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Charles Hayward - Switch On War CD (album) cover


Charles Hayward



3.00 | 1 ratings

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3 stars Nobody has even rated a Charles Hayward album until now so this is obviously not the most mainstream person in prog, but he is certainly interesting. However, Switch on War will not appeal to the faint-hearted. I'd characterise the music as avantgarde industrial. Although Hayward is a drummer (actually a quite good one; ex This Heat and Camberwell Now and probably a key figure in both of these bands), there is not much drumming on this album, and actually not much rhythm, let alone melodies and harmonies. What I just wrote can be disputed according to your definition of rhythm, because there are rhythmic things, sounds and noises of some sort happening over about 2/3 of the time. I promise, though, that there is not a single melody to be found. Toward the end of "Pinpoint" and "Sweetheart" there is some drumming, but it's rather an addition to the palette of noises than rhythm. Most of the album is instrumental, there is no singing but a small amount of spoken word and some shouting. Drone-like distorted keyboard sound are often used, as well as some industrial noises. Many parts are quite monotone but all five tracks have a clear development and become more intense toward the end. Some bits are fairly shrill; I can listen to most of this easily and can tell you that there are things around in avantgarde contemporary music that are assaults on your ears that are much harder to endure, but I am aware that probably a majority of people will find this music already rather painful (and may wonder why on earth anybody would call it "music"). The album sounds and feels rather rough, dirty and unpolished. This is intended; Hayward's avantgarde is not of the calm or academic kind. His music is about emotions connected to the TV coverage of the first gulf war (see for Hayward commenting on the idea behind this); it expresses a mixture of anger and sadness and a probably to the frustration of Mr Hayward not fully successful attempt to make sense of it all. Although he writes: "this CD had the life expectancy of a magazine article or some such, no more than a year and it would be archive, a mere souvenir", I think that it expresses something authentic to which some people (including myself) in some situations can connect very well, and therefore I think it is a valuable experience if you're up for this kind of thing.

Overall I like this a lot, it is a strong musical document of certain raw and somewhat ugly emotions and thoughts for people who don't need music to fulfil certain musical conventions and expectations. The musical substance is somewhat limited though and given that this is not for most PA readers, I leave the rating at a good 3.

Lewian | 3/5 |


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