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Robert Wyatt - Dondestan CD (album) cover

DONDESTAN

Robert Wyatt

 

Canterbury Scene

3.75 | 54 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
3 stars By the early 90's, Wyatt had become a fixture of the underground, pilling up the albums of equal quality and political caliber since Rock Bottom. With Dondestan (Wher'ryou?), he seems to be a tad more inspired and a little subtler in his political rants (here, penned by wifie Alfie). With a very static drawing gracing the cover (a bit reminiscent of RISTR), this is very obviously the couple at a seaside resort in Spain, where they resided for a few years.

Music-wise, Wyatt still hasn't changed his style, the songs being depressive and full of KB layers that would be dronal if they weren't binary (two notes). The song themes seem to be axed onto religion, more than actual politics, and if the accordion has disappeared, harmonica (or a melodica? Difficult to say) pops in for an odd solo (Jeebies), but early on in the album, there is not that much to rejoice upon, as it sounds more of the same, but slightly updated.

However, unlike the previous albums, there are some experiments like the weird Shrinkrap, with a highly synthetic beat and a weird oddball piano (in its bass register) providing some humor and entertainment. Some of the latter tracks in the album are combined, like Left On Man and Lisp Service (the latter in collab with Hugh Hopper) and make for an interesting moment and even a slight nod at Matching Mole or Rock Bottom. The next combo is the 11-min+ NIO/Dondestan, where Robert upheaves the UK's order over a low Canterbury-esque organ, before going nutty with an absurd piano and crazy percussions in the title track, in a very burlesque almost Daevid-ian way, before the organ comes back for a slow death. .

While Dondestan is in the rough average of Wyatt albums and an improvement on recent history of his, due to a much stronger second half of the album, but it's definitely not enough to raise the album above the floating line. Prefer this one over OR, but certainly not over Shleep.

Sean Trane | 3/5 |

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