dimanche 4 avril 2010

Henry Cow - Unrest

Tim Hodgkinson: organ, piano, alto saxophone, clarinet
Fred Frith: stereo guitar, violin, xylophone, piano
John Greaves: bass guitar, piano, voice
Chris Cutler: drums
Lindsay Cooper: bassoon, oboe, recorder, voice

By this point Henry Cow consisted of guitarist Fred Frith, drummer Chris Cutler, bassist John Greaves, keyboardist Tim Hodgkinson, and, of particular importance to the band's sound at this point, bassoonist Lindsay Cooper. As is so often the case with avant-garde rock & roll, it's the composed pieces that work best, and the fact that Frith is responsible for the majority of them is significant. "Bittern Storm Over Ulm" is an absolutely brilliant demolition of the Yardbirds' "Got to Hurry," while the brief but lovely "Solemn Music" unfolds in a stately manner with atonal but pretty counterpoint between Frith and Cooper. The improvised material succeeds in a more spotty way. "Upon Entering the Hotel Adlon" demonstrates how fine the line can be between bracing free atonality and mindless cacophony. The unsettling but eventually gorgeous "Deluge," on the other hand, shows how well Henry Cow could walk that line when they tried; in this piece, random guitar skitterings, scattershot drum clatter, and pointillistic reed grunts are eventually snuck up on and overtaken by softly massed chords and Cooper's gently hooting bassoon. The effect is startlingly moving. Overall, this is one of Henry Cow's better efforts.


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