Exposé Online banner

Henry Cow — Unrest
(ReR Megacorp HC 2, 1974/1999, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 1999-11-01

Unrest Cover art

While the late 80s reissue of Henry Cow’s second album was not accompanied by a large dose of irregular remixing (as had been the case for the first and third), it still suffered from some more general sound problems, which I’m happy to report have been cleaned up in this latest remastered release. While Unrest wasn’t the major milestone that their debut, Legend, was, it’s still an important and enjoyable piece of the Cow puzzle. Since the band went into the studio — probably a little too soon after Legend — with only half an album’s worth of new material composed, nearly half of this second album is improvised studio experimentation, with varying degrees of success (most of these pieces are excellent but some tend to wander around a bit). The composed tracks (“Bittern Storm over Ulm,” “Half Asleep, Half Awake,” and “Solemn Music”) compare very favorably with the composed material on the first album. The album’s gem, though, is the twelve minute “Ruins,” a brilliant ‘chamber’ piece that will have the listener constantly guessing — “is it composed or improvised?” — and points to directions Henry Cow would follow on their later releases. Definitely this track is worth the price of the album by itself. This remaster was also released by RéR in the UK, so it should be easy to find at a reasonable price on both sides of the pond.


Filed under: Reissues, Issue 18, 1999 releases, 1974 recordings

Related artist(s): Chris Cutler, Fred Frith, Tim Hodgkinson, John Greaves, Lindsay Cooper, Henry Cow

Latest news

2020-03-24
Bill Rieflin RIP – The sad news reaches us today of Bill Rieflin's death. Rieflin was best known as a drummer in bands ranging from post-punk to industrial to indie-rock to progressive rock, including work with The Blackouts, Ministry, Nine Inch Nails, Swans, Land, and King Crimson. Rieflin had been battling cancer for several years, and succumbed to it on March 24. He was 59. » Read more

2020-03-17
Cruise to the Edge and Seaprog 2020 Festivals Postponed – The worldwide outbreak of the novel coronavirus has started to produce casualties in the music festival world, and music festivals are not immune. We've had word that both the Cruise to the Edge (originally slated for March 27 - April 1) and Seaprog (originally June 5-7) have been postponed to later dates, with those dates to be announced. » Read more

2020-03-06
McCoy Typer RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of one of the most influential pianists in the history of jazz, McCoy Tyner. His tenure with John Coltrane in the early 60s includes some of the most treasured recordings of the era, including My Favorite Things and A Love Supreme. After leaving Coltrane's group, he had a long and successful solo career. He was 81. » Read more

2020-02-18
Jon Christensen RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of Norwegian drummer Jon Christensen, a musician whose sensitive playing did much to help define the atmospheric sound of ECM jazz recordings. His work with Jan Garbarek, Bobo Stenson, Terje Rypdal, and many more was sensitive and varied, adapting to a wide variety of styles while maintaining a distinct identity of its own. Christensen was 76. » Read more

2020-01-21
Gong Announces UK Tour for 2020 – Having spent the last few years touring the world, including dates in Japan with psych legend Steve Hillage, multiple headline European tours and festivals, America’s Cruise to the Edge festival, a South America headline tour, and a headline performance at Tomorrow Festival in China, the band have won the hearts of both traditional and modern Gong fanbases. During this live journey, Gong has delved further into the truly psychedelic, exploratory, and mind-expanding side of the music. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Yūgen - Iridule – This is the third Yūgen release, and the band continues to grow by leaps and bounds. This time out the composing duties went to guitarist Francesco Zago, who seems to be influenced by a combination...  (2011) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues