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Robert Wyatt - EP's by Robert Wyatt CD (album) cover


Robert Wyatt


Canterbury Scene

3.20 | 17 ratings

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3 stars Whenever I visit London I make my way through the busy streets with a feverish mind and clear visiom. And that is to browse the shelves of the still proud flagship that once blew my mind with it's sheer size back in 1992, the year of my first visit. This time around was no different. I had to go there and I did. At first I was in pursuit of other albums but came across this litte box set of Wyatt's. I had been wanting it for a long time, due to the track "Shipbuilding" which is such a beautiful, slightly sad song. The thrill of finding the perfect thing in record stores is mainly unmatched, as far as I am concerned. The shivers I felt at the time was very satisfying indeed.

But what of the content then? Well, I'd like to start off by saying that not all things on here could claim to be all that progressive. There are odds and sods of different styles and the quality shifts from the highest peaks to slopes of the mountain. Obviously, Wyatt manages to produce music not totally disastrous but then again sort of lacklustre.

The first EP is a collection of covers. "I'm a beliver" is surprisingly great and energetic. The song in itself is maybe not the greatest track when Monkees recorded it and maybe it still ain't when Wyatt does it either, but it is a fun, energetic and in the end fantasic rendition. I really like it. The rest of the EP is alright. The inclusion of "Calyx" is a stroke of genius, as the song in itself is tremendous.

EP 2 holds three great tracks: "Shipbuilding", "Pigs... in there" and "Chairman Mao". The first track is a cover aswell but what a cover! It is beautiful, haunting, sad and is like the perfect soundtrack to the early 80's, as far as Britain is comncerned, but I dare say it is applicable to all of Europe at the time. "Pigs..." is a hilarious track, sort of a modern, electronic piece of Canterbury song. "Chairman Mao" is a strange but evocative track. Simplistic, minimalistic and grand.

EP 3 is the weakest in my book. Except for the great "Amber and amberines" I find very little to like. Bland, charter pop. I know, it seems unfair to the old man but I think it is quite awful. "Te recuerdo Amanda" is fun to hear, since it is a cover of a Victor Jara song and fits in nicely with Wyatt's political views. I have heard it by a swedish performer, Cornelis Vreeswijk, who translated it into swedish. With that in mind I semi-like the track on th EP.

EP 4 is the soundtrack to a film about the treatment of animals in the meat industry. I guess it fits the movie like a glove. Electronic and sparse it really does the job. I can't say I enjoyit but I find it, as a context piece, quite brilliant. I have not seen the movie and I have no intention to, though it would be interesting to hear the music as it was intended, as an aural companion tomthe horrific images on the screen.

EP 5 is a bunch of remixes and stuff Wyatt was working on. I find this disc in some ways the most progressive, in a way. Demonstrating Wyatt's excursions into the electronic field as well. It is interesting, to say the least. "Was a friend" is really good, for instance.

I'd like to conclude this review by saying that this collectionof EP's is a mix of great and lesser great tracks. If you think you're gonna find the progressive genius of Soft Machine or "Rock bottom" I hope you won't be disappointed but chances are you might be. Wyatt put it in words when he said he had to put food on the table, as it were, and recorded stuff intended for the charts. It is at most times far from bland, often interesting and engaging but the mix of greatness and less so makes it a varied listen. I love the box, although I do have trouble embracing all of it. But that is not necessary either. I stick to the goodies and that is quite enough in itself. The genius on individuality of Wyatt is there and that is the Wyatt I love. I recommend this box to already fans of Wyatt. If you are investigting the man or wants to listen to his music for the first time I would seriuosly recommend "Rock bottom", or Matching Mole.

I will rate this box 3 stars, based on the overall quality of the songs.

GruvanDahlman | 3/5 |


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