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Robert Wyatt - Rock Bottom CD (album) cover

ROCK BOTTOM

Robert Wyatt

 

Canterbury Scene

4.30 | 784 ratings

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Walkscore
5 stars One of the Top Ten Albums of all time.

Largely written before his paralyzing fall, but recorded afterward (including, partly, in the hospital), this is Robert Wyatt's shining gem, and for me one of the most musical albums ever recorded. I have listened to this so many times now it is part of me. This album is totally original, with Wyatt creating a music that is not rock or folk, much improvised but not quite jazz, somehow avant but not avant-garde, not classical but a total classic. There really is nothing like it. Wyatt is such a unique and emotive singer, and his lyrics are both obtuse, even bizarre, yet somehow deeply personal. His sense of timing is also unique, sometimes lingering on chords or notes for seemingly long times before key transitions, building up sections by adding 'jazz noises' only to wash them away with a sigh. The first track, 'Sea Song' is a classic, one of Wyatt's best-ever songs, unforgettable. 'A Last Straw' mixes Eno and jazz, but with a twist, bringing the listener down to Wyatt's rocky bottom. The two very different tracks which close each side of the Vinyl album, both called 'Little Red Riding Hood Hit the Road' are highly inventive, the second one seeing Ivor Cutler (the well-known Scottish sortof-Poet) voice the oddest lyrics that must have ever been recorded, over a theme that features Mike Oldfield on electric guitars. But the tracks that really do it to me are 'Alifib/Alife', Wyatt's love letter to the woman who would remain his wife for the rest of his life. Not only is this one of the most beautiful pieces of music ever written, but I love how Wyatt deconstructs it both lyrically and musically over the course of its collective 13 minutes. I can't express just how impressive and special this music is. You just need to listen with open ears, and give it a number of spins - as with most things really valuable it sometimes takes a few to realize just how musical it is. I give this album 9.7 out of 10 on my 10-point scale, which is right up there with the best of the best.

Walkscore | 5/5 |

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