuesday, 22 May 2018 00:10 (one year ago) link


dow, Tuesday, 22 May 2018 00:16 (one year ago) link

There are Gong threads.

nickn, Tuesday, 22 May 2018 00:23 (one year ago) link

Another Mantler:

words by
Samuel Beckett
Ernst Meister
Philippe Soupault

Jack Bruce (voice)
Marianne Faithfull (voice)
Robert Wyatt (voice)

Michael Mantler (trumpet)
Rick Fenn (guitar)

The Danish Radio Concert Orchestra
conducted by Peder Kragerup

recorded May through December 1987
Copenhagen, London, Boston,
Willow, NY

27 songs in 34 minutes: no sense of fragmentation, maybe in because I'm not following the words very closely, but on his site Mantler says they were chosen to fit together in several ways, and sonically they ripple back and forth (while somehow pushing on), between three languages and at least five voices, if you count the trumpet and guitar (singing behind/around the humans, never in the way), sixth is the orchestra far as I'm concerned, though it's never breathing too heavy.

Thread police may get me, because humans are heard pretty much in the order of their billing, I think, though some of these songs are just a few seconds long, and all three sound more flexible than expected.

But, for instance, "A L'Abattoir" will def make my personal travelling mix of RW, ditto "Prisonniers," which is either Wyatt and Bruce or Wyatt and Faithfull, or (more likely) Wyatt and Wyatt in different registers, maybe singing to each other through the wall (not too loud).

Pretty sure I would have liked all of this on first listen with no idea who did it.

dow, Tuesday, 22 May 2018 04:31 (one year ago) link

"ILM Threads that need a NO CAUSE FOR ALARM warning when they are revived"

mahb, Tuesday, 22 May 2018 08:33 (one year ago) link

The Hapless Child is pretty awesome and sui generis though i have kind of sited it in my head next to Art Bears

cheese is the teacher, ham is the preacher (Jon not Jon), Tuesday, 22 May 2018 14:59 (one year ago) link

xp yes, seriously

most of my love for Hapless Child is cuz of Gorey, it's a bit too fussy and prog for me but it's a very cool record regardless and essential for even semi-completists

sleeve, Tuesday, 22 May 2018 15:10 (one year ago) link

"ILM Threads that need a NO CAUSE FOR ALARM warning when they are revived"

― mahb, Tuesday, 22 May 2018 08:33 (six hours ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

Arr, but then again, I think our Rob would go straight to a dedicated RWRIP thread if there ever was one.

Mark G, Tuesday, 22 May 2018 15:27 (one year ago) link

Really feeling The Hapless Child. Carla is a superstar on this.

kurt schwitterz, Tuesday, 22 May 2018 16:33 (one year ago) link

Mantler's The School of Understanding (recorded in 1996) mainly features Wyatt on "Understanding," where he's the Guest Observer, riding into a language school on what might be a baby elephant or lofty llama, but is listed as Don Preston's syndrums, which I'd thought only made little pooty sounds, so even more education. Too ba
Too bad Wyatt and the syndrums only come in once, but the whole thing's pretty listenable; I especially like when other voices address the refugee student. Woman: "You are a victim, you have suffered so much---you must go." A guy: "What you have suffered is inconceivable." Meanwhile, Alien Girl remembers: "Don't think about it, go to's a long walk through the war, bits and pieces." (Mantler wrote all the words for once, so far turning out at least as well as settings for his literary heroes.)

Digital drums appear once on Mantler's 2000 settings of Paul Auster's words,Hide and Seek (though tuned percussion brings constant and welcome companionship to co-stars RW and Susi Hyldgaard, compatible with Wyatt's own turns on xpost Silence---come to think of it, Preston's syndrums fit the feel of Wyatt's real kit of yore. This anomalous sound may be what's alarming the couple---he: "Have you, no-oh-ticed---?" she: "Yes! Yes! Yes!" "Have you any ideas?" "Yes, I'm going to scream." "When are you going to do it?" "Right Now!"
That's when the whole thing bumps up the word interest, which had previously been mostly Deep Thought mulch for granular melody and rhythm, vocal and instrumental. The final stretch develops circular and spiraling conversations (briefly) from repeated phrases---he: "I don't denyyy..." she: "What?" "Anything." "That's very clever of you." "I'm glad we agree." together/overlapping "I'm glad you're glad." Ho-ho well it sounds good, and yeah several more keepers for the deep fan mix.

dow, Wednesday, 23 May 2018 19:03 (one year ago) link

ten months pass...

So this popped up as a new release today.

sctttnnnt (pgwp), Saturday, 23 March 2019 01:28 (seven months ago) link

three months pass...

Audience Recording of the North Sea Radio Orchestra show with John Greaves and Annie Barbazza and Fred Frith as special guests At Cafe Oto 27 June 2019, presenting the Dark Companion album FOLLY BOLOLEY - Songs from Robert Wyatt's Rock Bottom. (plus other songs)

nickn, Friday, 5 July 2019 22:10 (four months ago) link

Oh well, search for Folly Bololey At Cafe Oto 27 June 2019

nickn, Friday, 5 July 2019 22:11 (four months ago) link

i'm not usually into these kinda things but this is really good

diamonddave85​​ (diamonddave85), Monday, 8 July 2019 19:53 (four months ago) link

live recording is great too. thanks for sharing

diamonddave85​​ (diamonddave85), Monday, 8 July 2019 19:53 (four months ago) link

there is some slanderous bullshit at the beginning of this thread

Blues Guitar Solo Heatmap (Free Download) (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Monday, 8 July 2019 20:53 (four months ago) link

haha yes

sleeve, Monday, 8 July 2019 20:57 (four months ago) link

"I've heard very little of Wyatt's music thus far, but....................."

MaresNest, Tuesday, 9 July 2019 09:46 (four months ago) link

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