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Robert Wyatt - The End Of An Ear CD (album) cover

THE END OF AN EAR

Robert Wyatt

 

Canterbury Scene

3.22 | 88 ratings

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zravkapt
Special Collaborator
Post/Math Rock Team
3 stars The debut solo album from Wyatt while he was still a member of Soft Machine. For a guy who didn't like the direction Softs were going in, he comes up with music not too far removed from what Softs themselves were doing at the time. The music here is very jazzy and avant-garde; it sounds influenced by Zappa and influential to Henry Cow. Robert does wordless vocals and plays drums and keyboards. Of the guest musicians, the two most noteable are Softs saxophonist Elton Dean and Caravan keyboardist David Sinclair. Apart from two interpretations of "Las Vegas Tango"(written by sometimes Miles Davis arranger Gil Evans), the rest of the song titles are dedicated to somebody.

The first part of "Las Vegas Tango" has multi-tracked and speed altered Roberts imitating some of the instruments from the original. Almost entirely vocals/drums/electric piano. Some of the drumkit sounds recorded at different speeds. "To Mark Everywhere" sounds like something from Zappa's Uncle Meat. Steady drumbeat, some repeated vocal parts and very free and whiny saxes for the first half. Studio manipulated drums and sound effects for the next half. "To Saintly Bridget" has nice echoed whistling. Acoustic upright bass, sax and Wyatt's syncopated drumming makes up this track.

"To Oz Alian Daevid And Gilly" is dedicated to Daevid Allen and Gilly Smith of Gong. This is a free jazz/avant-garde piece similar to what Softs were doing at the time. Wyatt's drums are heavily echoed in "To Nick Everyone," which sounds very improvised. More sax and upright bass with some piano as well. Later the drumbeat from "To Mark..." gets reprised off and on. "To Caravan And Brother Jim" is the stand out track. Features Dave Sinclair on organ. Starts out with the "To Mark..." drumbeat and echoed vocals with some very proggy piano and organ parts. Slowly the song turns into free jazz.

"To The Old World (Thank You For The Use Of Your Body, Goodbye)" is dedicated to Kevin Ayerss' band The Whole World. More avant craziness. Some studio altered instrument can be heard. Not sure what it is, sounds like a piano with an effect on it and the playback speed is continually being changed. "To Carla, Marsha And Caroline (For Making Everything Beautifuller)" is one of the more interesting and melodic songs here. Some nice piano and organ. Some avant sounds from organ and piano can be heard overtop the melodic organ and piano. The second part of "Las Vegas Tango" has hypnotic backwards sounds. This sounds similar to some some of the stuff on Wyatt's next album Rock Bottom. Electric and regular piano dominate along with Wyatt's scat vocals. More speed altered vocals and effects.

This is a good album and was very influential on later avant-prog, but it's not something I would want to listen to everyday. It's interesting that this album sounds a lot better than Third released the same year. Third has better music however. If you want to get into Wyatt, I would suggest Rock Bottom or the first two Soft Machine albums instead of this. Overall I would give this 3 stars.

zravkapt | 3/5 |

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