Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

I wrote last week about finding mp3’s online of one of my favorite albums from my teenage years. Thanks to my friend Chris, I’m now listening to another one: Art Bear’s first album “Hopes and Fears”. (here’s the link to wikipedia’s scant article on them:

Released in 1978, my peers at the time and I were deeply skeptical of it, in part because it seemed to represent the dumbing down of Henry Cow, a band we revered. When I listen to it now I hear it as the template for much of what happened in pop music production over the ensuing decades: an increasing mixture of electronics and acoustic instruments, textures that lie alongside each other and don’t attempt to make a smooth surface, non-traditional vocalizing; much of the production on Bjork’s, Tom Wait’s and Marianne Fathfull’s records derives in part from this band’s innovations. And that goes for the latest Thom Yorke record as well.

The centerpiece of the band is Dagmar Krause’s wocals, which make anxiety seem the only possible intelligent response to the condition of living. I was listening to this sort of stuff at the same time as I was listening to punk, and it’s so funny to me now that we drew such a distinction betwen the two of them. How’s this for a song to be singing in Thatcher’s England in ’78:

In such a country
And at such a time
There should be no melancholy evenings
Even high bridges
Over the rivers
And the hours betwen the night and morning
And the long long winter time as well

These things are dangerous

For in view of
All the misery
People just throw
In a few second’s time
Their unbearable lives


How’s that for a song to be singing in Cheney’s America in ’06?

Leave a Reply +

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.