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Comicopera by Robert Wyatt

Since his fabled British Canterbury progressive rock days with Soft Machine, Matching Mole and as a preeminent solo artist, composer/vocalist Robert Wyatt’s reverence is analogous to a King peering down at his loyal followers. His latest release featuring jazz/world-music musicians, Roxy Music guitarist Phil Manzanera and producer/synthesist Brian Eno among others, is a tour de force. He skirts the boundaries of world music, highbrow pop and other genres here on this three-part feast for the mind's eye.

Wyatt sings about foibles, love, politics and other matters via his witty vernacular, and falsetto vocalizations of the material. His intertwining of common-day topics into a semi-humorous game-plan is equalized by his wry wit and penchant for covering various angles of the human experience. For example on the gorgeous ‘60s like R&B-pop tune "Just As You Are," he trades verse with Monica Vasconcelos within the classic boy-girl dialogue about the inability for lovers to change their ways. It’s a delightful and memorably melodic piece that complements other works comprised of quirky horns arrangements and folksy musings. Other compositions are constructed upon ragtag piano progressions, and off-kilter backdrops. No two works are distinctly alike; however, Wyatt translucently aligns the program into in involved plot, dappled with multihued tonalities and interconnecting storylines.

Wyatt sings in Spanish above his subliminally executed and haunting keyboard voicings during "Del Mondo," as the tropical slant continues with vibist Orphy Robinson’s fractured Caribbean-tinged phrasings on the instrumental, "Pastafari." Ultimately, Wyatt’s creative juices flourish into streaming currents of lucid imagery and wondrous sounds. And I’ll go on a very short-limb here, asserting that this album should rank among his finest musical statements to date. But is it a masterpiece..? Let your golden ears be the judge.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Robert Wyatt
  • CD Title: Comicopera
  • Genre: Progressive
  • Year Released: 2007
  • Record Label: Domino
  • Rating: Five Stars
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