Robert Wyatt

Rock Bottom/Ruth Is Stranger Than Richard

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The CD era makes these two hard-to-find recordings available on one disc. Of the two, Rock Bottom is the most intense, and perhaps the most odd -- the songs are repetitive, meditative and spacy in a way that anticipates the ambient music of Brian Eno and the more contemporary Orb and Moby. Two different versions of the same song show up here ("Little Red Riding Hood Hit the Road"), but that's not a criticism as much as a statement of fact. The backing musicians are a classy bunch of veteran English avant-garde, art-rock types (Hugh Hopper, Richard Sinclair, Fred Frith) who play with great skill and style. The music tends to be melancholy, but is not self-pitying or lachrymose. This is prime Wyatt in the early part of his post-accident career. That they are both on one disc makes for rewarding, if difficult, listening.

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