Robert Wyatt

Old Rottenhat

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AllMusic Review by Richie Unterberger

Robert Wyatt has been quoted as declaring that this record was "a conscious attempt to make un-misusable music," i.e., music that couldn't be appropriated by the right or broadcast on Voice of America. VOA doesn't broadcast uncommercial music such as this in any case, but Wyatt did succeed in stating some of his political concerns -- imperialism, the carnage in East Timor, the flaws of rigid political ideology -- in an understated manner. He went back to writing his own material for this album, after having focused on eclectic "covers" in the early '80s, with fair success. It's perhaps an even moodier outing than usual for Wyatt, his melancholia amplified by the foggy, spooky keyboards. It was reissued on CD in 1990 as half of Compilation, which also includes the entirety of Nothing Can Stop Us. Somewhat confusingly, it was also reissued on CD as half of Mid-Eighties, an entirely different Gramavision release that adds eight tracks from assorted EPs, singles, and compilations of the time.

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