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Robert Wyatt - Comicopera CD (album) cover


Robert Wyatt


Canterbury Scene

3.78 | 82 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars I have all of Wyatt's studio albums except for the first. There's not a bad one in the bunch and this one's no exception.

The liner notes don't explain why, but it's divided into three acts. According to a recent interview, with Robert, on Lost In Noise, "is about loss and relationships." The Here And Now, is "about things I like, don't like, don't understand". Away With The Fairies "is, you know what? I'm fed up with English speaking people. I'm going to go away with the fairies. I sing in Italian and I do a bit of surrealism, free improvisation, and end up with a romantic revolutionary song of the '60s, a hymn to Ché Guevara. Just to say, that's my generation, the kind of hope that kept us going. I'm not saying it worked or didn't, but without these little dreams and hopes, I couldn't survive."

The first act, Lost In Noise, is very horny, uhm, I could phrase that better --- Horns are used in most of the pieces of the first act, Lost In Noise. The opening track, Stay Tuned is a slow piece with Eno doing keyboards. Not often that you hear Eno with horns. Just As You Are is probably my favorite on this album (no horns for some reason). It's a touching duet with Monica Vasconcelos about loving your partner, however imperfect either of you may be, "just as you are". You You was recorded in Robert's home studio. A one way thank you. A.W.O.L. is a rather sad tune about a woman lost in Alzheimer's "the tick and the tock of the damnable clock". Anachronist rounds out the first act. A very somber instrumental at the start picks up and starts to sound optimistic.

The second act, The Here and Now, starts off with an upbeat track A Beautiful Peace, a little folksy. Phil Manzanera is on guitar. Be Serious is a Robert rant against religion. On the Town Square is a rather cool instrumental with a nice Caribbean sound to it thanks to the steelpan player. Hard to describe but it reminds me of hanging out on a nice tropical beach somewhere. Mob Rule seems to be actually about what the authorities do in reaction to the people rising up. A Beautiful War is a sarcastic take on destruction of war "it's a beautiful day". Out of the Blue turns to an interpersonal blowup and wraps up act 2, atchoo!

For act three, Away With The Fairies, Mr. Wyatt switches to Italian for vocals. As someone who knows very few words and phrases from other languages, and yet many still that have become a part of US English, it's nice to listen to. I've enjoyed Italian lyrics/vocals since I first heard PFM. I really need to stick these in a translator. For now, I'll enjoy the sound of the words. Great vocal tracks and then comes Pastafari, not sure if the name fits the piece but it's rather vibey, if you know what I mean, almost reminiscent of Gentle Giant. Fragment is a fragment of Just As You Are. The final track of the album and the act, Hasta Siempre Comandante, has a nice Latin American sound to it and Spanish language lyrics.

All in all, a very nice cosmopolitan album.

Slartibartfast | 4/5 |


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