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Sirens & Silences / Work Resumed On The Tower / Letters Home
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|Audio CD, March 29, 1995||
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on January 29, 2007
Format: Audio CD
In the 1973, the European avant-garde bands Henry Cow and Slap Happy convened to record the classic lp LEGEND, with Slap Happy's valkyrie-like vocalist Dagmar Krause imbuing the songwriters' political lyrics with incredible power. When Henry Cow split up in the late '70s, guitarist/multi-instrumentalist Fred Frith, drummer/lyricist Chris Cutler, and Dagmar Krause convened to form Art Bears, releasing three classic albums. News from Babel formed in 1983, with Dagmar Krause, Zeena Parkins (harp, accordion), Henry Cow veterans Lindsay Cooper (woodwinds, keyboards) and Chris Cutler (percussion, lyrics). This CD combines News from Babel's two albums, WORK RESUMED ON THE TOWER and LETTERS HOME (the latter title derived from Sylvia Plath). The group's musical roots lay in Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht's politicized cabaret music, which Dagmar would later explore on her first solo album Chris Cutler's lyrics explore the themes of personal alienation and Marxist politics with images worthy of the Book of Revelations, with Dagmar investing his verse with a profound sense of tragedy. Dagmar sings only two songs on 1986's LETTERS HOME, with Bill Gilonis, Lindsay Cooper's frequent collaborator Sally Potter, and the great Robert Wyatt handling vocals on the other seven tracks. A beautiful booklet matches the superb performance and recording.
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