Robert Wyatt Comicopera

Robert Wyatt Comicopera
Robert Wyatt, a former member of Soft Machine, is an old master. His latest project (an opera in three acts) is not only ambitious but highly listenable. Lofty concepts require lengthy press releases but Wyatt’s work speaks for itself; Comicopera is coherent and each act has its own distinctive feel. One can feel out Wyatt’s artistic intentions without the aid of written explication, and Wyatt has been somewhat vague about the overarching "point.” This is probably for the best: Comicopera sounds so good that overanalysing it would only detract from the pleasure of simply listening to the album. Act one, "Lost in Noise,” starts out like a film noir soundtrack — a foreboding mood is set instantly, although the songs are beautiful independent of their narrative framework. Act two, "The Here and Now,” plays with convention, with disjointed blues rock pieces and pop songs offered out of context. Act three, sung entirely in Italian and Spanish, closes the cycle. The musical themes of act one are pulled apart — the portended disaster has occurred and disorientation is the result. Even the greatest concept albums contain filler but Wyatt has done a fine job of editing his work; nothing here feels self-indulgent and every detail adds up to a fantastic whole. This is no ordinary release and it deserves an essay rather than a 200-word review. Of course, nothing beats hearing it for yourself. (Domino)