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


Chris Cutler



4.44 | 21 ratings

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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.

Syzygy | 4/5 |


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