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Robert Wyatt - Rock Bottom CD (album) cover


Robert Wyatt


Canterbury Scene

4.28 | 903 ratings

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5 stars Rock Bottom is a unique album in my collection, though as it is the only album by Robert Wyatt that I own as of now, I cannot comment as to how it compares to other Wyatt albums. Robert Wyatt managed to crate a sorrowful, melancholy album album that does not succumb to depression. I can sit out in the sunshine and enjoy the lazy unraveling of "Sea Song," just as easily as I can find refuge in the quiver of sorrow Wyatt sings in "Alfie." Though the album was conceived in dire circumstances, Robert does not feel the need to wallow in pain, but composes--and sings especially--as if saying, "I hit rock bottom, now the only way is up." Therefore, I feel a sense of optimism even as momentary flickers of pain and heartache shine through the music, perhaps from the British sense of carrying on even in the face of overwhelming adversity. There's also another aspect to Rock Bottom that we can speculate about the condition of Robert at the time of it's writing, though perhaps it is a motif throughout his entire career. I don't know about that possibility, but it seems to me that the lyrics on Rock Bottom have an entirely surreal and absurd quality to them, even nonsensical at times. Perhaps this was Wyatt's way of communicating his situation in impersonal and less emotional terms, or perhaps it was just a means of escapism. The music on Rock Bottom is exceptional and expected of a master of the Canterbury Scene; jazz-rock is the dominant form here, and can vary from the tight construction of the semi-nautically-themed "Sea Song" and "The Last Straw" to lightly guided all-over-the-place excursions like "Little Red Riding Hood Hit the Road," and it's very similarly titled partner, "Little Red Robin Hood Hit the Road." It seems with Robert Wyatt that tragedy spawned creativity, and Rock Bottom is an excellent album to own from an extraordinary composer.
stonebeard | 5/5 |


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