Art Bears - 'Winter Songs' from 1979...
Have you ever wondered what an album would sound like if recorded by Yoko Ono as a manic-depressive viking warrior, singing opera, while on a really bad acid trip? Neither had I prior to listening to this album. But now I know the answer to that question!
I forgot how I even got turned on to Art Bears... Probably due to their existing loosely in the same musical part of universe as Soft Machine and King Crimson?
Anyway, again for reasons I don't recall, I set out to acquire all their albums. With some difficulty, I was able to do this. Most came from over-seas, but ALL are new or mint copies of their original releases. This one arrived yesterday, and I gave it a listen this morning, before work.
Oh my! This is some seriously weird shit. In spite of the generally bright and sunny disposition of the album art, the actual music is far from that. Think dark, scary, mid-evil, dungeon, chamber music. I'm not sure what was wrong with the lady vocalist, one Dagmar Krause, during this period of her life, but I hope she found the help she needed, got it all worked out and that everything is OK now.
The last track on Side 1 is a tour-de-force of psychotic breaks with reality entitled "Rats & Monkeys". While the same could be said for the entire album, this track is certain to harsh your mellow very quickly.
Wikipedia has this to say about Art Bears: "Their life was fleeting, but the Art Bears wrote and recorded bold, challenging, idiosyncratic music that, despite its occasional difficulty, is ultimately very rewarding."
While, ultimately, I find owning pristine, original copies of all three of their Studio Albums "very rewarding", if only from a historical perspective, I'm not sure any of them will be in heavy rotation over here. Unless, that is, I need to scare any young children, in which case this is probably all I'd ever play.
If anyone at the DoD is reading this, I might recommend looking into this album for consideration as an enhanced interrogation method, if we're still even doing that sort of thing.