07 febbraio 2019


Sarà pronto a settembre per la Duke University Press l'atteso studio sugli Henry Cow di Benjamin Piekut, docente a Ithaca (Stati Uniti) alla Cornell University: Henry Cow: The World is a Problem. A commentarlo tra i primi è Robert Wyatt: "What was it all about, to me? Thinking. Henry Cow really thought about the why, the what, the appropriate methods of making music. Their riveting music was the sound of thinking out loud: Henry Cow seemed to be asking ‘so, what is the significance of these sounds in our heads?’ And they were always witty: just look at the name of the band, and the unwearable sock representing ‘the Henry Cow legend.’ I am very glad this book exists. Henry Cow’s history—in all its inevitable turbulence—tells an inspiring story."

In its open improvisations, lapidary lyrics, errant melodies, and relentless pursuit of spontaneity, the British experimental band Henry Cow pushed rock music to its limits. The band’s rotating personnel, sprung from rock, free jazz, and orchestral worlds, synthesized a distinct sound that troubled genre lines, and with this musical diversity came a mixed politics, including Maoism, communism, feminism, and Italian Marxism. In Henry Cow: The World is a Problem Benjamin Piekut tells the band’s story—from its founding in Cambridge in 1968 and later affiliation with Virgin Records to its demise ten years later—and analyzes its varied efforts to link aesthetics with politics. Drawing on ninety interviews with Henry Cow musicians and crew, letters, notebooks, scores, journals, and meeting notes, Piekut traces the group’s pursuit of a political and musical collectivism, offering up their history as but one example of the vernacular avant-garde that emerged in the decades after World War II. Henry Cow’s story resonates far beyond its inimitable music; it speaks to the avant-garde’s unpredictable potential to transform the world.