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Alternatif et Indé - Paru le 8 décembre 2014 | Domino Recording Co

Distinctions 4F de Télérama
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Alternatif et Indé - Paru le 1 juillet 1974 | Domino Recording Co

Distinctions Discothèque Idéale Qobuz
Après ce disque, Robert Wyatt est… mort ! Ou presque… Le 1er juin 1973, lors d’une fiesta réunissant Gilli Smyth et Lady June Campbell du groupe Gong, l’ancien cerveau de Soft Machine en proie à l’ingurgitation de nombreuses substances solides et liquides, LSD en tête, passe malencontreusement par la fenêtre du troisième étage de l’immeuble où il se trouve. Sa seconde vie, vissée au fond d’un fauteuil roulant commence alors… En fin d’année, Pink Floyd donnera même, au Rainbow Theatre de Londres, deux concerts de soutien. C’est lors de sa convalescence que Robert Wyatt cogite à ce qui deviendra son grand œuvre, monument ovni de l’histoire du rock, l’album Rock Bottom qu’il met en boite avec Mike Oldfield, Ivor Cutler, Henry Cow et Fred Frith et Mongezi Feza. Sombre, comme du psychédélisme de chambre, poétique et impalpable, cette suite de compositions bizarroïdes, mêlant tout ce que les êtres humains ont produit de musical depuis Adam et Eve, touche au sublime. Et sous ses airs bien anthracites d’un rock de la solution final, Rock Bottom intrigue et fait rêver. Naïvement. © MZ/Qobuz
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Alternatif et Indé - Paru le 1 janvier 1998 | Domino Recording Co

Distinctions Discothèque Insolite Qobuz
Ce disque sonne comme un retour à l’esprit qui dominait le minimaliste Rock Bottom. Dondestan signifie Où sont-ils en espagnol. Plages aux sonorités évanescentes, beautés séraphiques du chant et des mélodies… Le goût des figures de style jazz qui prévalaient au temps de Soft Machine se manifeste également fortement. L’influence de grands bonshommes tels que le pianiste Thelonious Monk, le souffleur Eric Dolphy et le batteur Tony Williams, grandes admirations de Wyatt se font sentir. Comme Old Rottenhat, l’album précédent, Dondestan a été enregistré par Robert Wyatt seul avec son orgue et ses percussions. Les textes sont des poèmes de sa femme, Alfreda Benge. Vieux complice, Hugh Hopper signe une composition :  LISP Service. Il est à noter que la réédition de cet album a permis à Wyatt de procéder à quelques changements notables de ses morceaux. Outre un remixage et un nouvel ordre attribué aux titres, certains de ces derniers ont été rallongés, écourtés ou remaniés. Un entretien avec l’artiste complète l’ouvrage revu et corrigé. Qu’il s’agisse de cette version ou de la précédente, il n’en reste pas moins qu’on est en présence d’un petit chef-d’œuvre de plus. © ©Copyright Music Story Michel Doussot 2021
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Alternatif et Indé - Paru le 1 janvier 2003 | Domino Recording Co

Distinctions Mercury Prize Selection
Robert Wyatt's first full-length of new material since 1997's Shleep is no less mischievous, witty, and poignant. As has become his custom, Wyatt offers a set of 16 new songs seemingly composed for a wide array of musicians including Annie Whitehead, Eno, David Gilmour, Tomo Hayakawa, Karen Mantler, Phil Manzanera, Paul Weller, and others he enlisted to record it. The album is divided into two halves. The first eight selections being 'neither here...' while the last eight are 'nor there...'. What divides the halves are in Wyatt's mind and aesthetics alone, as the disc feels like a seamless, unified whole. From the opener, "Just A Bit," a dastardly yet delightful bit of cynicism directed at organized religion and new age phoniness, the listener hears Wyatt in good humor with razor-sharp political sensibilities, and in fantastic musical form. The songs on Cuckooland are, in many ways, the most accessible he's written since Nothing Can Stop Us. Shleep had its moments in terms of this kind of "accessibility," but more often than not saturated itself in Wyatt's consummate and wonderfully listenable weirdness. Here, on cuts like "Old European," one of five collaborations with poet Alfreda Benge, Wyatt's wife, French salon music, smoky jazz from the cool jazz era, bossa rhythms, and Anglo melodies entwine in a bewitching nocturnal pop song. Others, such as "Beware," one of a pair of writing collaborations with Karen Mantler -- who contributed two more fine songs written for Wyatt'set -- feature the strident harmonics of post-millennial jazz as it intersects in dialogue with pop forms from the ancient to the future. Mantler's and Wyatt's voices sound lovely together in this tale of paranoia and woe, and Wyatt's trumpet solo is gorgeous. Wyatt's reading of Ms. Benge's "Lullaloop" is a gorgeous, wooly bit of swinging New Orleans jazz, shot through with Weller's bluesy, distorted, electric guitar solo and big, wondrous trombones by Whitehead. Wyatt covers, in his own fashion, the Boudleaux Bryant's classic "Raining In My Heart," accompanied only by his piano, and does a stellar, deeply emotional take of the Jobim & DeMoraes' classic "Insensataez." Wyatt's "Trickle Down"" is a knotty bit of loping post bop jazz interspersed with sax samples from "Old Europe," and killer double bass runs from Yaron Stavi. "Lullaby For Hamza," and the instrumental "La Anda Yalam" (the latter written by Nizar Zreik), portrayt two sides of the Gulf Wars, one dovetailing the other, bringing about with unnerving, poetically moving, and damning conviction, the side of these wars not often revealed to Westerners. These are tomes full of melodic and harmonic creativity, offered as deathly serious as words of elegance and grace, and become elegies sending the listener off with more to think about than a pop album would normally dictate. Wyatt has decorated his own booklet with lively, minimal artworks, and has annotated his songs to document certain facts, locations and occurrences, making the entire package indispensable. Most importantly, Wyatt has demonstrated once again that it makes no difference what else is going on in the pop world, he still creates a fiercely independent and wide open notion of song and composition that is always abundantly "musical," topically relevant, as well as entertaining, provocative, and completely, utterly engaging from top to bottom. © Thom Jurek /TiVo
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Alternatif et Indé - Paru le 5 octobre 2004 | Domino Recording Co

The title of this 17-track Robert Wyatt compilation -- previously released only in Japan -- references his lack of commercial success while taking great care to showcase both his ambitious vision and diversity as an artist. Most of what is here is readily familiar to fans, from his fine if strangely arcane versions of "I'm a Believer" and "Shipbuilding" to the utterly, almost heartbreakingly beautiful "At Last I Am Free," "Arauco," and the starkly ingenious composition "Solar Flares" (previously a rarity). Early gems like "Little Red Robin Hood Hit the Road" are showcased along with later ones like "Heaps of Sheeps." Ultimately, there is nothing really new here, but that shouldn't stop anyone who doesn't already have some version of this collection milling about from picking it up and putting it on a few dozen times in a row. It's guaranteed to change your perception of pop. Besides, the Ryko package -- which emulates the Japanese package perfectly -- is a stunner. © Thom Jurek /TiVo
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Alternatif et Indé - Paru le 1 janvier 1997 | Domino Recording Co

Robert Wyatt n’est plus seul. Des musiciens de rock et de jazz comme les guitaristes Phil Manzanera (Roxy Music), Paul Weller (ex-The Jam) et Philip Catherine le rejoignent, de même que Brian Eno (claviers, voix) et Evan Parker (saxophone). La confrontation est des plus salutaires et réoriente son inspiration. Wyatt démontre ici, s’il en était besoin, qu’il est capable d’écrire des chansons pop. Cela dit, pour être pop, elles n’en sont pas moins aussi étonnantes que le reste de son œuvre. Les couleurs restent rock et jazz dans cette manière qui lui est propre. D’une certaine façon, ce disque peut être une bonne porte d’entrée dans l’univers du musicien. Sans doute l’a-t-il d’ailleurs composé en direction d’un public qui n’a pas connu la période très créatrice des années 1960 et 1970, lorsque nombre d’amateurs de musique moderne étaient prêts à tout entendre de bonne grâce. Mais ce n’est pas pour autant l’œuvre d’un artiste en recherche de gloire ou de dollars. Ni non plus la manifestation d’un créateur essoufflé. Le titre est un jeu de mot, mélangeant sheep et sleep, autrement dit mouton et sommeil. Moutonnier et endormi moi ? Oh que non !  répond le musicien qui fait ainsi un pied de nez aux affres de l’incertitude qui l’avaient saisi dans les années précédant la réalisation de ce disque nettement plus lumineux que ses devanciers.Cuckooland, l’album suivant, poursuivra cette démarche partageuse ; Wyatt y joue en effet en compagnie d’encore plus de musiciens.   © ©Copyright Music Story Michel Doussot 2021
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EPs

Alternatif et Indé - Paru le 9 février 1999 | Domino Recording Co

Only Robert Wyatt could put together a project like this and not have punters sneering it down as a rake for cash. Issued by Ryko/Hannibal in 1999 and stateside by Thirsty Ear, EPs contains five short discs documenting various periods in Wyatt's long solo career. There are singles, odd B-sides, live cuts, alternate versions, and remixes. While it's true this could have come out as a tidier double disc, or had its tracks spread thin as bonus material over remastered reissues, Wyatt's far too sensitive to his fans to rake together something so haphazardly. So here with a detailed sessionography and Wyatt's own humorous liners are the tracks, presented in the order in which they were originally recorded and released. Disc one, Bits, features material from 1974, and contains an unreleased extended take of the single "I'm a Believer" -- with Fred Frith, Richard Sinclair, Nick Mason, and Dave MacRae accompanying -- and its flip, "Memories." Then there's the A-side cover of Chris Andrews' "Yesterday Man" along with an alternate of its backing track, "Sonia." This disc is topped off with a rather indulgent version of "Calyx," recorded live at Drury Lane in the same year -- and it reeks of proggish wankery. At least it's at the end of the disc. Pieces is the second platter here; it begins in 1982 with Wyatt's awesome cover of Elvis Costello's "Shipbuilding" and contains both flips for the 12" version, Eubie Blake's "Memories of You" (which was also on the 7") and Thelonious Monk's "'Round Midnight." This disc is rounded out with a couple of compilation offerings: "Pigs...(In There)" from the Liberator: Artists for Animals set from 1988, and "Chairman Mao," once available on an ReR Quarterly edition. Disc three is comprised of the four-song Work in Progress, released by Rough Trade in 1984. The fourth disc is Wyatt's soundtrack for Victor Schonfield's 1982 The Animals Film, a harrowing documentary depicting humankind's horrific treatment of other members of the animal kingdom. Assembled of bits and pieces, it feels rather ragged, but is still essential for anyone who collects Wyatt's material. The final disc is a weird delight, containing four remixes of tunes from the artist's 1998 comeback album, Shleep. But these aren't just remixes doled out to a bedroom beat producer. They were done by Nigel Butler and Angie Dial from the unfinished masters as the album itself was being recorded. In sum, then, for the price, this is a gentle, untidy heap of Wyatt's odd 'n' sods, but given its packaging and designed order to be taken piecemeal one disc at a time, it's positively infectious. © Thom Jurek /TiVo
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Alternatif et Indé - Paru le 1 décembre 1985 | Domino Recording Co

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. © Richie Unterberger /TiVo
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Rock progressif - Paru le 5 octobre 2007 | Domino Recording Co

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Alternatif et Indé - Paru le 1 janvier 1982 | Domino Recording Co

This compilation of early-'80s singles includes some of Wyatt's finest work. Aside from "Born Again Cretin" (whose vocals recall the Beach Boys at their most experimental), all of it's non-original material that Wyatt makes his own with his sad, haunting vocals. You could hardly ask for a more diverse assortment of covers: Chic's "At Last I Am Free" (given an eerie treatment with especially mysterious, spacy keyboards), the a cappella gospel of "Stalin Wasn't Stallin'," political commentary with "Trade Union," the Billie Holiday standard "Strange Fruit," Ivor Cutler's "Grass," and a couple of songs in Spanish. The tracks have since been reissued a few times, with bonus tracks such as the "Shipbuilding" single; the best option for U.S. consumers is Compilation, which pairs Nothing Can Stop Us with Old Rottenhat. © Richie Unterberger /TiVo
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Alternatif et Indé - Paru le 1 janvier 2005 | Domino Recording Co

Recorded on September 8, 1974, this set features Robert Wyatt (post-accident) with a slew of mates, including Ivor Cutler! Introduced by John Peel and recorded by the BBC -- only a little over half the concert survives -- this is a wild, freewheeling document featuring Wyatt, Cutler, and Julie Tippetts on vocals; Dave Stewart and Tippetts on keyboards; alternate drummers Nick Mason and Laurie Allan; Hugh Hopper on bass; Fred Frith on guitar, violin, and viola; the late Mongezi Feza on trumpet; the late great Gary Windo on reeds; and guitarist Mike Oldfield. It's quite a lineup and an awesomely inspiring performance. Wyatt is in excellent form here, and the bandmembers, who are a bit ragged in places, are nonetheless tight and full of fire. From "Dedicated to You But You Weren't Listening" and "Memories" to "Alfie," "Instant Pussy," "Mind of a Child," and "Little Red Robin Hood Hit the Road," this set is alternately an early tribute recording to Wyatt and a fine get-together of friends from the Canterbury scene. Sonically, the recording is very present, though a bit overloaded in places, but the music more than compensates for this. All Wyatt fans will need this, as it is as close to an essential document of 1970s experimental/prog as one is likely to find. © Thom Jurek /TiVo
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Pop/Rock - Paru le 1 janvier 1975 | Domino Recording Co

There was no way that Wyatt's follow-up to Rock Bottom could be as personal and searching, but this album that came barely a year later instead collects some earlier material to be revamped for this release. "Soup Song," for instance, is a rewrite of "Slow Walkin' Talk," written before the forming of Soft Machine. "Team Spirit," written with Phil Manzanera and Bill MacCormick of Quiet Sun, would turn up the same year as "Frontera" on Manzanera's Diamond Head. While some of the songs tend to plod along, the dirge-like "Five Black Notes and One White Notes," a lethargic cover of Offenbach's "Baccarole," Charlie Haden's "Song for Che," and Fred Frith's piano team-up with Wyatt on "Muddy Mouth" are magical. As usual, the assembled band, including the underrated Gary Windo on sax and Mongezi Feza on trumpet, never dissapoint. © Ted Mills /TiVo
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Rock progressif - Paru le 1 janvier 1975 | Domino Recording Co

There was no way that Wyatt's follow-up to Rock Bottom could be as personal and searching, but this album that came barely a year later instead collects some earlier material to be revamped for this release. "Soup Song," for instance, is a rewrite of "Slow Walkin' Talk," written before the forming of Soft Machine. "Team Spirit," written with Phil Manzanera and Bill MacCormick of Quiet Sun, would turn up the same year as "Frontera" on Manzanera's Diamond Head. While some of the songs tend to plod along, the dirge-like "Five Black Notes and One White Notes," a lethargic cover of Offenbach's "Baccarole," Charlie Haden's "Song for Che," and Fred Frith's piano team-up with Wyatt on "Muddy Mouth" are magical. As usual, the assembled band, including the underrated Gary Windo on sax and Mongezi Feza on trumpet, never dissapoint. © Ted Mills /TiVo
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Pop/Rock - Paru le 1 janvier 1971 | Sony Music UK

Of all the projects Robert Wyatt created apart from his tenure with Soft Machine and Matching Mole, The End of an Ear has to be the strangest, and among the most beautiful and misunderstood recordings of his career. Recorded near the end of his membership in Soft Machine, End of an Ear finds Wyatt experimenting far more with jazz and avant-garde material than in the jazz-rock-structured environment of his band. The Wyatt on The End of an Ear (a play on words for the end of the SM era, and another session called "Ear of the Beholder") is still very much the fiery drummer and percussionist who is interested in electronic effects and out jazz and not the composer and interpretive singer of his post-accident years. Influenced by Miles Davis' electric bands and the fledgling Weather Report who did their first gigs in the U.K., Wyatt opens and closes the album with two readings of Gil Evans' "Las Vegas Tango, Pt. 1." These are the most structured pieces on the recording, and the only ones not dedicated in some way: "To Mark Everywhere," "To Caravan and Brother Jim," "To Nick Everyone," "To the Old World (Thank You for the Use of Your Body, Goodbye)," "To Carla, Marsha, and Caroline (For Making Everything Beautifuller)," and others. The titles reveal how personal the nature of these sound experiments can be. Wyatt, because of his association with many in the Canterbury scene, not the least of which is SM mate Elton Dean who prominently appears here, was learning alternate structures and syntax for harmony, as well as the myriad ways rhythm could play counterpoint to them in their own language. The interplay between Wyatt, bassist Neville Whitehead, cornet player Marc Charig, and alto man Dean on "To Nick Everyone" is astonishing. Wyatt creates time from the horn lines and then alters it according to Whitehead's counterpoint both to the formal line and the improvisations. Toward the end of the track, Wyatt's piano is dubbed in and he reveals just how expansive he views this new harmonic approach. The piano becomes a percussion instrument purely, a timekeeper in accordance with the bass, and the drums become counterpoint -- in quadruple time -- to everyone else in the band. When David Sinclair's organ enters the fray and another piano courtesy of Mark Ellidge, as well as assorted percussion by Cyril Ayers, the entire thing becomes a strange kind of rondo in free jazz syntax. Elsewhere, on "To Caravan and Brother Jim," a 2/4 time signature opens the track and the organ plays almost a lounge-jazz-type line with drums rumbling in the back of the mix, almost an afterthought, and Ellidge's piano stumbling in with dissonant trills and riffs until he creates a microtonal line against the organ's now carnival chords until certain drums fall out, then back in, and the piano plays an augmented chord solidly in glissandi until the piece just sort of falls apart and ends. If you are Robert Wyatt, this is the way you find something new, you "play" at it. And that's what is so beautiful about The End of an Ear -- the entire record, unlike the "seriousness" of Soft Machine Third, is that this is being played with tonalities, harmony, language, and utterance that are all up for grabs in an investigation of freedom both in "music" and "sound." The End of an Ear is the warm and humorous melding of free jazz amplification and musicians' playtime. © Thom Jurek /TiVo
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Alternatif et Indé - Paru le 8 juillet 2013 | Floating World

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Pop - Paru le 1 janvier 1971 | Columbia

Of all the projects Robert Wyatt created apart from his tenure with Soft Machine and Matching Mole, The End of an Ear has to be the strangest, and among the most beautiful and misunderstood recordings of his career. Recorded near the end of his membership in Soft Machine, End of an Ear finds Wyatt experimenting far more with jazz and avant-garde material than in the jazz-rock-structured environment of his band. The Wyatt on The End of an Ear (a play on words for the end of the SM era, and another session called "Ear of the Beholder") is still very much the fiery drummer and percussionist who is interested in electronic effects and out jazz and not the composer and interpretive singer of his post-accident years. Influenced by Miles Davis' electric bands and the fledgling Weather Report who did their first gigs in the U.K., Wyatt opens and closes the album with two readings of Gil Evans' "Las Vegas Tango, Pt. 1." These are the most structured pieces on the recording, and the only ones not dedicated in some way: "To Mark Everywhere," "To Caravan and Brother Jim," "To Nick Everyone," "To the Old World (Thank You for the Use of Your Body, Goodbye)," "To Carla, Marsha, and Caroline (For Making Everything Beautifuller)," and others. The titles reveal how personal the nature of these sound experiments can be. Wyatt, because of his association with many in the Canterbury scene, not the least of which is SM mate Elton Dean who prominently appears here, was learning alternate structures and syntax for harmony, as well as the myriad ways rhythm could play counterpoint to them in their own language. The interplay between Wyatt, bassist Neville Whitehead, cornet player Marc Charig, and alto man Dean on "To Nick Everyone" is astonishing. Wyatt creates time from the horn lines and then alters it according to Whitehead's counterpoint both to the formal line and the improvisations. Toward the end of the track, Wyatt's piano is dubbed in and he reveals just how expansive he views this new harmonic approach. The piano becomes a percussion instrument purely, a timekeeper in accordance with the bass, and the drums become counterpoint -- in quadruple time -- to everyone else in the band. When David Sinclair's organ enters the fray and another piano courtesy of Mark Ellidge, as well as assorted percussion by Cyril Ayers, the entire thing becomes a strange kind of rondo in free jazz syntax. Elsewhere, on "To Caravan and Brother Jim," a 2/4 time signature opens the track and the organ plays almost a lounge-jazz-type line with drums rumbling in the back of the mix, almost an afterthought, and Ellidge's piano stumbling in with dissonant trills and riffs until he creates a microtonal line against the organ's now carnival chords until certain drums fall out, then back in, and the piano plays an augmented chord solidly in glissandi until the piece just sort of falls apart and ends. If you are Robert Wyatt, this is the way you find something new, you "play" at it. And that's what is so beautiful about The End of an Ear -- the entire record, unlike the "seriousness" of Soft Machine Third, is that this is being played with tonalities, harmony, language, and utterance that are all up for grabs in an investigation of freedom both in "music" and "sound." The End of an Ear is the warm and humorous melding of free jazz amplification and musicians' playtime. © Thom Jurek /TiVo
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Jazz - Paru le 24 janvier 2005 | Tiptoe

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Rock - Paru le 1 janvier 2003 | Cuneiform Records

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'68

Rock - Paru le 1 janvier 2013 | Cuneiform Records

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Alternatif et Indé - Paru le 20 octobre 2008 | Domino Recording Co

L'interprète

Robert Wyatt dans le magazine