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Thread: Henry Cow Discussion

  1. #376
    Member chalkpie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by calyx View Post
    It's not a reunion as they typically play 100% improv, no Henry Cow material. I saw the first gig they did near Paris in June and it was that. So, whatever their prior association, these are NOT Henry Cow performances.
    What if they are Henry Cow improvisations 2020?
    If it isn't Krautrock, it's krap.

  2. #377
    Quote Originally Posted by chalkpie View Post
    What if they are Henry Cow improvisations 2020?
    No Tim, no Henry Cow ! ;-)
    Calyx (Canterbury Scene) - http://www.calyx-canterbury.fr
    Legends In Their Own Lunchtime (blog) - https://canterburyscene.wordpress.com/
    My latest books : "Yes" (2017) - https://lemotetlereste.com/musiques/yes/ + "L'Ecole de Canterbury" (2016) - http://lemotetlereste.com/musiques/lecoledecanterbury/
    Upcoming prog (& beyond) shows in France - http://www.bigbangmag.com/agenda.php
    Excerpts from interviews : https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...z9EvJjeuxQJ4x5

  3. #378
    Calyx, do you know how long has it been since these 3 played together or how often does this happen?

  4. #379
    I'm here for the moosic NogbadTheBad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zappathustra View Post
    Calyx, do you know how long has it been since these 3 played together or how often does this happen?
    Artaud Beats in '14 with Cutler, Frith, Leigh & Greaves?
    Ian

    I blame Wynton, what was the question?
    There are only 10 types of people in the World, those who understand binary and those that don't.

  5. #380
    At the gig I saw, John G told me it was the first time they'd EVER performed as a trio.

    Other than the occasion mentioned above by Ian, where Frith sat in with The Artaud Beats at the RIO Fest, they'd played together as part as the large ensemble, including a Henry Cow set (of just Lindsay Cooper compositions) for the series of tribute concerts for Lindsay in late 2014. Frith/Cutler and Greaves/Cutler have often played together since HC, but Greaves/Frith not so much.
    Calyx (Canterbury Scene) - http://www.calyx-canterbury.fr
    Legends In Their Own Lunchtime (blog) - https://canterburyscene.wordpress.com/
    My latest books : "Yes" (2017) - https://lemotetlereste.com/musiques/yes/ + "L'Ecole de Canterbury" (2016) - http://lemotetlereste.com/musiques/lecoledecanterbury/
    Upcoming prog (& beyond) shows in France - http://www.bigbangmag.com/agenda.php
    Excerpts from interviews : https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...z9EvJjeuxQJ4x5

  6. #381
    Quote Originally Posted by calyx View Post
    At the gig I saw, John G told me it was the first time they'd EVER performed as a trio.
    Holy Cow! (pun intended). Awesome! What a great gift out of the blue. Can't wait until May 2020.

    Thank you both for the information.

  7. #382
    I think Cutler, Frith and Greaves should form an avant-extremetal powertrio donning the latter on growlervox over lyrics about triumphs of pure impending evil.
    "Improvisation is not an excuse for musical laziness" - Fred Frith
    "[...] things that we never dreamed of doing in Crimson or in any band that I've been in," - Tony Levin speaking of SGM

  8. #383
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    Is there a release date for the reissued box and the new CD?

  9. #384
    Quote Originally Posted by Scrotum Scissor View Post
    I think Cutler, Frith and Greaves should form an avant-extremetal powertrio donning the latter on growlervox over lyrics about triumphs of pure impending evil.
    I think they should make a concept album about Rick Wakeman.

  10. #385
    Member chalkpie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rick L. View Post
    I think they should make a concept album about Rick Wakeman.
    Yes, with Steve Howe on lead vocals and any 3 of Crimsons drummers.

  11. #386
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scrotum Scissor View Post
    cuntfuckgobble. Impending evil. Heavy Death.
    Now this thread is finally gaining some traction....
    If it isn't Krautrock, it's krap.

  12. #387

  13. #388
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    Recent interview with Chris Cutler.

    https://www.echoesanddust.com/2019/0...Y_ghJSuBUTTZr4
    "please do not understand me too quickly"-andre gide

  14. #389
    I'm here for the moosic NogbadTheBad's Avatar
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    That's an excellent interview
    Ian

    I blame Wynton, what was the question?
    There are only 10 types of people in the World, those who understand binary and those that don't.

  15. #390
    ^ That's actually a pretty damn GREAT interview.

    Cutler was and is one of the most enlightening theorists of his specific craft, an observer as well as a partaker and one whose main concern is indeed not to contribute to myth but to crush it - meaning there'll be no "I'm not Chris Cutler but an idea occupying the body of Chris Cutler" ravenous soliloquy.

    Interestingly, whereas the usual cause for embarrassment in interviews with Cutler stems from an overeager attempt by the interviewer to somehow relate Henry Cow and R.I.O. to other "progressive" ventures of rock, this one appears to be as desperate to relate them to "punk" in just about every possible configuration imaginable. And Cutler STILL fences off the relation - thus crushing the myth.
    "Improvisation is not an excuse for musical laziness" - Fred Frith
    "[...] things that we never dreamed of doing in Crimson or in any band that I've been in," - Tony Levin speaking of SGM

  16. #391
    Quote Originally Posted by unclemeat View Post
    A substantial interview with Georgina Born :
    https://www.academia.edu/32321434/My...ina_Born_2017_
    Thanks. This was great (if you're into interdisciplinary research methods -- if you want Henry Cow chat, there's one interesting paragraph).

    Henry
    Where Are They Now? Yes news: http://www.bondegezou.co.uk/wh_now.htm
    Blogdegezou, the accompanying blog: http://bondegezou.blogspot.com/

  17. #392
    Member Zeuhlmate's Avatar
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    Interesting Chris Cutler Interview !

  18. #393
    Member The Czar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by unclemeat View Post
    From ReR :
    HENRY COW SUBSCRIPTION EDITION

    HENRY Cow BOX REDUX: THE COMPLETE HENRY COW [£75] ReRHCGK
    17 CDs, 1 DVD and 180 pages of histories, chronology, testimony and commentaries by the band, sundry contemporary documents, and rare photographs – in a sturdy box.
    This collection brings together the full contents of the three former boxes, with the addition of a further 60pp booklet of newly unearthed, or commissioned, band commentaries, pictures and other documents prepared specifically for this release - as well as re-mastered versions of all the studio CDs and the rare bonus CD (Cabinet of Curiosities), which came with the subscription edition of the original boxed set. Subscribers only will also receive an extra numbered edition subscription CD of more newly recovered, discovered and previously unreleased recordings.

    Content summary:
    Newly designed and packaged set of 18 CDs and one DVD covering the entire career of the band - re-mastered by Bob Drake. Plus extra subscription-only CD of further rarities
    For those with the original boxes, not to force you to buy the whole set just to get the extra booklet and bonus CD, you will be able to order these separately for £18.
    SPECIAL OFFER: BOOK and (sub edition) BOX for £85. Anyone who has already pre-ordered the book can add the box for £65
    Does the new CD and booklet get sold together?
    I found the CD but no mention of the booklet

  19. #394
    ^ Just what exactly is to be found on this bonus-CD thing? Is it the same 'leftovers' CD which was enhanced to the previous boxset in hindsight - or is it something else entirely?
    "Improvisation is not an excuse for musical laziness" - Fred Frith
    "[...] things that we never dreamed of doing in Crimson or in any band that I've been in," - Tony Levin speaking of SGM

  20. #395
    Member Jay.Dee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scrotum Scissor View Post
    Interestingly, whereas the usual cause for embarrassment in interviews with Cutler stems from an overeager attempt by the interviewer to somehow relate Henry Cow and R.I.O. to other "progressive" ventures of rock, this one appears to be as desperate to relate them to "punk" in just about every possible configuration imaginable. And Cutler STILL fences off the relation - thus crushing the myth.
    Well, I'd take his rebuttals with a grain of salt, because he even distances himself/Henry Cow from any modern avant-prog undertakings:

    (((o))): In 1978 Henry Cow set up Rock In Opposition which had its tenth festival in France a couple of years ago. Could you tell us some more about the organisation and the ideas behind it?

    CC: First. I should say that there were five Rock In Opposition festivals, run by members in the UK, Italy, Sweden, Belgium and France, which all took place in the first two years. After that RIO quietly ceased to operate. The new festivals that use the name have nothing to do with the original bands or their ideals.
    His acerbic music commentary can be entertaining and thought-provoking (as in his "File Under Popular" book), but he seems too often rather uninformed about the music developments outside his area of interest. He tends to downplay everything he has no direct connection with (unless he considers it a genius singularity like Sun Ra, Beefheart or Residents).

    I love the guy, especially when he crushes the fantasies of other music theorists:

    I’m not sure I agree with David Stubbs [that German bands that became collectively known as Krautrock were unable to draw on their cultural history, unwilling to draw on American musical history]. After the Nazi period of course German folk music had to be avoided, but still, the so-called Krautrock bands took as their jumping-off point something equally ‘German’: electronic music, which they fused with the vocabulary of… American rock.
    but at the same time I cannot help but notice that he's sometimes an equal myth-maker, especially when it comes to Henry Cow. Take as an example his repeated put-downs of King Crimson and the alleged absolute lack of any relationship/influence between the two, while it turns out that Fred Frith was apparently a big admirer of Robert Fripp back in the day.

    http://www.mitkadem.co.il/RIO_interview.html
    http://www.moredarkthanshark.org/eno...etf-jul75.html

  21. #396
    ^ Well, when it comes to his direct (re)presentation of own endeavours I'd dare say you're mostly right at that. I suppose this is why some would deem him a snobby music-intellectual; even Frith attested to that when Cutler refused to distribute Cheap at Half the Price in '83. And it isn't as if Cutler's pride of accomplishment at any time passed anyone by. I was thinking more in line with his (sometimes) cutting-edge views on art-theory in relation to both hiw own work and that of general developments - in and around "rock". Which I always felt was an enthralling read.

    Of course he did cultivate direct connections to Sun Ra, Beefheart and Residents, the former by reissuing Ra-titles on ReR, the middle through the fact that HC toured as support for Beefheart and the Residents as Cutler indeed participated as performer on two of their albums.
    "Improvisation is not an excuse for musical laziness" - Fred Frith
    "[...] things that we never dreamed of doing in Crimson or in any band that I've been in," - Tony Levin speaking of SGM

  22. #397
    Member Jay.Dee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scrotum Scissor View Post
    the middle through the fact that HC toured as support for Beefheart and the Residents as Cutler indeed participated as performer on two of their albums.
    I even wasn't aware of that!

  23. #398
    He's on both Eskimo and Commercial Album. Interesting input as always.

    Cutler's beef with HC as "progressive rock" appears somewhat twofold; a) he (and the rest of them) genuinely didn't perceive themselves as part of that phenomenon (or "movement") neither aesthetically nor socio-culturally. Which I can agree with on some level as an historian and music-lover myself, although that stance somehow rests on a misreading of etymological boundaries and evolution as regards the term itself. More problematic, however, is b) the case of "socio-aesthetic correctness" which downplays their adherence by active negation of that very same phenomenon. Although he defines his stance firmly through attemptive theoretical analysis, there's really not much to separate it from similar efforts by, say, Ian Anderson to distance JTull from the same bunch, or Nick Mason's or even Jon Anderson's. And who can blame them? "Prog rock" was semantically a point of ridicule for so many years - and often rightly so.

    Interestingly, Cutler seems to know more "prog rock" than he usually cares to admit. For instance when his buddies Stormy Six are noted for their obvious influence from Gentle Giant and Cutler comments on it.
    "Improvisation is not an excuse for musical laziness" - Fred Frith
    "[...] things that we never dreamed of doing in Crimson or in any band that I've been in," - Tony Levin speaking of SGM

  24. #399
    Member Jay.Dee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scrotum Scissor View Post
    More problematic, however, is b) the case of "socio-aesthetic correctness" which downplays their adherence by active negation of that very same phenomenon. Although he defines his stance firmly through attemptive theoretical analysis, there's really not much to separate it from similar efforts by, say, Ian Anderson to distance JTull from the same bunch, or Nick Mason's or even Jon Anderson's. And who can blame them? "Prog rock" was semantically a point of ridicule for so many years - and often rightly so.
    I have always considered such a stance counterproductive, because "progressive" rock fans are still the principal audience for Henry Cow and any other "avant-garde" leaning ensembles. Not the working masses Cutler&Co always struggled to reach with their music and message:

    We were performing in the south of Italy near a poor town called Benevento, north of Napoli. We played out of doors for a Festa de l’Unita hosted by the local PCI [Communist Party] in a small, ruined amphitheatre. The audience was mainly southern Italian farmers and their families out for a warm evening of conviviality and solidarity. As usual, we began to play late in the evening as the sun dropped, opening with one of our ‘uncompromising’ atonal compositions. We recorded that concert from the mixing desk, as we did most gigs, and the recording is testament to an astonishing event. A couple of minutes after we start to play, somebody calls out, and then someone else claps, and quite rapidly an escalation of calls and cries and slow hand-clapping can be heard issuing from the audience. These responses of displeasure, of criticism and rejection, continued throughout the ninety-odd minutes of our set as the audience of farmers and peasants from the region grew in boldness and contempt.

    This concert became notorious for us because the peasant audience made vocal their dislike of what we were doing, the sounds we were producing. Their jeering and clapping amounted to a kind of sounding antipathy, and the tape offers a sonic proof of this negative popular response to our music. So: let’s say we took real risks, and on this occasion – and some others – the audience didn’t like it. The implication is stunning and brutal: any putative aesthetic politics attached to bringing modernist rock to the people was, certainly, put in question or even annulled. [...]

    Coming as I did rather late to the group, I want to point to a rather uncritical adulation of Henry Cow on the part of some audiences through a sort of inheritance effect: from its links to the Virgin label, to Soft Machine, and to a certain stable of post-hippie art-rock in Europe and the UK. And this inheritance was something I myself found slightly troubling, because, as I’ve suggested, we were doing something rather different; yet it’s unclear the extent to which this was (or is) actually realized by some of the core Henry Cow audience. [...]

    My last story concerns a significant moment when, in a group called Music for Films that followed on from Henry Cow, we went to play in East Berlin in 1985 as guests of the state at the annual, two-week Festival of Political Song. This was Lindsay Cooper’s group, and we were there to play her wonderful film music, including some songs. It was an all-woman ensemble, with the filmmaker Sally Potter as presiding diva, and Chris as drummer – the token man.

    The whole trip was ridden with contradictions, and gave an entirely different sense of what the GDR was about prior to its collapse. I want to pose it for you as metonymic of larger processes and realities quite at odds with the impression given by that film, The Lives of Others. It’s a marvellous film, but I do think the account it gives of late East German life is one-dimensional. We found that people were coming up and handing us cassette tapes of music all the time – ‘Can you get this to John Peel?’ – and a great deal of ‘subversive’ cultural and musical activity was going on and material was circulating, directly around this official festival.

    The particular moment that I want to relate, however, was about gender. One day we fetched up in the Berliner Ensemble, where we were booked to play that evening. The morning of the performance we women were on stage setting up the borrowed amplifiers and other gear; I was trying to get my bass guitar sounding good. We were ringed by male East German technicians, circling us at the edge of the stage, who refused to help but stood there continually commenting and laughing at us through their moustaches: a classic instance of the gendering of music performance and music technologies. Later that day, an hour before the concert, the organizers from the Festival came to see us in the dressing room, and they said: ‘You know those lyrics of yours that talk about feminist matters? Well, perhaps you’d just leave those verses out, because we don’t have a problem here. Feminism is not needed in the GDR.’

    ------------------------------------
    Georginia Born - "On Music and Politics: Henry Cow, Avant-Gardism and its Discontents"
    https://www.academia.edu/15228952/_O...contents_2013_

    Cutler acolytes like to underline that the lack of success of the avant-garde wing of progressive rock ought to be attributed to the music media, which created a mirage of "fake" avant-garde (out of more accessible artists with certain ambitions) and thus prevented the masses from tasting and embracing 'true' progressive music. And if only Henry Cow had been lauded often enough they would have been selling American tours like YES or ELP.

    It somehow reminds of the current utterances about the failed society transformation opportunities in Spain (80s) and the Eastern Block (90s), right after the fascist and communist regimes had collapsed. The common thread is that the corrupt elites betrayed the commoners selling them to the ruthless capitalist system (for a penny). However, I still have to read a honest admission how badly the commoners longed for reckless consumption and easy entertainment and that any attempt to bar/slow the access to instant gratification would have been met (or was met) with a hostile reception.
    Last edited by Jay.Dee; 09-19-2019 at 09:50 AM.

  25. #400
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    I wonder how Stormy Six - who had audible influences from Henry Cow and Gentle Giant but ties just as strong to Italian folk and pop music, and who wrote their lyrics in a regional blue-collar Italian dialect - went down with audiences like that. Were those familiar qualities enough to break through and communicate with people who were the farthest thing from music nerds? Or did they still sound weird and off-putting to people who just wanted to dance or sing along to something they'd heard before?

    Henry Cow definitely admired Hanns Eisler, an East German composer who took employment by the (Communist) East German state, and who occasionally wrote 12-tone music for Workers' Choruses. Like Shostakovich, Eisler had difficulties with the authorities, was on the ins and outs with them, and sometimes was forced to temper his musical vision; he's still obscure outside Germany, and I'm not sure whether HC knew about his struggles. But whatever they knew or were trying to do, there's such a high level of hope and trust in what they did: playing strange and unfamiliar music for audiences of regular people, and thinking that their emotional genuineness and good intentions might somehow get through their difficult musical language.

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