Posts Tagged ‘Art Bears’

Chris Cutler talks about Dagmar Krause

Saturday, April 3rd, 2004

The Wire, the UK magazine that covers “new music”, meaning avant-garde stuff of various colors, is fairly hit-or-miss for prog fans. The magazine is fairly condescending to anything resembling conventional prog, and most of its coverage will appeal only to avant-prog and RIO types. That said, for those people, the latest issue is a gem. There’s a pretty good feature-length article on Art Bears - as well as one on György Ligeti - that makes the issue worth its price.

The Art Bears article, as well as the review of The Art Box in the Soundcheck section, make the case that Winter Songs is the group’s crowing achievement, a sentiment that doesn’t seem to be shared by most RIO folks. The article is particularly notable, though, in that it includes sentiments from Dagmar Krause, whose voice was conspicuously absent from the booklet to The Art Box. Also interesting are Chris Cutler’s thoughts on Krause:

“‘I don’t write simple or obvious words,’ he admits, ‘they are not easy to sing. Dagmar had the amazing ability to make them make sense, to make them sound obvious. She sings from the inside and her accent helps to lift words out of their slots and give them a slightly resonant displacement. No one else could have done what Dagmar did on those LPs. I’m still amazed by her.’”

Also of interest to prog types in this issue are reviews of new albums from Einstürzende Neubauten, Absolute Zero, and the Satoko Fujii Quartet (Fujii’s band with Tatsuya Yoshida), as well as the Amon Düül II live DVD, Plays Phallus Dei.

Swooning over The Art Box

Saturday, January 17th, 2004

My copy of The Art Box, a 6-CD box set of Art Bears material (their three original albums released in 1978-9 as well as three full CD’s of remixes and reworkings by various high-profile avant-prog figures), came in today. Let’s see. I own a fair number of box sets. I recently got Miles DavisThe Complete In a Silent Way Sessions and The Complete Bitches Brew Sessions, both of which are beautiful works of art in terms of the packaging. But this box nearly takes the cake. While it can’t quite compete with the metal Bitches Brew package, The Art Box is one of the most beautiful CD packages I’ve ever laid eyes on. The box itself is tastefully simplistic, each CD comes digipacked separately, the CD artwork appears to be new, and the original album art is preserved. The original albums are remastered by Bob Drake, and I’ve only just begun to listen to them, but they sound fantastic.

Perfectly timed for the band’s 25th anniversary, this box is a fitting tribute to one of the great early avant-rock pioneers. It remains to be seen whether the three discs of reworkings will make it worth shelling out $70 for the box if you already own the three original albums - but I would say any big-time fan of this group should be drooling over it.