Saturday, August 4, 2007

Oops, He Did It Again

Robert Wyatt
[Thirsty Ear]
Rating: 7.1

Eleven years have elapsed since underground prog- rock hero Robert Wyatt released the horrendous
Old Rottenhat before putting together another solo album. Following Pitchfork's policy of not doing any research whatsoever, I can't tell you what he did in the time that's passed (one can presume that eating and talking figured prominently). Whatever the facts, Shleep proves that the time away did him good. Whereas Old Rottenhat and its predecessor, Nothing Can Stop Us, were like a nose- picking cousin, Shleep is quirky like a squirrel on amphetamines. That is to say, this record is a bit bizarre, but worth your time if you're feeling so inclined.

Samir Khan, I presume? I believe this was the initial review that led Samir to review "Rock Bottom." It seems to be a bit more level-headed than the aforementioned. And then he writes that section, oh, what was it again?

"Following Pitchfork's policy of not doing any research whatsoever, I can't tell you what he did in the time that's passed (one can presume that eating and talking figured prominently)."

This is funny. This makes me laugh and also hurt inside. Let's see if I can look up what Robert Wyatt did during his musical hiatus in less than 10 minutes.

"As of the mid-2000s, Wyatt has comfortably worked in and out of the music business. He records when he feels like it, paints, writes, devotes time to political work, and continues to show no interest in the machinations of the music industry."

-John Dougan, All Music Guide

One can assume with this knowledge that during his hiatus he probably took part in similar activities. I wish I could say it is isn't, but Samir's claim that talking and eating featured prominently in Robert Wyatt's life is not incorrect. You know why? Because those are base human activities. Your sarcasm makes me nauseous.

...combined with expert guest appearances by Brian Eno, Paul Weller and a host of lesser- known, but equally adept musicians makes for an interesting jumble of sonic frottage. It's way better than that half- assed keyboard wank he previously indulged in.

Frottage: n : masturbation by rubbing against another person (as in a crowd)

Can't he just say that it sound pretty cool? Or that there is decent chemistry between the luminary and lesser-known musicians that produces a sound? Why must you pull out a vague group masturbation reference? Also, out of the two review of Samir's I've read, both have used the word "wank."

Shleep's mostly jazzbo bent makes for some nice little ditties.

Ugghhh. I know I'm knitpicking, but the use of "jazzbo" and "nice little ditties" in the same sentence is too much. This would be a great line in a record review from Prohibition-era USA. Not so much right now, sarcastic or not.

"Maryan" begins with lightly picked guitars and Wyatt's soft trumpet work before a spooky violin gently intrudes on the song's momentum. "September The Ninth" is a wonderfully subdued, jazz- influenced piece that features svelte keyboard drones. The album's closer, "The Whole Point of No Return," is written by mod god Paul Weller and lays a heavily effected trumpet melody over a vocal hum. Inbetween these highlights, Wyatt conjures all sorts of absurd and interesting pop songs, some of which shimmer with happy exuberance. Other songs, like the slightly cloying "The Duchess," however, are too damn perky for their own good.

Not too bad of a musical summation. He actually likes some of the songs, and some of them are cool. Some are "too damn perky." I have a suggestion: Listen to "Rock Bottom." All of those songs are eerie and drenched in a world-weary mood. Oh yeah, you hate that record. That's fine, opinions are opinions I guess (asshole).

The moral of this story? Cheese is just soured milk before it becomes edible. Ignore the bulk of Wyatt's earlier stuff and give a Shleep a try. It has, after all, been 26 years in the making.

This last piddle of a paragraph is brutal, just brutal. You know what the enemy of a good review is? A refusal to judge albums from prior eras in the proper context. Also, dismissing the formative and ENTIRE BULK of an artist's career. And what's worse than that?

Telling impressionable people who read your record reviews to do the same. This is an atrocious abuse of power. Someone take away this guy's keyboard. And pen and paper. Also, make sure he doesn't think anymore.
"Thank you for feeding us music critics.
We will control everything, the music and the criticism."

No, thank you music industry. Thank you.

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