50 years of vinylic musical art
English musical influence of over five decades and multi-instrumentalist Robert Wyatt brings back a 2004 album from his musical career: His Greatest Misses, a compilation of his work spanning across decades, re-released onto vinyl. Most famously known for his founding roles in the British rock bands Soft Machine and Matching Mole before his fateful accident that would leave him paraplegic, Wyatt has also played an incredibly influential role in the progressive rock, psychedelia and art-rock scenes. Wyatt has been noted by other famous acts for his influence in their work, such as Tears for Fears’ track “I Believe,” which is a dedication to Wyatt himself and has been remarked by Dev Hynes (Blood Orange).
Getting into His Greatest Misses, the compilation kicks off with “P.L.A.,” a track reminiscent of Wyatt’s 1986 LP Old Rottenhat; it acts as a rhythmic nursery outro chiefly lead by Wyatt’s monotonal, compassionate vocals over somber keys and chimes. After Old Rottenhat, Wyatt digs from Dondestan (1991), which returned later that decade in 1998 with Dondestan (Revisited), with the hit track “Worship,” a jazz fusion heartfelt melody front-run by emotional pianos and backup wind instruments that embodies a blissful sensation.
In 1997, Wyatt released his sixth LP, Shleep, that opened with the wonky and quirky guitar strums of “Heaps of Sheep” that can be summarized as a trance or psychedelic journey of dreams. It is followed up by the same LP’s fifth track, “Free Will And Testament,” that enforced the quirky aesthetic of the LP. Perhaps unknown to many, but widely used in media and films, “I’m A Believer” hits next with its evocative tone of 2001’s hit children film’s ending scene of Shrek. It impacted many millennials growing up, showing Wyatt’s subtle influence across people’s culture.
Kicking off his solo career with his first LP Rock Bottom in 1974, “Sea Song” was the first track to be released on the LP, spurring the popularity around this critically acclaimed melody that is followed up by the same LP’s third track, “Little Red Robin Hood Hit The Road.” In the following year, Ruth Is Stranger Than Richard was released with the jazz fusion track “Solar Flares,” that encompassed an eccentrically zany somber melody comprised of harmonious low vocals and a steady slow beat that compliments well with the next track from this compilation from 1982’s Nothing Can Stop Us LP. But “Solar Flares” was not the only track from ‘82s Nothing Can Stop Us LP that made it to Wyatt’s greatest hits compilation; “Arauco,” sung in Spanish, brought with it a chilling and somber melody with lo-fi tunes and soft keyboards to coax the mind.
Like that of its era of mechanical melodies and synth-wave, “The Age Of Self” was released in ‘86s Old Rottenhat, which drove through with its primary use of grooving synth waves. Once more from the dreary and drowsy album of Schleep, “Alien” returned with its slow, drowsy beat that was angelically calming as opposed to ‘98s “Shipbuilding” that brought its somber jazzy sensations.
Mystically charming as being lost in an enchanted forest of a fairy-tale with the fluting tunes that are magically coaxing to the ear, “Memories Of You” floats in once more for this vinylic return alongside the similar tunes and rhythms of “Muddy Mouse (b).” With their jazz-inspired melodies, “Mister E” and “Foreign Accents” follow suit, wrapping up the compilation with a solemn jazzy cadence.
Many people enjoy the pleasure that comes with having friends over and busting out a vinyl, and Wyatt’s His Greatest Misses in anyone’s collection can be used as a weird flex upon one’s guest at people’s next house party.