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Robert Wyatt - Compilation CD (album) cover

COMPILATION

Robert Wyatt

 

Canterbury Scene

2.96 | 4 ratings

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Matti
3 stars Someone has rated this with one star, which is quite unfair. As the album info says, this is not a collection, but albums Nothing Can Stop Us Now (1981) and Old Rottenhat (1985) on one CD. To title it as Compilation is strange, but still, is it such a big deal? At least I am in general pleased to see these "2 albums in 1 disc" sort of things (I, who borrow most of my music from library anyway).

I think I've reviewed Old Rottenhat some years ago. Since that I've heard several other WYATT albums. Most of them no doubt are of higher artistic quality, but I still like this album because it has the sound and atmosphere of its own. It is mostly a spacey, nearly-minimalistic keyboard oriented work in which the acoustic instruments are more or less missing and many songs seem to be built on programmed sound loops, the faster-tempo tracks slightly reminding of disco beat. But it isn't as terrible as it sounds when described like this. Lyrics often deal cynically with the problems of the world, as one could guess from titles: 'East Timor', 'The Age Of Self', 'Vandalusia', 'Mass Medium'... The final track 'P.L.A.' is an exception: "Poor little Alfie trying to draw, etc". (Alfreda, his wife, that is.). This album has a certain freshness which I enjoy.

On the - even more politically challenging - album Nothing Can Stop Us Now Robert sings mostly covers. It is, for me, more or less equal case of songs I don't like and songs I like a lot. The latter ones are Elvis Costello's lovely 'Shipbuilding', the similarily slow and dreamy 'At Last I Am Free' and late nite jazz ballad 'Memories Of You', plus the Billie Holiday classic 'Strange Fruit', in which the stripped down arrangement wonderfully captures the cruel message. But some other tracks are rather annoying.

Clocking under 70 minutes in total, neither of these short albums are hardly among Wyatt's finest works musically, but this silly little disc easily includes pretty enjoyable stuff for one album's worth.

Matti | 3/5 |

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