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View Poll Results: How would you rate Rock Bottom on this scale?
Horrible! 0 0%
Bad 2 33.33%
Mediocre 0 0%
Good 0 0%
Very Good 1 16.67%
Brilliant! 3 50.00%
Voters: 6. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 08-09-2010, 03:15 AM   #1 (permalink)
Juicious Maximus III
 
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Default Robert Wyatt - Rock Bottom (1974)

This thread is for discussing Robert Wyatt's release "Rock Bottom" from 1974. The album was homework in the prog & fusion album club for week 31, but of course .. anyone can participate!

Quote:
Originally Posted by tore
Robert Wyatt - Rock Bottom (1974)

This week's homework is famed Canterbury album "Rock Bottom" by Robert Wyatt!



Robert Wyatt should be a name recognized by anyone with a foot inside the Canterbury door. He's one of the most prominent figures from the Canterbury Scene and is, alongside the likes of Arthur Brown, one of few famous singers with a lisp. After being a member of the Wilde Flowers, he started his recording career as the drummer in Soft Machine but went on to form Matching Mole after a couple of albums. In 1973, he had an accident at a party where he fell out of a window and lost the use of his legs. Rock Bottom, which is his second solo effort, was written part before and part just prior to the accident. It was released in 1974 and is hailed by many as the Robert Wyatt album.

Now you get your chance to check it out
So .. whatcha think?
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Old 08-09-2010, 03:19 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Oh man, this is a tough one for me. I really like the first track "Sea Song", but none of the other songs have stuck quite yet. To be completely honest, the album is not my thing, but there is something there .. the spirit of Wyatt or perhaps I have a thing for the overall gloomy theme or the strangeness of the songs and the compositions. There's something in there which I like, but I find it hard to sort of understand it so far.

I think this one requires many more listens on my part. I am determined to figure this one out!
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Old 08-09-2010, 07:30 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I love Rock Bottom to bits and it's in my top 5 albums of all time. I'm still utterly enthralled every time I give it a listen and it's one of the few albums I'd say is truly perfect. I can't pinpoint what makes Rock Bottom so great and I really don't think I can do it justice. It is well-known that it was released after Robert Wyatt fell from a fourth floor window and became paralysed from the waist down. Perhaps it was this unique set of circumstances which rendered Rock Bottom a masterpiece? There's certainly no other recording I've heard which possesses the same eerie, plaintive, watery atmosphere. It goes from dreamy to intense to childlike to plain bizarre.

The first two tracks are somewhat conventional, especially in comparison to what follows. But it's all relative really because Wyatt's interspersed piano throughout Sea Song and scat singing in A Last Straw are off-kilter to say the least, yet it all feels oh so right. Little Red Riding Hood Hit the Road is where the album starts to become a bit more abstract as it packs on layer upon layer of trumpets. Through the dreamy waves of sound, a strangely compelling backbeat ultimately gives it direction and purpose.

The Alifib/Alife medley is fantastic. Alifib is so delicately composed and Wyatt manages to sound completely ingenuous even when he's babbling his fragile gibberish... here, he could lull a rhino to sleep. Things becomes slightly more manic as it segues into Alife with its raucous and almost griefstricken sax set over mesmerizing organ chords. This is a portrait of Wyatt in desperation as he utters the same lyrics from Alifib but in a more agitated and demented manner. Little Red Robin Hood Hit the Road features some gorgeously intoxicating leads from Mike Oldfield. The song (and album) end on a rather odd note with Ivor Cutler, in a Scottish/Jamaican accent, reciting a seemingly nonsensical poem with a harmonium/viola backing.
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Old 08-23-2010, 12:28 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I know I'm terribly late on this, sorry. But I suppose it's better late than never. I've been listening to this album a lot lately, especially this week and I am sort of speechless. When I previewed it briefly on You Tube (when it was suggested for this album club) I had a feeling it'll be great. Now, after many listens it's shaping up to be a masterpiece, actually. I don't think I can objectively and formally analyze it, I am completely mesmerized by it. It is so emotional, magical and...seductive. Yeah, I think that's the right word. It actually has the power to make me listen to it again, right after it finishes. Well, that's pretty rare for me, especially lately.

The music is so richly layered and full of subtleties, so deeply textured and beautiful. Every song here is perfect and I can't really single out favorites. All I can say is that I was completely hypnotized on the first hearing by 'Little Red Riding Hood Hit the Road', the first one. Or maybe it was the second one, Robin Hood? Well, I'm not sure anymore, they're both great. Lyrics are very bizarre most of the time, but have something so charming and honest about them. I can't quite figure out all the meanings, but, in the end, does it matter? The sound of it is more important here, for me, than the meaning. It invites you to turn off your logic and just let yourself go with the flow. Because, this album is, in a strange way, spiritual and sensual at the same time, kind of like water (as Seltzer so perfectly pointed out in his post).

I'd say this album is actually perfect, which is a rare thing for me to say, especially for a new favorite. So, yeah, I've been totally seduced by this.
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Old 08-23-2010, 12:30 PM   #5 (permalink)
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As if by total coincidence I got this last week.
Only given it a quick listen so far but have been very very impressed by it.
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Old 08-27-2010, 06:49 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I'm glad we have another few people for the Wyatt cult. Anyone else want in? If you don't act now, you'll be missing out on a religious experience
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Old 04-29-2011, 06:23 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I don't "get" this one at all.

I voted "bad".
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Old 04-29-2011, 06:51 AM   #8 (permalink)
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^^^No question Robert Wyatt is quirky and eccentric and this album is an aquired taste. One must take into consideration where Wyatt was at this time in his life after he fell from four storey building and became a paralyzed from the waist down and from where he was going with his experimenting with free form jazz fusion starting with Soft Machine's Third and Matching Mole. IMO, sheer brilliance.
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Old 04-29-2011, 09:55 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Something interesting (imo) is I feel the gloom of this album comes from an even deeper underlying sadness which is not allowed to express itself fully. It's almost like the whimsical and cryptic lyrics which interestingly juxtaposes it comes from a fear of embracing that sadness fully.

Not sure if this makes sense to anyone but myself, but that's how I feel. Considering the place Wyatt was at in his life, maybe that makes sense?
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Old 04-29-2011, 10:24 AM   #10 (permalink)
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^That's a very interesting observation. Silly and cryptic lyrics as a defense mechanism. It makes a lot of sense actually.

I still love this album enormously.
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