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Henry Cow - Unrest CD (album) cover

UNREST

Henry Cow

 

RIO/Avant-Prog

3.43 | 105 ratings

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Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer
4 stars This is quite a change from their Canterbury flavoured debut "Legend". Enter Lindsay Cooper with her bassoon and exit Geoff Leigh. Certainly the bassoon along with the Chamber music style that is evident on a couple of tracks brings to mind UNIVERS ZERO, although this came out a couple of years before UNIVERS ZERO's debut. The first four songs were compositions written by Frith except for "Half Asleep; Half Awake" which was composed by Greaves.The last four tracks were a band effort with lots of improvising and experimenting in the studio after the fact.

"Bittern Storm Over Ulm" features prominant angular guitar from Frith while Greaves on bass and Cutler on drums dominate the sound early. This sounds amazing ! Horns come and go but it's the guitar that steals the show for the first 2 minutes. "Half Asleep; Half Awake" opens with slowly played piano for a minute before a collage of intricate sounds come and go the rest of the way. There is so much to enjoy throughout this track. Just a pleasure. It ends as it began with solo piano. "Ruins" opens with a lot of tension and suspense until a melody arrives not too unlike the previous song. Cutler really shines on this one. Dissonant horns 3 minutes in. It settles right down before 4 minutes as we get some chamber music. This lasts for 6 minutes then drums and that earlier suspense ends the song. Amazing.

"Solemn Music" describes this tune quite well. "Linguaphonia" features even more solemn music than the previous track. Bassoon will do that. Strange vocals from Lindsay as well on this one. Lots of atmosphere and it's quite experimental. I like it. "Upon Entering The Hotel Ablon" is led by drums and bass with outbursts of craziness once and awhile. Dissonant horns 3 minutes in to end it. "Arcades" is almost 2 minutes of chamber music. "Deluge" is a retrained song with intricate sounds coming and going quickly. Greaves comes in on vocals before 5 minutes to end it. His vocal style did remind me of Wyatt the first time I heard it.

I think this is a significant album for the Rio / Avant genre, and while I do prefer "Leg End" and "Western Culture" I do believe "Unrest" should be in every Rio fans collection. Easily 4 stars.

Mellotron Storm | 4/5 |

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