Robert Wyatt 

Comicopera

You never know what to expect from Robert Wyatt, except that he'll challenge your ears as well as your heart with lovely, sad, and dark avant-garde rock compositions. Once upon a time, he was the drummer for '70s prog-rock band Soft Machine. Recent work has headed for the fringes.

Divided into three parts — representing love and loss, war and conflict, and, ultimately, a tentative hopefulness — Wyatt's twelfth solo album includes songs that hint at chamber pop, jazz, country, blues, gospel, calypso, nursery rhymes, dissonant noise, and minimalism. He is ably abetted by freethinking musos such as Brian Eno, Phil Manzanera, vocalist Monica Vasconcelos, and Paul Weller.

Wyatt's singing voice has long sounded like that of a frail old man; it's so high and fragile and almost always melancholy. But he's always trying new approaches and adopts an almost-streetwise cockney accent on "Just as You Are," which is a tender duet with Vasconcelos. Then he twines his wordless vocals with the horn section on the instrumental "Anachronist," and I get it — his voice sounds like a muted trumpet.

Wyatt finds contentment in the last act, during which he sings either in Italian or Spanish (one tune adapts a poem by Federico García Lorca) or simply works eerie magic ("Pastafari," "Fragment") with vibes, piano, percussion, and "electrical interference."

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Latest in CD Reviews

Author Archives

Most Popular Stories

Special Reports

Taste, Spring 2015

Everything you need to know about dining in and out in the East Bay.

Insider's Guide 2015

Everything you need to know about the East Bay's hidden shopping, nightlife, dining, annual events, and more.

© 2015 East Bay Express    All Rights Reserved
Powered by Foundation