Henry Cow — In Praise of Learning
(ReR Megacorp ReR HC3, 1975/2000, CD)
by Jon Davis, Published 2000-10-01
For readers familiar with In Praise of Learning I need say no more than, “Here it is, come and get it.” This release captures all the wonderful strangeness of the original in pristine digital clarity. So if you’re like me, and looking to get some of your old vinyl favorites on CD, wait no longer for Henry Cow. For readers unfamiliar with the album, it’s a little harder to decide what to say. This loose band of musical and political radicals produced some of the most original music of the rock era. Their uncompromising approach to music brooked no bending to commerciality or accessibility. The lyrics read like modern poetry, without many rhymes, though with much reason (no “ooh, baby, baby”); the music features no catchy themes you’re likely to find yourself humming (though that first part of “War” ends up going through my head a lot: “Tell of the birth, tell how war appeared on Earth”). Sure, Dagmar’s voice can be a little grating (OK, a lot grating), but there’s a reason for everything with these art rock pioneers. She can sound much sweeter when the music calls for it. Fred Frith’s guitar is outstanding, and the rhythm section of John Greaves (bass) and Chris Cutler (drums) handles the jagged arrangements (there are no grooves here) forcefully. Even after 25 years, this album sounds fresh and alive.
Simeon Coxe RIP – Simeon Coxe, best known for his experimental electronics in the band Silver Apples, has died at the age of 82. The band's 1968 debut album set the stage for both German electronic music and experimental punk music a decade later. Coxe died on September 8 from pulmonary fibrosis. » Read more
Ennio Morricone RIP – Famed composer Ennio Morricone has died at the age of 91. The creator of scores for more than 500 movies, some of his works have become the most recognizable sounds in the history of cinema. His soundtracks for Sergio Leone's Westerns made from 1964 to 1971, are iconic landmarks in film music, but he also composed for dramas, comedies, and other genres. He won the Academy Award for Best Original Score in 2016 for The Hateful Eight. » Read more
Motorpsycho + Jaga Jazzist Horns - It's a Love Cult, The Stix & In the Fishtank – After hearing the name Motorpsycho for a few years, I was pretty curious to actually hear the band. I did not expect an album of such variety, that combines intensity and subtlety and a wide range of... (2005) » Read more