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Old Rottenhat

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Album Review

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.

Biography

Born: 28 January 1945 in Bristol, England

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

An enduring figure who came to prominence in the early days of the English art rock scene, Robert Wyatt has produced a significant body of work, both as the original drummer for art rockers Soft Machine and as a radical political singer/songwriter. Born in Bristol, England, Wyatt came to Soft Machine during the exciting, slightly post-psychedelic Canterbury Scene of the mid-'60s that produced bands like Gong and Pink Floyd. Unlike many of the art rock bands that would come later (Jethro Tull, Yes,...
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Old Rottenhat, Robert Wyatt
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