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Henry Cow - Western Culture  CD (album) cover

WESTERN CULTURE

Henry Cow

 

RIO/Avant-Prog

4.23 | 145 ratings

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Epignosis
Special Collaborator
Eclectic Prog Team
4 stars Much of the music here is closer to classical music, even if it remains on the unconventional side. This may very well be my favorite Henry Cow album, because it is full of variety without once becoming nonsensical.

"Industry" I love the initial electronic riff that leads into that really strange but somehow easy to follow arrangement. This piece consists of jangling noise and violin sawing through it.

"The Decay of Cities" One of my favorite tracks on the album, Fred Frith delights with a Joe Pass-like solo jazz acoustic guitar introduction. Lindsay Cooper eases her way in subtly, giving way to Chris Cutler on trumpet. Part of the music has an almost Oriental feel to it. Tim Hodgkinson contributes to that sound with his lap steel guitar. Other times, the music can sound like the theme song to a 1970s sitcom. All of this variety is what makes this one of Henry Cow's most interesting and lovable pieces of music.

""On the Raff" Brass instrumentation abounds on this moderately-paced, subdued instrumental. It isn't nearly as far-fetched as a lot of Henry Cow is, and is almost pleasant jazz music for sitting back and just enjoying, even if it does get a tad boisterous.

"Falling Away" Prior to the unbridled percussion, the music here is a lot like what one might hear on an old Bugs Bunny cartoon. At one point, however, the music sounds very much like Camel.

"Gretel's Tale" This short piece is slow and shadowy in at first. Overall, it sounds very symphonic, juxtaposing gangling segments with far more graceful measures. The middle section thunders, accompanied by almost random piano flourishes. The ending is closer to free jazz.

"Look Back" A very short piece, this is a symphonic-sounding one, much like the one before.

"Half the Sky" A fair bit of this majestic piece sounds a lot like Genesis, particularly that submissive but beautiful lead guitar tone. It's a complex arrangement, full of textures and various timbres; it's a great way to finish and phenomenal album.

Epignosis | 4/5 |

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