Mittwoch, 4. Mai 2016

Art Bears - The World As It Is Today (1981)

Art Bears were a warm and wonderful avant-garde band consisting of Fred Frith, Chris Cutler, and vocalist extraordinaire Dagmar Krause. Frith and Cutler were longtime members of the seminal English radical political avant-garde art rock band Henry Cow, while Krause sang primarily with the fine German band Slapp Happy and in Henry Cow's latter years. The Art Bears were intended as a short-term project, but, even so, their three-year existence resulted in three excellent albums that relied more on shorter, more traditional, almost pop-oriented song forms than huge, complex musical and lyrical extrapolations. The political tinge of the Henry Cow years never went away, and it was unsurprising that Marxist rhetoric and anti-capitalist diatribes formed much of band's lyrical firmament.

If you thought Henry Cow was a pretty political band to start with, you may be even more taken aback by the Art Bears, which was put together following Henry Cow's demise by former Cows Chris Cutler (percussion), Fred Frith (guitar, violin), and Dagmar Krause (voice).

On "The World As It Is Today" and its predecessor, "Winter Songs", the Art Bears move away from the long-form art rock of Henry Cow and get much, much more politically explicit: song titles like "The Song of the Dignity of Labour Under Capital" and "The Song of Investment Capital Overseas" almost soundlike Monty Python gags today, but if any humor was intended it was clearly meant to be mordant.

Frankly, the lyrics are so overwrought and portentous that it's hard to take them seriously. But the music is something else again. Cutler and Frith are natural collaborators; Cutler's drumming always rides a very fine line between the scattershot and the funky, while Frith bounces his horror-show guitar noise and carnival piano off of Cutler's grooves with manic abandon and fearsome inventiveness. And Krause's singing is just as inventive; she whoops, croons and screams her way through the density of Cutler's lyrics without a hesitation or misstep. Easy listening it isn't, but it's sure worth hearing. Frith fans, in particular, should consider this album a must-own.

A1The Song Of Investment Capital Overseas2:37
A4(Armed) Peace2:30
B2The Song Of The Martyrs4:08
B4The Song Of The Monopolists1:48
B5The Song Of The Dignity Of Labour Under Capital2:27
B6Albion, Awake!4:02

Art Bears - The World As It Is Today (1981)
(320 kbps, cover art included)

2 Kommentare:

Anonym hat gesagt…

Many thanks for all the fine music you post here. Long may you continue.


zero hat gesagt…

You are welcome, John!

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