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Robert Wyatt - Different Every Time CD (album) cover


Robert Wyatt


Canterbury Scene

3.93 | 11 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars - The first review - The main editor of this 2-CD set is Robert Wyatt's biography author Marcus O'Dair, whose liner notes are included on the leaflet. "Individual tracks were chosen simply on aesthetic grounds, but the compilation also had to work as a coherent sequence of music. Where possible, we also chose tracks that had a particular personal resonance for Robert. The selection was intended to be representative, but only up to a point." It is intentionally an unconventional compilation and as such it reaches its goals excellently.

The first CD covers chronologically the whole career of Robert Wyatt, starting from his SOFT MACHINE membership. There's only one SM track, but it's no less than the 19-minute 'Moon in June' from the double album "Third" (1970). I've always loved this jazzy epic of a charming, improvisation-like nature, starring Lowry organ, delicious drumming and Wyatt's inimitabe voice. The MATCHING MOLE albums (both from 1972) are represented with one track each, 'Signed Curtain' and 'God Song', very nice choices. Interestingly Wyatt's superb Rock Bottom album -- his first work after his physical accident that re-shaped him as a musician -- is represented only by a 1974 live version of 'A Last Straw'.

Here the album info contains the source albums. That's exactly what I miss on the leaflet, which on the other hand even lists the musicians on most tracks. 'Yesterday Man' seems to be taken from some EP; it's IMHO among the worst songs on this disc, whereas the lengthy 'Team Spirit' from Ruth Is Stranger Than Richard (1975) is great especially for the hypnotic bass sound. Sonically spatial and laid-back 'At Last I Am Free' is my personal favourite from Wyatt, in all its naive simplicity. The rest of the solo discography is squeezed in all-too-limited space (that's the price you pay when starting with an album side long epic!) but the choices are done in a very elegant manner, underlining the artist's personality and uniqueness, and payng no attention whatsoever to the commercial potential -- or rather, the lack of it.

But what makes this set very unconventional and adventurous is the 2nd disc, which contains material of other artists featuring Wyatt in a notable collaborator role. These artists include e.g. Scandinavian females JEANETTE LINDSTRÍM, ANJA GARBAREK and BJÍRK. Groups such as HOT CHIP, EPIC SOUNDTRACKS, GRASSCUT and HAPPY END are totally unfamiliar to me. Some tracks are pretty fascinating, others just hard to digest, as surprisingly many tracks sound rather arty-farty in their low-tempo minimalistic aesthetics. Amidst them the classic 'Shipbuilding' that Elvis Costello and Clive Langer wrote for Wyatt, feels like a friend's hand in the crowd of strange people.

'Still in the Dark' by MONICA VASCOLENOS is nice, thanks for her vocals, and the way Wyatt shares vocal duties with two women on WORKING WEEK's cool, lively song (an extended 12" version) is marvelous. All in all the stuff on this disc is not much vocal oriented. This set may be far too difficult for a listener unfamiliar with music of such free and intimate nature (containing more elements from chamber jazz than from pop/rock), but in the world of compilations this is really something special.

Matti | 4/5 |


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