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Robert Wyatt - The End Of An Ear CD (album) cover


Robert Wyatt


Canterbury Scene

3.19 | 120 ratings

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Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Robert Wyatt's first solo album "End Of An Ear" came out when he was on a voluntary leave of absence from SOFT MACHINE. This was recorded inbetween SOFT MACHINE's "Third" and "Fourth" albums.The "Fourth" would be Wyatt's last with that band. He gets help on this one from fellow SOFT MACHINE members Elton Dean and Mark Charig on horns, while CARAVAN's David Sinclair is on organ. Sinclair would join Wyatt in the band MATCHING MOLE that Robert would form after leaving SOFT MACHINE. Wyatt's half brother Mark Ellidge is playing piano on this album as well.This record is perhaps the earliest(1970) Rio / Avant example there is. Wyatt never did another one like it. This is so experimental that many fans just can't get into it at all. There is a Jazz flavour to much of this, no doubt about that, but often we get outbursts of intricate sounds instead of real melodies. Lots of atmosphere as well, and check out Wyatt's vocal melodies that go from amazing to funny on the first track. I laughed what Wyatt said in the liner notes as he thanks Vic Gamm for engineering the entire session without ever saying I can't go on !

"Las Vagas Tango Part 1(repeat)" opens softly with vocal melodies that build. Assorted sounds come and go like piano, sax, cornet and drums as Wyatt uses his voice like another instrument. Amazing. It gets very experimental 4 1/2 minutes in. "To Mark Everywhere" is in tribute to his brother Mark playing piano.This one has a nice heavy beat as sax and cornet blast away.The beat stops 1 1/2 minutes in as it gets psychedelic on us to the end of the song. "To Strictly Bridget" is dedicated to Bridget St.John a solo artist (singer and song writer) who would go on to play with Kevin Ayers and Mike Oldfield. A great bass line in this one as horns come and go and drums beat away. Some dissonant sax late as the song blends into "To Oz Alien Daevyd And Gilly". Of course the Daevyd here is Daevid Allen from GONG who was an early member of SOFT MACHINE. And the Gilly is Gilli Smyth who co-founded GONG with Allen. She was also known as Shakti Yoni. This song naturally is quite out there. Haha. A dissonant soundscape that blends into "To Nick Everyone". This is for Nick Evans the trombone player who played with SOFT MACHINE and on KING CRIMSON's Lizard record. It opens with Wyatt beating on the drums seemingly at random while the sax comes and goes. Cool sound. Piano comes in a minute in. I am so impressed with Robert's drum work on this one.

"To Caravan And Brother Jim" is dedicated to the band CARAVAN of course and Jimmy Hastings. Another great track as a steady beat is heard while piano plays over top. Organ arrives and it all sounds so normal. Haha. Well not for long. The piano becomes dissonant and the drums become odd-metered. "To The Old World(Thankyou For The Use Of Your Body, Goodbye)" is a strange one with weird horn sounds. Piano and drums come and go quickly. No melody to this one. Experimental all the way. "To Carla, Marsha And Caroline(For making everything beautifuller)" refers to American Jazz pianist Carla Bley who collaborated with Wyatt, PINK FLOYD, Jack Bruce and others. Marsha Hunt was a model, singer and actress who is also American. And Carolie Coon was a political activist, journalist and artist who inspired Wyatt's "O Caroline" song. This song here features organ, bass and drums with more experimental sounds. "Las Vegas Tango Part 1" opens with piano and crazy vocal melodies. Percussion creates a beat. This is the longest song at 11 minutes.

I love this stuff. I really was blown away with this album. The guy truly was and is a genius. A brilliant album truly deserving of 4 stars. For any Rio-Avant fans out there,you have to check this criminally underated album out.

Mellotron Storm | 4/5 |


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