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HENRY COW - The Road: Volumes 1-5

Format: 5 x CD-Box
Label & Cat.Number: ReR Megacorp ReR HC40
Release Year: 2009
Note: 40th Anniversary Box! Collection of unreleased recordings, unrecorded compositions, one-off events, radio and concert recordings, covering a period from 1971-1976; lim. 1500 copies with book in box
Price (incl. 19% VAT): €60.00


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"... At least 40% of any Henry Cow concert was improvised (CC). Eine Erfahrung, die nun endlich wieder vermittelt werden kann durch die 40th Anniversary Box The Road: Volume 1-9 (ReR Megacorp, ReR HC 40, 9 x CD + DVD). Sie enthält Volume 1: Beginnings, Volume 2: 1974-5, Volume 3: Hamburg (26.3.1976), Volume 4-5: Trondheim (26.5.1976), Volume 6: Stockholm & Göteborg (9.5.1977 & 28.5.1976), Volume 7: Later and Post-Virgin (1976, 1977), Volume 8: Bremen (22.3.1978), Volume 9: Late (1978), Volume 10: Vevey (25.8.1976 - DVD). Darauf erklingt noch einmal ausgiebig das, was zwei Cambridge-Absolventen und ein autodidaktischer Wirbelwind am Schlagzeug - ab 1974 als Troika aufgemischt durch eine eigensinnige lesbische Fagottspielerin - auf einzigartige Weise aus Anregungen von Adorno & Brecht, von Soft Machine, Lifetime, Miles, Mingus, Sun Ra, AMM, MEV, Syd Barretts Pink Floyd, Lol Coxhill, Faust, Velvet Underground, Bartok, Messiaen, Ives, Varese, Cage, Weill, Janacek etc. als modernistische Rockmusik entwickelten, bestimmt durch ein hohes Maß atonaler, polytonaler, polyrhythmischer, irregulär pulsierender, lärmiger, frei fließender Zutaten. Nick Hobbs, HCs Wegbegleiter der letzten Jahre, erlebte diese Klangwelt als possessed by a collective genius that was more than the sum of its parts. Georgie Born (ab 1976 Bass & Cello) sah HC als - nicht ohne Krampf - egalitäres Kollektiv vexieren zwischen humorlos linken und mythopoetischen, bedeutungsschwangeren und kryptischen Zügen (und zählt sich im Rückblick zur humorlos ideologischen Fraktion, hatte aber als Spätgekommene und Jüngste die gruppeninternen Autismen und Zwänge besonders gespürt). Das jazzige Element, das Geoff Leigh (Saxophon, Flöte) 1972/73 ins Spiel gebracht hatte, wurde ab 1974 durch die klassisch geschulte Lindsay Cooper (Fagott, Oboe) ein kammermusikalisches. Hodgkinsons Altospiel ist nur die Ausnahme neben der Orgel, ein Bläserduo wie ‚Chaumont 2‘, gar ein Trötquartett mit Leigh & Anne-Marie Roelofs im Amsterdamer Melkweg (beide auf Vol. 7), sind Raritäten. Die Mischung aus Improvisationen (ganz abseits von Jazz-Schemata und mit wenig solistischer Selbstdarstellerei), Theatermusik (für Die Bakchen und Der Sturm), wenigen Fremdkompositionen (‚No More Songs‘ von Phil Ochs, ‚On Suicide‘ von Eisler), suitenähnlichen, kollektiv zubereiteten Brainiacs-at-Work-in-Progress-Kompositionen von Frith (‚With the Yellow half Moon and Blue Star‘, ‚Ruins‘) und Hodgkinson (‚Amygdala‘, ‚Halsteren‘) mit pierrot-lunairen Liederzyklen (Hodgkinsons ‚Living in the Heart of the Beast‘ & ‚Erk Gah‘) und engagierten Songs (‚Citizen
King‘, ‚March‘, ‚Fair as the Moon‘, ‚Ottawa Song‘, ‚Joan‘), für die mit Dagmar Krause und gelegentlich Robert Wyatt mehr als nur reizvolle Stimmen sich fanden, sucht Ihresgleichen. Dem merkurialen Charakter der Stücke entsprechend wechseln sogar die Titel: ‚Bittern Storm over Ulm‘, ‚‘Heron Shower over Hamburg‘, ‚Brain Storm over Barnsley‘, ‚Nirvana for Mice‘, ‚... for Rabbits‘, ‚... for Moles‘.... [etc] [Bad Alchemy]


"Assembled over 15 years, this collection gives for the first time some idea of the breadth and depth of Henry Cow's work. Always very much a live band, performance was their metier, and a concert might range far - always driven by an intense dialogue between tightly knit compositions and radically open improvisation. The officially released LPs tell at best only half this story, and one purpose of this definitive collection is to set the work back into its broader context. These are all previously unreleased recordings, that include many compositions and improvisations new to anyone who only knows the official releases, documentation of a number of one-off projects and events and - where different or remarkable enough to justify inclusion - live versions of parts of the LP repertoire. Many of these recordings are high quality radio transcriptions taken directly from the original masters, others are less hi-fi, but justified we think by their historic and musical quality. And everything has been carefully transferred and re-mastered by Bob Drake to the best audio quality that current technology allows without interference or tampering. It's all a million times better than the terrible bootlegs that are swimming around. Altogether, these 9 CDs embody some extraordinary, and occasionally prescient music. Taking this box together with the officially released albums, it is possible at last to get some impression of the extensive ground Henry Cow covered in it's 10 short years. Finally, there is the DVD: 80 minutes of the 1976 Cow (with Georgina Born and Dagmar Krause) performing many unreleased pieces as well as Living in the Heart of The Beast, Beautiful as the Moon &c. This is the only known video recording in existence - professionally made, multi camera - and has not been recovered since its original broadcast (just scour U-Tube, HC is conspicuous by its total absence). And last but not least, there is a great deal of written, photographic and textual documentation. Since this will probably be the last and definitive collection, it has to be thorough. For reasons of fairness and cost we have decided to split the set into two boxes - which can be bought separately or together. VOL 1 covers the period 1971 to the 1976 Hamburg radio show which documents John Greaves' last concert with the band, as well as the extraordinary Trondheim concert from the quartet tour that immediately followed. VOL 2 takes the story through to 1978 and includes more previously undocumented compositions as well as the Bremen radio recording. The Stockholm CD belongs to this second box, which also contains the DVD." [label info]

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