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Chris Cutler - Domestic Stories (with Lutz Glandien) CD (album) cover

DOMESTIC STORIES (WITH LUTZ GLANDIEN)

Chris Cutler

RIO/Avant-Prog


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Syzygy
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This is a song cycle that looks at the institution of marriage from Chris Cutler's hardline Marxist perspective. Perceived in some quarters as a virtual Art Bears reunion because Frith, Cutler and Krause are all present, it has more in common News From Babel and Cassiber, which is still excellent news indeed. Cutler wrote the lyrics and Lutz Glandien composed the music, using computer and sampling technology to great effect alongside the more traditional instrumentation of the older RIO players.

It's an intriguing album, with the lyrics and music full of allusions both obvious and obscure. Dagmar Krause brings the texts to life, singing about figures like Eve and Salome, while ex Cassiber musician Alfred 23 Harth provides an instrumental foil and brings some real warmth to the proceedings with his wonderful sax and clarinet embellishments. Fred Frith adds his own brand of RIO mojo on guitar and bass, but he and Harth are essentially guest performers; instrumentally it's Cutler and Glandien's album and they gel magnificently. Chris Cutler is always a highly inventive drummer, and the arrangements on this album offer him plenty of space to stretch out and use the full range of his techniques. Lutz Glandien makes intelligent use of samplers and computers, creating interesting soundscapes and adding to the sonic picture without distracting attention from the songs themselves. Song based RIO albums can sometimes get bogged down in their own density and complexity, but the writing, arrangements and performances on this album are all well judged and there's a lightness of touch running through most of it that makes the heavier passages all the more effective.

Fans of Art Bears, News From Babel and Cassiber will have some idea of what to expect but will also get some surprises. Afficianados of Cutler's drumming and Dagmar's voice will find the album especially rewarding, and anybody who enjoyed Harth's work with Cassiber will appreciate his occasional presence. Those less familiar with RIO/avant prog will find this one of the genre's more accessible albums, intellectually stimulating without being overbearing and containing instrumental passages of great if unorthodox beauty. Recommended.

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Send comments to Syzygy (BETA) | Report this review (#107674)
Posted Tuesday, January 16, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Oh my god, I've listened to this masterwork many times, always enjoying it, knowing that something more than special was happening. This might be the my favorite RIO/Avante prog album of all time.

I know I'm gushing here, but this listening has brought the whole into perspective. These talented individuals, writing, creating, reproducing in a new style, yet feeling like old friends. And Dagmar, god she's a voice that is so expressive, personal, yet powerful.

As stated in another review, if you like Art Bears, News from Babel, wish there was a new Henry Cow - GET THIS CD!!! It just doesn't get better than this.

If you're new to the avante/RIO stuff, this is a perfect place to start, and then follow the lives/production of each of these incredible artist.

Thanks for listening, PROG LIVES ON!

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Send comments to tmay102436 (BETA) | Report this review (#183019)
Posted Sunday, September 21, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars There's a certain style of avant garde music I've seen a few times now where artists will take some of the best of two or more genres and carefully construct tracks so that you are constantly switching from one to another to the other. The genres and their examples will usually be radically different, but the skill of the musicians proves more than enough to pull off, say, prog and industrial together in this fashion. The possibilities are tantalising and infinite. This RIO reunion album is a crowning example of this style, deftly blending genres together like you wouldn't believe, at least until you listen to it and it just... works. This has to be art music at a if not the apex. The aforementioned prog and industrial mixing happens here, and there's so much more too; they have no limits whatsoever. Now it seems like Henry Cow, Art Bears, News From Babel... it was all meant to work up to something like this. I cannot describe how or why this album is excellent beyond what I have already. Just give it a whirl. You'll be in for the most unique treat possible.

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Send comments to Lear'sFool (BETA) | Report this review (#1318513)
Posted Monday, December 01, 2014 | Review Permalink

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