Monday, December 22, 2008

File Under: (obsessive?) Wyatting, The Early Years

The past few weeks or so I've been doing the while I'm using the computer. It's alright, it seems to always play the same handful of songs which are pretty much all songs I like so it's not so bad.

It's more a boring than long story as to why if I have multiple gigabytes worth of music I'm doing the, I don't know, I always have some issue or other when it comes to either space or RAM, this has to do w/ my RAM issue,

The Soft Machine, circa 1969
(Hugh Hopper, Mike Ratledge, and Robert Wyatt)
The above photo and the B/W one below, I scanned from the "Spaced" linernotes

Whatever, it's been nice listening to music again when I'm using the computer. Anyway, the best (one of the best, listening to more of the late great Ivor Cutler, is another thing to come from all of this but that's for another post!) thing to come out of my adventure has been a new found love for the Robert Wyatt era Soft Machine, particularly their second album, "Volume Two". I have pretty thoroughly listened to all of Robert's solo albums, his earlier work I avoided for a long time, I don't know, it always seemed way to Prog Rock for my taste. And my few attempts at listening to his earlier stuff, "The End of an Ear" (his actual first solo album although nobody seems to count it as such) and the first Matching Mole album pretty much proved my prejudice. Aside from a few tracks on the Matching Mole album, the rest I just found way too prog boring. B/c of my lack of interest in those two albums I didn't really even consider bothering w/ any of his Soft Machine material. Then last year somehow I became completely addicted to his Soft Machine era magnum opus "Moon in June" (from their third album naturally titled "Third") and all of it's different versions. That song for the most part is his first solo song, he played all of the instruments for the majority of the song. That pretty much broke the ice for the rest of it though, somehow from there I started listening to the second Matching Mole album, "Matching Mole's Little Red Record" and I in turn became completely addicted to that as well. What I really enjoy about "Moon in June" and the second Matching Mole album is the stream of consciousness quality to the lyrics. I love their banal-ness, they are almost anti-lyrics and b/c of that they become more evocative in a way? From there I'm sure I listened to more of the Soft Machine albums but they were more cursory auditions and nothing really came from them, I enjoyed the albums but moved on to other things?

The above personal listening history isn't entirely true, I forgot, I really got into the Soft Machine album "Spaced" and have liked it for some time now. It's somewhat of an oddball album for them, it wasn't released until 1996 and it's not really like any of their other albums (and I'm just talking Wyatt era) in that it's all instrumental and loop based.

Back to the Soft Machine's "Volume Two" and, for some reason the version of "Volume Two" that plays is just one long track that's the entirety of the album, which is a little over a half hour long. So whenever it comes up, I have to listen to the whole thing (and I usually do), actually I'm usually trying to get it to play next. Again it was the banal stream of consciousness of Robert's lyrics that has really hooked me. All of the songs meld together really well so listening to the entire album as one long track has been nice. Anyway I wanted to post the lyrics to a few of the choice songs (as they come up in order). —

Terrible album cover BTW.


In the spring, I think of sex and means to ends

Summertime, I like to sit upon the grass

Autumn nights I go to parties with my friends

Winter time is when I think about the past

But of course I do all those things all year 'round

I mean, all the good things are there to be found

It's all here, pick-a-bag and get to work

If you don't, your life in fact will surely go berserk

Or indeed be bored to death, which is worse?

If something's not worth saying

Not worth saying

Not worth saying

Say it...


In his organ solos, he feels 'round the keyboards

Knowing he must find the noisiest notes for you to hear

And when I know that he's found them

It feels so good... but I still can't see

Why people listen, instead of doing it themselves

But I'm grateful all the same

You're very kind and I don't blame you

I don't mind if you just watch

In fact I'd welcome it, welcome it, welcome it...


Here's a song for 'clean machine Kevin Majorca'
He's found his own way of 'live in Majorca'

Don't walk, don't drink

Don't talk, just think

Heaven on Earth he'll get there soon

Kevin's highly unlikely to get ill

At least as long as he lies perfectly still

He eats brown rice and fish - how nice

Heaven on Earth, he'll get there soon

Good and bad go so well together in his tunes

He wrote a song and called it the weather - or not

He's Lucky or Pozzo, Estragon and Vladimir

Waiting for something that's already there

Heaven on Earth or is it the moon?

Why, why, why is he sleeping?

Why is the trumpeter weeping?

Kevin maybe asking to get back into my dreams

His voice is so weak now and the customers are screaming

Heavens above, we can't hear what you're saying

We've got something to tell you

Hold on we wanted to thrill you

Reckons it's so nice and it will make you feel better

Something in the nature of a Lullabye Letter

Kevin on Earth there'll be one

Kevin on Earth make room for one

Kevin himself he'll be in
Kevin on Earth, be here

Or you could be now

Or is he found, in Herne Bay...


Famous parabolic versions

Songs that promise:

Beauty, sleep, love, sadness.

Do I dream that something's missing?

Hungry, thirsty, open off-peak mind

Give me the truth, give me the truth,

give me the truth, tell me...

Songs and verses,

Handy captions,

Photographs of:
Real-life action, horror, madness.

Can it be that something's happening?

Wash me, paint me, but please don't taint me

Give me a chance, give me chance,

give me a chance...

When I was young, the sky was blue

And everyone knew what to do

But now it's gone, the telly's here

Mass media, the sewer too

Universal maximillion

Eight rare cases

Chickenpox and crawling gladness

Seemingly it's nothing happening

Cure my doctor

don't swallow him down

Give me the cure, give me the cure,

give me the cure...

The night was cool, the moon was bright,

The air was clear with oxygen

The stars were there, and in my eyes

Were thousands of chrysanthemums

Don't use magnets -

Geophysics carry you back

Wholesome, healthfood, homepride


Something outside gives out hunger

Face my mirror


All of the words to the above songs
are by Robert Wyatt except the last
song, I just noticed it has words
and music credited to Hugh Hopper

On a sad side note, Hugh is currently
in battle w/ leukemia, so send
all good vibe his way!


* This Song, "As Long as he Lies Perfectly Still", is a nice little ode to Kevin Ayers who had recently left the group. It always makes me think of another sort of ode to Kevin Ayers later in his life written by John Cale That's not exactly so nice —


The bugger in the short sleeves fucked my wife

Did it quick and split

Back home, fresh as a daisy to Maisy, oh Maisy
And the twelve-bore it stood in the corner

Quite operatic in its self disgust

It blew him all over the living room floor

Like parrot shit, parrot spit, parrot shit was

Now suppose it was someone familiar

Someone we all would know

Embarrassing denouement, ne c'est pas?

Familiar hyperbole

And there would go the secret plot

The piss had missed the hole in the pot

Like that ancient teenage dream

From soul to poison soul to poison soul

Guts, guts, got no guts

And stitches don't help at all

Guts, guts, got no guts

Holes in the body, holes in the legs

Holes in the forehead, holes in the head

Holes in the body, holes in the legs

There should never be holes at all

There should never be holes at all

So: kill all you want or more

Make sure, do it right

BTW "Hibou, Anemone and Bear"
is the new name of my imaginary band,
"falseTRUE Lovers" is out!?!

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