Critical Writings

Articles and Reviews: MUSIC

Comicopera by Robert Wyatt (Domino)

The tradition of the great English eccentric is alive and well and living in Louth, Lincolnshire in the person of ex-Soft Machine drummer Robert Wyatt. Probably best known for his version of Elvis Costello’s anti-Falklands composition ‘Shipbuilding’, on Comicopera Wyatt has adopted the three act structure of traditional comic opera (albeit reversing the movement towards the usual light and uplifting ending), with the material grouped into sections titled ‘Lost in Noise’, ‘The Here and Now’ and ‘Away with the Fairies’. The most dramatic shift occurs at the end of Act II, in ‘Out of the Blue’, wherein Wyatt declares ‘you’ve planted all your everlasting hatred in my heart’ in response to the Blair/Bush axis of lunacy. Such is his complete alienation from Anglo-American culture at this point that, as a gesture of protest, he abandons singing in English, with Act III delivered entirely in Italian or Spanish. With contributions from old mates Brian Eno and Phil Manzanera, this is one of the more pleasing left-field productions of the year.

First published in Magill, December/January 2007/8


















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