Fred Frith: guitar, violin, viola, piano, harmonium, xylophone
Dagmar Krause: vocals
Chris Cutler: drums, electronic drums, percussion, noises
Lindsay Cooper: bassoon, oboe, soprano saxophone, tape
Georgie Born: bass, cello
Tim Hodgkinson: organ, clarinet
The first album from Dagmar Krause, Chris Cutler, and Fred Frith's post-Henry Cow project is one of the art rock masterpieces of the 1970s. It's as politically potent as Henry Cow's more strident work, but couched in more poetic and provocative terms. Opening with Bertolt Brecht's "On Suicide," with Krause declaiming the playwright's bitter lyrics in her semi-operatic style to the wheezing accompaniment of Frith's harmonium, the album continues in that uncompromising vein. Although most of the other members of Henry Cow guest, with reeds player Lindsay Cooper and keyboardist Tim Hodgkinson playing on a majority of the 13 songs, Hopes and Fears is considerably more focused and powerful than that group's often scattershot albums. The songs are built on Cutler's impressively varied drumming (often on electronically modified instruments), and the amazing variety of sounds Frith is able to coax out of a battery of electric and acoustic guitars, but there's enough space in the music for Krause's unique vocals to shine. Highlights include the epic, multi-part "In Two Minds," parts of which are as close as the Art Bears ever come to conventional rock music (which is to say, not very close at all, but there's an electric guitar solo), and the puckish instrumental, "Moeris Dancing."
1978 HOPES & FEARS