Classical Music Forum banner
1 - 8 of 8 Posts
G

·
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The Art Bears were a kind of avant-garde trio featuring Fred Frith, Chris Cutler and Dagmar Krause. I became particularly enamored with their 1979 release, Winter Songs. I later had an excellent Live in Prague album on vinyl. I can't find it on CD. Winter Songs is a collection of songs each written for a single different carving which I think are found at the Chartres Cathedral although I'm probably wrong on that--some European Cathedral anyway. The lyrics are written by drummer Christ Cutler. Dagmar Krause does all the singing and vocalizing. Every other instrument you hear is Fred Frith. Indeed, there is an undeniable medieval austerity to each song despite no medieval instruments being used. In fact, there doesn't appear to be anything in their material relating to medieval musical ideas--no heterophony, no conductus, no motet--and yet there it is, this strange medieval atmosphere.





Here is the entire album, if you want to hear it:

Fred Frith is well known to avant-garde lovers. He's played with Henry Cow, Brian Eno, Naked City, Massacre (with Bill Laswell and Fred Maher). Once, when I was stationed in the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, B.B. King was scheduled to play in town that night. I had duty so I couldn't go but I was on the mess deck having breakfast at about 0600 hours and we had a TV up there and it was playing and one of the local tv stations ran a previously-recorded interview with B.B. At one point, he was asked who his favorite guitarists were. He answered that he liked a lot of newer blues artists as Robert Cray (this was 1985) but then he said, "But I like people who take the electric guitar into new territory and for that reason I listen to a lot of Fred Frith and Robert Fripp." I looked up sharply at the TV. Did he say what I just thought he said? Yes, he did. Just goes to show you.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
9,759 Posts
Lovely stuff... I think that Lord Lance will enjoy this because the band's name refers to ursine creatures.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
1,845 Posts
Count me as another fan!

I love avant-prog in general. The Art Bears were even unique in a genre already known to be unique.

Lots of artists influenced by them:

Charming Hostess (almost anything with Carla Kihlstedt, actually), Thinking Plague, Kew Rhone, and others.



I tend to like more instrumentally dense bands more, but
 

· Registered
Joined
·
257 Posts
Ah, yes. It's been some time since I've listened to Art Bears, I must rectify! Been listening to too much classical music or something. :p

If I recall, Winter Songs was at one point going to be a Henry Cow album, but this was the point of that band's dissolution, so the Frith/Cutler compositions were saved for the new Art Bears incarnation, and the Cooper/Hodgkinson works comprised the former band's last hurrah, Western Culture.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
3,921 Posts
Winter Songs has long been in my collection (on vinyl). I listen to it at least twice a year, once in the winter, and once in the summer.

Some years back I also picked up The Art Box, six-CD set of the Art Bears complete recordings. I'm glad I did so. It's a bit pricy nowadays.

Rectangle Grey Font Circle Symbol


However, I do believe that the 2004 Recommended Records set "celebrating the 25th anniversary of the band's inception" is scheduled to be re-released in May of this year, which will give everyone a chance to pick up these seminal discs. And I hope you will.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
3,921 Posts
The reissued Art Box is now available. So you Art Bears fans have no excuse for not picking up this magnificent set of discs.



Info from CD Universe site:

Art Box album for sale by The Art Bears was released May 05, 2015 on the ReR USA label. THE ART BOX contains HOPES & FEARS (1978)/WINTER SONGS (1979)/THE WORLD AS IT IS TODAY (1981) as well as ART BEARS REVISITED (2003) featuring mixes, remixes and re-workings of Art Bears tracks by various artists. Art Box buy CD music Also includes a limited edition extra bonus disc with other remixes and rare Art Bears tracks. Art Box CD music is a 6-disc set.

The Art Bears were a thinking person's rock trio, unfortunately destined to be also-rans during the age of punk's ascendancy. But for an outfit operating at the margins of popular music for less than two years, it turns out that the Bears left quite an impressive legacy, as evidenced by The Art Box, a 2004 Recommended Records set celebrating the 25th anniversary of the band's inception.


Some good info here, too: http://www.allmusic.com/album/the-art-box-mw0000742286
 
1 - 8 of 8 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top