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Western Culture [Original recording reissued, Original recording remastered]

Henry CowAudio CD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)

Price: $13.93 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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Audio CD, 2005 $19.00  
Audio CD, Original recording reissued, Original recording remastered, 2005 $13.93  
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Frequently Bought Together

Western Culture + Unrest + Concerts
Price for all three: $59.43

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  • Unrest $19.10
  • Concerts $26.40

Product Details

  • Audio CD (June 21, 2005)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Original recording reissued, Original recording remastered
  • Label: East Side Digital
  • ASIN: B00006310N
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #538,633 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Industry
2. The Decay Of Cities
3. On The Raft
4. Falling Away
5. Gretel's Tale
6. Look Back
7. Half The Sky
8. Viva Pa Ubu
9. Look Back (Alt)
10. Slice

Editorial Reviews

Main tracks: 1. Industry 2. The Decay of Cities 3. On the Raft 4. Falling Away 5. Gretels Tale 6. Look Back 7. 1/2 the Sky Additional tracks: 8. viva Pa Ubu 9. Look Back 10. Slice

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars artistic marriage of rock, modernist classical, jazz... February 12, 2004
Format:Audio CD
...the way only Henry Cow could do it.
After Henry Cow's _In Praise of Learning_, the situation in the band was getting a little divisive. Lindsay Cooper and Tom Hodgkinson wanted to compose longer instrumental pieces, while Chris Cutler and Fred Frith wanted to focus on more song-oriented music. Unfortunately, they couldn't come to an agreement so Frith, Cutler, and Dagmar Krause released their song-based material as the first Art Bears album, _Hopes and Fears_, while Hodgkinson and Cooper's work was released as the final Henry Cow album, _Western Culture_.
And let me tell you, it's fookin' brilliant. _Western Culture_ is pretty much entirely composed, with only sporadic glimpses of the band's previous affinities towards improvisation. Hodgkinson and Cooper each compose one side of the album (1 and 2, respectively -- BUT, they both wrote "1/2 the Sky"), and while they are distinctly different, it all ties together nicely because of the consistent harmonic quality and dense, tight arrangements. Best of all, this music, while very strange and complex, is also very moving and evocative, all the while deploying twisted, angular melodies, intense textural colors, dissonant harmonic language, and shifty motivic processes. This is also the most 'classical' sounding of their catalogue, probably because of the emphasis on wind instruments. Hodgkinson's pieces are gritty and atonal, complex and energetic. The organ outburst opening "Industry" takes off with Cutler's drumming unpredictably shifting accents.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Makes me wanna run away to a rock camp commune. December 4, 2000
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Henry Cow, of indescribable sonic manifestations and fairly obvoius leftist political leanings have recorded the soundtrack for the industrial revolution's theoretic suicide. This is the sound of what a handful a ridiculously talented hippies thought our future would come to. Too bad nobody is playing rock (and this is rock) anywhere near this precisely anymore.
This purely instrumental album is fairly prototypical henry cow (the non-vocals brand), yet, in my opinion, is the best written and performed of any of their recordings. It starts out with one of the most bombastic HC songs recorded (especially for the non-vocal era, they tend to rock it out a little more consistently on later/con vox recodings.), but for the most part, the tension in this album is communcated through compositional inference, rather than volume.
If you're like me, you find the sweet spot of this album comes in the second half, where the songs seems to take better advantage of the band as a whole, and feature some fairly awe inspiring interplay.
If you like your rock abstract, and played with fairly devious technical sensibilities this is it. If you want vocals, or something to seduce your partner to, you might wanna look elsewhere. Unless you wanna bump uglies in 13/8.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spectacular September 5, 2010
Format:Audio CD
This is the only album by Henry Cow I've listened to, but I'm already in love. If you listen to it on;y once it'll probably put you off, but only because it's so far removed from anything that other, more popular progressive rock bands like King Crimson and Pink Floyd were doing at the time. A direct comparison would of course be useless. Others will call this album pretentious, heartless, overly technical, masturbatory, and any other lazy insult they can dig up from the mud. Don't listen to them. Don't buy into the cynical punk dogma that advanced musicianship and pure self-expression are mutually exclusive. Yes this album sounds completely alien at first; yes its angular melodies, dissonances, and rhythmic and structural irregularities seem deliberately designed to frustrate pop (and pop-prog); yes it's different. But it's honest, and sometimes honesty means doing someone no one else wants to do. (Never, ever mistake idiosyncratic creativity for elitism. If anything is a sin, that is.) If you just open your mind for a minute, which many rock listeners are loathe to do unfortunately, you'll discover the secret: this album is FUNKY. This is foot-tapping, head-bobbing, get-up-and-move music. This is empowering. If anyone tells you any different, they haven't seen the light. Show them that light. Amen.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A remarkable and final album by Henry Cow May 22, 2006
Format:Audio CD
Apparently not interested in re-treading the same ground over and over again "to earn their pensions", this 1978 album would be Henry Cow's last before disbanding later in 1978.

The core musicians on this album include excellent drummer and bandleader Chris Cutler (who also plays electrified drums, "noise", piano, and trumpet); Lindsay Cooper (bassoon, oboe, soprano saxophone, and soprano recorder); Tim Hodgkinson (organ, alto saxophone, clarinet, and Hawaiian guitar); and Fred Frith (electric and acoustic guitars, electric bass, banjo, and soprano saxophone). Other musicians that play on the album include Georgie Born (electric bass); Anne-Marie Roelofs (trombone and violin); and Irene Schweitzer (piano).

The seven tracks on the album are divided into two larger works including History and Prospects (Tracks 1-3) and Day by Day (Tracks 4-7). The three additional tracks include one taken from the Dagmar Krause (vocalist) period (Viva pa Ubu), an alternate take of Look Back, and an outtake from the 1978 Western Culture sessions. The three additional tracks are excellent.

Like all of their albums, the music on Western Culture is highly disciplined yet is almost anarchic at points. This strain of progressive rock is also extremely complex, atonal, jagged, and at times, quite abrasive - yet buried in there are moments of calm and deep reflection. I personally find the combination pretty exciting. Along with standard rock instruments (including incredible drumming by Chris Cutler) woodwinds are featured prominently, and the arrangements are dense and angular. In general, the compositions are essentially a whirlwind of sound that fuses elements of "post-war" classical, jazz, free jazz, and rock.

All in all, this is not a listening experience for the faint of heart. This is extremely challenging music that is also extremely rewarding. Highly recommended along with Unrest (1974) and In Praise of Learning (1975).
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars moooo, this is no ordinary cow
Oops, I accidentally submitted a review for a Jimmy Buffett greatest hits album for Henry Cow's Western Culture. Read more
Published on January 9, 2009 by B. E Jackson
5.0 out of 5 stars Almost did not happen
Although previous works by this band could be more appreciated by 'prog' music fans, to me this is like the final accomplished sound/concept they were looking for. Read more
Published on June 13, 2008 by Speedy
5.0 out of 5 stars The Finest Henry Cow
For me, this is the most focused and cohesive Henry Cow album yet. Not much filler here, this one is far more composed than their previous works. Read more
Published on March 23, 2008 by dazamaru
5.0 out of 5 stars when beauty strikes
This last studio recording with Henry Cow deserves far more attention then it usually gets. The arrangements are absolutely awesome. Read more
Published on April 13, 2006 by J. Gustavson
3.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Cow CD but GET REMASTERED
This is the last official Henry Cow album from the 1970's. It is a good record, but the ESD 1995 pressing in very tinny. Read more
Published on June 20, 2005 by Carl Johnson
5.0 out of 5 stars Be ready to change the way you think pop music should be
My mother brought me this album when i was 18 or 19 , from a trip she made to NY. I had read about Henry Cow but had never heard them before. Boy, was i in for a shock! Read more
Published on February 3, 2003 by miguel hiraldo
4.0 out of 5 stars Another (different) Plantation, FL opinion
Henry Cow is undeniably an acquired taste. As a long time fan, I cite " In Praise of Learning" & Desperate Straights" as two of my all time favorite albums. Read more
Published on December 19, 2002 by JNC
1.0 out of 5 stars Contoversial.... evidenced by the little "war" going on between Mr. Plantation, Florida and Mr. Rubidium84. Read more
Published on July 31, 2002
4.0 out of 5 stars Not for Nebraskans for sure.
If you live in Nebraska, where the highlight of a fun filled evening might be going down to the local bakery and watching the Cheeze-Wiz dry on the pastry, then I suppose you would... Read more
Published on May 7, 2002
5.0 out of 5 stars Instrumental Ingenuity!
This album is brilliant. The people who made this album are brilliant. Everyone who likes this album is brilliant. I wish I could give it 1000 stars, because it is SO brilliant.
Published on May 7, 2002
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