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Henry Cow - Western Culture  CD (album) cover

WESTERN CULTURE

Henry Cow

 

RIO/Avant-Prog

4.19 | 149 ratings

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Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer
4 stars This record is really divided into two parts, side one was composed by Tim Hodgkinson and titled "History & Prospects". While side two was composed by Lindsay Cooper and titled "Day By Day". It's kind of cool looking back that Lindsay was a guest bassoon and aboe player on HATFIELD AND THE NORTH's "The Rotters Club" album. This album, especially the first side with titles like "Industry","The Decay Of Cities" and "On The Raft" paint a bleak picture for the future of "Western Culture".This band were politically pro socialists, even having a hammer and sicle on the album cover. This was the bands final album and it's cool that they had Yochko Seffer (MAGMA, ZAO) playing sax on some of their live dates in their final year(1978) of existance.The band I was reminded of the most when listening to this record was UNIVERS ZERO. Chamber music played in colour instead of black and white.

"Industry" is my favourite track on here. It has more of a rock influence I guess you could say. The drums pound as the organ comes and goes. Assorted sounds fill the soundscape, but there is a dark undercurrent to this.1 1/2 minutes in this is clearly felt as we get an early UNIVERS ZERO flavour with Lindsay's bassoon playing. An outbreak after 6 minutes including some outstanding drumming from Chris Cutler. "The Decay Of Cities" opens with acoustic guitar from Fred Frith before piano, bassoon, trombone and drums create some beautiful chamber music. The sound kind of explodes 4 minutes in again and again. Violin 5 minutes in with dissonant sounds to end it. Great track. "On The Raft" is a brighter, slower paced tune with drums, piano, sax (from Frith) and trumpet (from Cutler) leading the way. This sounds so good.

"Falling Away" speeds up a minute in with some excellent drumming and horns. Guitar 2 1/2 minutes in and a minute after that is really good. The song calms down 4 minutes in before speeding back up 7 minutes in to end it. "Gretel's Tale" has a melancholic intro. It's the bass and piano show a minute and a half in. Some pleasant horn melodies with dissonant piano over top from guest Irene Schweizer. "Look Back" has a sombre mood as strange sounding horns are played. This short song does come alive before it ends. "1/2 The Sky" has a heavy intro before a pleasant soundscape comes in with dissonant sax playing over top. The song changes before 4 minutes to an uptempo sax and drum led passage. Some great angular guitar to end it.

This is brilliant music that is played about as good as it can be played.

Mellotron Storm | 4/5 |

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