Bob Wiseman
(Copyright © 1999 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )
In Her Dream, 7/10
Presented By Lake Michigan Soda, 6/10
City Of Wood, 5/10
In-By Of , 7/10 (comp)
Beware of Bob , 6/10
Accidentally Acquired Beliefs , 6/10
More Work Songs From The Planet Of Apes , 6/10
It's True (2004), 6/10
Theme and Variations (2007), 6.5/10
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Bob Wiseman, l'ex pianista e organista dei Blue Rodeo, si mise in luce come cantautore con In Her Dream (Atlantic, 1989), che ne rivelo` l'eccezionale talento di compositore e narratore. Lo stile spaziava dal blues al country & western, dal jazz al folk. Ma a tener banco era soprattutto il suo modo di cantare e suonare, una maniera indefinibile al confine fra il "wit" urbano di Randy Newman, il surrealismo rurale di John Hartford e gli acuti di un matto del villaggio. I testi sono attribuiti a un poeta e filosofo itenerante, tale Wrenched Tuttle, e sono quanto di piu` ilare e arguto sia dato di ascoltare dai tempi di Jonathan Richman.
Wiseman ha dieci pelli, e le indossa tutte alla rovescia. Il jamming casuale di Older Brother fa pensare ai Grateful Dead, la burla di Bhopal ai Fugs, il tono hippie di Blind Horse al Donovan di Season Of The Witch, il passo solenne di In Her Dream al primo Neil Young, l'esuberanza di All The Trees a Neil Diamond... tutti trasfigurati dal suo humour bislacco. Al tempo stesso il disco e` un omaggio continuato alla musica del primo Novecento: country (If I Knew), blues (Just Tourists), jazz (Cockroach), boogie (Dog On A Leash), rhythm and blues (Airplane On The Highway),...

Stesso humour e stesso eclettismo fanno di Presented By Lake Michigan Soda (Worn Er Muzak, 1991) un'opera altrettanto personale. In piu` un titolo come Diary Of a US Crop Dusting Pilot Spraying The Defoliant Tebuthiuron (Spike) On Cocoa Plantations In The Upper Huallaga Valley (Peru).

Un po' distratto invece il terzo City Of Wood (Worn Er Muzak, 1992), in cui l'artista sembra contemplare se stesso e il proprio far musica senza successo.

Dopo tre album "sotterranei", l'artista venne riscoperto negli USA tramite la antologia In-By Of (Bar None, 1994).

L'opera successiva fu pero` di nuovo sottotono, le improvvisazioni strumentali per trio jazzrock di Beware of Bob (Sabre Torque, 1994).

Wiseman, l'uomo che colse di sorpresa "The Artist Formerly Known As Prince" annunciando di voler cambiare il proprio nome in "Prince", non ha smesso di sciorinare "wit" da maestro su Accidentally Acquired Beliefs (Worn Er Muzak, 1996).

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More Work Songs From The Planet Of Apes (GFC, 1997) includes the ten-minute Sweet Gertrude.

By his standards, It's True (Blocks Blocks Blocks, 2004) is only intermittently demented. The odd autobiographical rant of My Cousin Dave and the tragic portrait of Lori employ only acoustic guitar, one in a street-minstrel style and the other one in a sloppy, dissonant style. But his musical genius is best appreciated in the Queen of Sheba, possibly his idea of a neoclassical lied (majestic melody, soaring harpsichord-like accompaniment, bubbling electronica), Fluke Fluke Fluke, which blends Jonathan Richman's self-parodic wit and the rhythm of Talking Heads' Psycho Killer, and Born To Love You, a wedding of intergalactic signals mix with doo-wop harmonies. Whether he goes purely acoustic or he ventures into electronics, the results are always unpredictable.

Theme and Variations (2006), several years in the making, is a concept about a failed relationship. Bob Wiseman tortures himself to death by reenacting the story of his love and of its ending. He begins by searching for his identity in Who Am I, and then pities himself in the relatively upbeat pop tune Man of Misery, that (at nine minutes) stands as one of his most accomplished visions of how to put feeling into words into notes. Search The World is another poppy peak, in which languid melody and tender lyrics are perfectly integrated in the piano-based accompaniment. So is the desolate elegy of Three Men, dressed up in semi-waltzing chamber music and audio-verite'. And the six-minute agony of Kissproof, sung from a distance and topped by a barely-tuned piano that awkwardly flirts with both blues and jazz music, displays more of these "scenic" virtues. However, Wiseman seems more comfortable singing his misery in the spare folkish style of Passion Flowers and Henry Moore Room. The "theme" of the album is not particularly engaging but some of the variatios are strokes of pure genius.

Giulietta Masina at The Oscars Crying (2013)

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