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Robert Wyatt - Rock Bottom CD (album) cover


Robert Wyatt


Canterbury Scene

4.28 | 903 ratings

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4 stars Robert Wyatt's Rock Bottom is considered to be the pinnacle of his solo career. This statement is quite understandable after listening to this album a few times, but it's not so much the musicianship or arrangements that make the album so powerful. To be honest, most of this music would never have been considered that noteworthy have it not been for the very personal delivery on the artist's part. Robert Wyatt literally spilled his heart and soul over this material making this release his most personal work to date.

It's almost impossible not to reflect over the connection that the accident, that paralyzed Robert Wyatt from the waist down, had to do with the powerful statement that can be heard on this release. Even though it was claimed that a hefty chunk of the album was written while he was in Venice, in early 1973, prior to the accident. To me, this just proves how much a personal touch can add to even lesser material. Still, I would lie if I said that there weren't a few really exceptional compositions here like the gorgeous album opening Sea Song. Not only does it set a perfect mood for the rest of the album but we also get one of the most chilling vocal and keyboard performances from Wyatt.

A Last Straw fits more in with my original statement about how adding a personal touch to an average composition does a huge difference. This number would have easily slipped by completely unnoticed have it been released at a different stage of the artist's career, while here it just glows and sparkles! The rest of the album consists of two two-parters where Little Red Riding Hood Hit The Road and Little Red Robin Hood Hit The Road never made much sense to me so I just sit back and enjoy the raw energy that is being transitioned though the speakers. Alifib and Alife, on the other hand, are just magnificent pieces where the first one is half atmospheric instrumental and half vocal driven ballad while the second one is just pure madness put on a vinyl record. Naturally I have to give the latter an upper hand!

I might not be that original when I say that Rock Bottom is a record well worth your attention, still this is exactly what I'm doing. It honestly doesn't matter if you're a fan of the Canterbury sound or if you've familiar with Robert Wyatt's previous collaborations since this is one of those rare albums where the mood of the artist transitions every barrier making it an excellent addition to any prog rock music collection.

***** star songs: Sea Song (6:33) Alife (6:33)

**** star songs: A Last Straw (5:48) Little Red Riding Hood Hit The Road (7:42) Alifib (6:57) Little Red Robin Hood Hit The Road (6:08)

Rune2000 | 4/5 |


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