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FREQ

Robert Calvert

Psychedelic/Space Rock


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Robert Calvert Freq album cover
3.00 | 4 ratings | 3 reviews | 0% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1984

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Ned Ludd (4:38)
2. Talk 1 (1:30)
3. Acid Rain (4:54)
4. Talk 2 (2:34)
5. All the Machines Are Quiet (5:28)
6. Talk 3 (0:45)
7. Picket Line (3:15)
8. Talk 4 (0:50)
9. The Cool Courage of the Bomb Squad... (5:20)
10. Talk 5 (0:56)
11. Work Song (3:54)

Total Time: 34:04

Bonus tracks (1980 single)
12. Lord of the Hornets (3:50)
13. The greenfly and the rose (3:40)

Lyrics

Search ROBERT CALVERT Freq lyrics

Music tabs (tablatures)

Search ROBERT CALVERT Freq tabs

Line-up / Musicians

- Robert Calvert / vocals, keyboards, programming, guitar, harmonica, percussion
- Jill Riches / Keyboards, vocals
- PG Martin / Guitars, vox AC30

- Simon King / drums (tracks 12 & 13)
- Huw Lloyd Langton / guitar (tracks 12 & 13)
- Lemmy / bass (track 12)
- Steve Swindells / keyboards (tracks 12 & 13)

Releases information

(UK LP) Flicknife SHARP 021
(US CD) Cleopatra CLEO94672
(UK CD) entitled "Freq Revisited" Anagram CDMGRAM55

Thanks to Rob The Good for the addition
and to easy livin for the last updates
Edit this entry

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ROBERT CALVERT Freq ratings distribution


3.00
(4 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(0%)
0%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(25%)
25%
Good, but non-essential (50%)
50%
Collectors/fans only (25%)
25%
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)
0%

ROBERT CALVERT Freq reviews


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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Heptade
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars This is "Freq" with two unrelated bonus tracks, so this review applies to both releases. This is a concept album, not a proggy but rather a serious political one. It deals with the UK miners' strikes of the mid-80s and Thatcher's attempts to stamp out working class political consciousness. It questions the value and dignity of the jobs provided to labourers in the modern industrial age. The record consists of a few synth-driven songs with mechanical beats emphasizing the cold, harsh reality of modern industrial life, with Calvert's sardonic, brilliant lyrics providing commentary. "Acid Rain" is particularly scary, and only "Work Song", the last track, provides a sense of hope and value in manual labour in a mechanized, specialized world. Interspersed among the songs are field recordings of picket line confrontations and political speeches by the likes of Neil Kinnock. The two bonus tracks are demos from "Hype" that have nothing to do with this album, and don't make any sense here; they don't really provide more value. The music is decent on this record, but its true value is as a commentary on the times by a brilliant, sympathetic observer. I don't think the average Hawkwind fan find it as scintillating as I do- you definitely benefit from knowing the background, and a left-wing outlook sure helps too. A very interesting album by an intelligent mind.

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Send comments to Heptade (BETA) | Report this review (#65374) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
2 stars Part of the union

Although "Freq" was Robert Calvert's fourth release, in reality it is the second album of his second phase of solo works, the first two albums being released about 10 years previously.

The title disguises what is an overtly political theme, the accompanying sleeve notes (to the CD re-release) talking of Margaret Thatcher ("Hitler without the moustache" according to track 2) "destroying the challenge of the unions". Specifically, the album focuses on the British miners strike of 1984-85. Calvert was active in his support of the miners, both through the release of this album, and through benefit concerts.

The wider theme of the album is the mechanisation of industry, and the consequent human cost. The opening track "Ned Ludd" examines the efforts of the Luddites to stall the inevitable progress of the automation of manual labour. Thus the music has a very meachanical feel to it, with echoes of KRAFTWERK in the dominant synthesiser motifs which accompany Calvert's monotone vocals. Between the actual songs are tracks entitled "Talk 1-5", which report sound-bites from the miners strike to the accompaniment of processed mechanical sounds.

Song titles such as "Picket line", All the machines are quiet" and "Work song" need little explanation or lyrical quotation, Calvert's politics are worn on his sleeve.

Musically, the album is not an easy listen. Apart from the occasional respite of (musically) lighter songs such as "All the machines are quiet", whose chorus has a surprisingly 60's pop feel, the sound is heavy and sparse in melody.

Two bonus tracks are added to the CD editions. These formed the A and B sides of a 1980 single by Calvert, and as such bear little relation to the rest of the album in either concept or time. "Lord of the hornets", the A side, is a rather bland slice of early 80's electronic pop rock, similar to the work of bands such as M and Devo. "The greenfly and the rose" is a pleasantly lilting song with processed vocals.

Without the bonus tracks, "Freq" is a woefully short album, running for just 34 minutes. While it stands as a historical document which reflects the polarised attitudes of the troubled mid 1980's, musically it is lacking in depth or inspiration.

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Send comments to Easy Livin (BETA) | Report this review (#93818) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, October 09, 2006

Review by tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover Team
4 stars This wins the weirdest album in my collection award, pretty much hands down. I was completely unprepared for this enigma, while enjoying his quirky "Captain Lockheed & the Starfighters release, as well as his massive work with Hawkwind and the rather brilliant Hawklords disc. "Freq" is an odd ball collection, encapsulating the themes of the ugly struggle of English coal miners back in the 80s, that gentrifies the true oblique nature of this incredible talent, certainly the schizoid behavior had something to do with it (such as locking himself in a room dressed in the uniform of a WWI fighter ace). "Ned Ludd" reminds of John Foxx, ponging sequencers ablaze with Calvert's dirgy monotone voice. Devilishly insinuating and hypnotic, recalling the first mechanical age saboteurs who feared that one day soon, machines would take away jobs from all workers. Hmmmm! Next is the first of a series of voice and sound effects, "Talk1 " is a political argument that finds itself enveloped in gurgling washes. "Acid Rain" is bleak, hideous and macabre piece that has a definite doomsday feel that only a basket case like Calvert can exult in. A stunning slice of kismet and shadow, a sonic treat and a real anti-pollution rant. Another lip service to the Talk interludes and we dive into real bliss with the appropriate "All the Machines Are Quiet", a rumbling synth-pop jewel loaded with sardonic rage and sarcastic victory, a definite 60's punk attitude in an electro- prog veneer, Calvert ripping into the injustices of the industrial behemoth. If this is pop, well God help us all, should you believe in both! Robert defines his odd talent here and forever more. Talk 3 and "Picket Line" has the metallic synths ablaze once again, a harsher, raspier mood that rages and rolls, even as P.G. Martin crunches on electric guitars, pummeling pitilessly like some deranged strikers in the riotous melee. The highly acerbic "The Cool Courage of the Bomb Squad Officers" would have gotten him jailed (or worse) in many countries but jolly England had long lost its alleged conservatism , preferring outspoken freedom of expression and some semblance of freedom, period but it came after many struggles (the debatable Thatcher era and recently Blair). This is appealing not pretty, a sinking drone with marshalling drums and bleaker spew from the uniformed Calvert, another classic example of his iconoclastic reputation; the man was so bizarre and so utterly talented, most definitely a richly deserved prog icon. "Work Song" is leaning towards robotic Kraftwerk/John Foxx territory, wispy synths and harder rhythms, the scarf-shrouded Calvert's encouragement is delivered in a somber monotone once again. Cold, cool almost polar (or perhaps even bi-polar), this loops along in a restrained frenzy that is really hard to resist, ("memories of the first World War" he intones). The next two numbers are extracted from the final Hawkwind tapes, manned by such space masters as bassist Lemmy, the incredible Simon King on drums as well as Steve Swindells (Hawklords) and steady guitarist Hugh Lloyd-Langton. No sign of Dave Brock anywhere! This is tough-ass space rock, simple, tortured and brutal with some of the widest vocals ever on "Lord of the Hornets" (great song title) and the disc closes with the obtuse " The Greenfly & the Rose", a fitting goodbye that has the exalted Calvert singing with conviction and despair in his own peculiar and inimitable way, a platform for a legend that left us way too soon. Recommended to the true prog adventurists.The Cleopatra release has much cooler atrwork, Easily 4 fractured appliances.

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Send comments to tszirmay (BETA) | Report this review (#252758) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, November 26, 2009

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