|Robert Wyatt | Shleep|
Robert Wyatt | Shleep
Ξ Originally the drummer and vocalist of Soft Machine, Wyatt merged the avant-garde with English eccentricity.
Ξ Shleep is the eighth album by Canterbury scene and progressive rock veteran and musician Robert Wyatt, released in 1997.
Ξ The album brings together a diverse range of musicians from a range of genres.
Birth name: Robert Wyatt-Ellidge
Born: January 28, 1945 in Bristol, England
Album release: 1997
Record Label: Thirsty Ear/Hannibal/Rykodisc/Domino
♦ All tracks composed by Robert Wyatt and Alfreda Benge; except where indicated.
01 "Heaps of Sheeps" 4:57
02 "The Duchess" (Wyatt) 4:18
03 "Maryan" (Wyatt, Philip Catherine) 6:11
04 "Was a Friend" (Wyatt, Hugh Hopper) 6:09
05 "Free Will and Testament" (Wyatt, Mark Kramer) 4:13
06 "September the Ninth" 6:41
07 "Alien" 6:47
08 "Out of Season" 2:32
09 "A Sunday in Madrid" 4:41
10 "Blues in Bob Minor" (Wyatt) 5:46
11 "The Whole Point of No Return" (Paul Weller) 1:25
12 "September in the Rain" (bonus re-release track) 2:31
Producer: Alfreda Benge, Brian Eno, Robert Wyatt
◊ Gary Azukx djembe
◊ Alfreda Benge voice of the apparition, chorus, illustrations
◊ Philip Catherine guitar
◊ Brian Eno synthesiser, synthesiser bass, vocal chorus
◊ Jamie Johnson guitar, choir/chorus, engineer, mixing
◊ Phil Manzanera guitar
◊ Chucho Merchán bass guitar, double bass, bass drum, percussion
◊ Evan Parker soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone
◊ Charles Rees chorus
◊ Chikako Sato violin
◊ Paul John Weller guitars, harmony vocals, composer, mixing,
◊ Annie Whitehead trombone
◊ Robert Wyatt voice, keyboards, bass guitar, polish fiddle, trumpet, percussion, choir/chorus, liner notes, producer, illustrations, mixing
◊ Phil Smee Artwork, Layout Design, Typography
Robert Wyatt is one of rock's true geniuses.
◊ Robert Wyatt, Soft Machine's original drummer, expanded on the intuitions of his The Moon In June (the best composition he delivered to the old band) on his first solo album, The End Of An Ear (1970). He invented a whole new language, with nods to both the tradition (pop, soul, folk, jazz) and the avantgarde (minimalism, electronics), both personal and public. The same fusion of private and public themes, but with an emphasis on his public (and communist) persona, characterize the two Matching Mole albums, Matching Mole (1972) and Little Red Record (1972), which are rare examples of brainy, agit-prop music that is actually touching, besides ranking among the most intense recordings of any jazz-rock quartet. His private persona erupted on Rock Bottom (1974), one of rock music's supreme masterpieces, a veritable transfiguration of both rock and jazz. Its pieces straddle the unlikely border between an intense religious hymn and a childish nursery rhyme. Along that imaginary line, Wyatt carved a deep trench of emotional outpouring, where happiness, sorrow, faith and resignation found a metaphysical unity. The astounding originality of that masterpiece, and its well-crafted flow of consciousness, were never matched by Wyatt's later releases. The last significant work of his career was Animals Film (1982). Wyatt concocted some of the most moving music of all times and at least one of the century's masterpieces. He was helped by being both a gifted drummer, heir to both the progressive-rock and the jazz-rock traditions, and a uniquely innovative vocalist, whose falsetto cry, loosely derived from wordless jazz singing, blended soul, Buddhism and psychedelia.
◊ Despite his records' astounding originality and well-crafted flow of consciousness, Wyatt was long reduced to a footnote in the history of British prog-rock, obscured by the fanfare surrounding stars like Yes or Genesis. Even the critics who knew of his revolutionary work, did not pay enough attention (the Trouser Press Record Guide recommended Ruth as his best album and hardly mentioned the "unfocused" Rock Bottom, no book published before 1991 listed any Wyatt album among the essential recordings of rock music).
◊ End Of An Ear (1970), 8/10
◊ Matching Mole (1972), 7.5/10
◊ Little Red Record (1972), 7/10
◊ Rock Bottom (1974), 9.5/10
◊ Ruth Is Stranger Than Richard , 5/10
◊ Nothing Can Stop Us (1981), 4/10
◊ Animals Film (1982), 7/10
◊ Old Rotten Hat (1985), 5/10
◊ Dondestan (1991), 6.5/10
◊ Shleep (1997), 6/10
◊ Solar Flares Burn For You (2003), 5/10
◊ Cuckooland (2003), 6.5/10
◊ Comicopera (2007), 6/10
◊ For The Ghosts Within (2010), 4/10
(Copyright © 1999 Piero Scaruffi)
Review by Jason Ankeny | Score: ****
◊ Robert Wyatt continues to follow his singular musical path with the lovely Shleep, delivering another album of considerable quirky charm and understated beauty; a less melancholy affair than much of his recent work, the record is informed by a hazy, dreamlike quality perfectly in keeping with the elements of subconsciousness implicit in the title.
◊ The End Of An Ear (1970)
◊ Rock Bottom (1974)
◊ Ruth Is Stranger Than Richard (1975)
◊ Nothing Can Stop Us (1982, singles comp.; 1983 Australian edition includes "Shipbuilding")
◊ Animals Film Soundtrack (1982)
◊ Old Rottenhat/Mid Eighties (1985)
◊ Peel Sessions EP (1974, "Alifib"/"Soup Song"/"Sea Song"/"I'm a Believer")
◊ Dondestan (1991)
◊ A Short Break (1996, EP)
◊ Going Back A Bit
◊ Flotsam Jetsam
◊ Shleep (1997)
◊ Cuckooland (2003)
◊ Comicopera (2007)
◊ In June 2001 Wyatt was curator of the Meltdown festival, and sang "Comfortably Numb" with David Gilmour at the festival. It was recorded on Gilmour's DVD David Gilmour in Concert.
◊ In 2004 Wyatt collaborated with Björk on the song "Submarine" which was released on her fifth album Medúlla. He sang and played cornet and percussion with David Gilmour on Gilmour's album On an Island, and read passages from the novels of Haruki Murakami for Max Richter's album Songs from Before. In 2006 Wyatt collaborated with Steve Nieve and Muriel Teodori on the opera Welcome to the Voice interpreting the character 'the Friend', both singing and playing pocket trumpet.
◊ Wyatt released Comicopera in October 2007 on Domino Records, who went on to re-release Drury Lane, Rock Bottom, Ruth Is Stranger Than Richard, Nothing Can Stop Us, Old Rottenhat, Dondestan, Shleep, EPs and Cuckooland on CD and vinyl the following year. In 2009 he appeared on the album Around Robert Wyatt by the French Orchestre National de Jazz.
◊ Wyatt was one of the guest editors of BBC Radio 4's Today programme, working on the 1 January 2010 programme. Among other things he advocated greater prominence for amateur choirs, and admitted to a preference for them over professional choirs “because there's a greater sense of commitment and meaning in their singing.”
Influence on other artists:
◊ The Tears for Fears song "I Believe" from their 1985 album Songs from the Big Chair was originally written by bandmember Roland Orzabal for Wyatt, and is dedicated to him. As a further tribute to Wyatt, on the B-side of the single, Orzabal performs a cover version of "Sea Song", from the Rock Bottom album. This recording later appeared on the compilation album Saturnine Martial & Lunatic and the remastered versions of Songs from the Big Chair.
◊ "Sea Song" was also covered by Rachel Unthank and the Winterset on their 2007 album The Bairns, and The Guardian's David Peschek said of the cover: “That’s the best version of that I’ve ever heard”. In November 2011, The Unthanks released a live album, The Songs of Robert Wyatt and Antony & The Johnsons, and Wyatt is quoted on the cover of the album as saying “I love the idea. It makes me happy just thinking about it.”
Scaruffi: http://www.strongcomet.com/wyatt/ © ◊ Wyatt on VPRO-TV, 22 September 1967, Photo credit: Kroon Ron ◊
|Robert Wyatt | Shleep|