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198 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
ART BEARS Songbook
Rock In Opposition festival, Carmaux, France 19 September 2010

For the first time in 31 years, the 3 original members of Art Bears (Frith/Cutler/Krause) perform live together !
When Frith and Cutler decided to play live the Art Bears material again (on a suggestion of Carla Kihlstedt), they only did one concert in 2008 in Victoriaville. Dagmar Krause was absent and no more than 3 female singers had been recruited to replace her : Jewlia Eisenverg, Kristin Slipp and Carla Kilhstedt.
The same line up was announced in 2010 for the RIO festival in France. But just a few weeks before the concert, Jewlia Eisenberg got seriously ill and Dagmar Krause announced she would participate in this concert. Art Bears was then reborn with all its original members. Fans from all around the world could not miss the event. Dagmar's return was indeed *the* reason why I made the trip to Carmaux and attended the whole festival.

After the Art Bears concert, I was chatting with friends (there were French, German people here) when suddenly we met Dagmar who was returning to her hotel. She was very friendly with us - I think the fact that there were German people among us helped a lot because she looked happy to speak in german (but it's no problem with me because I understand german). She told some funny stories about her beginning in the music business in Germany, before the Slapp Happy years. She also explained us that during the 90s, she realised she had been singing for more than 30 years without doing anything else, and that's why she retired : She needed a break, away from the music world. But recently she thought that music was finally more important to her than anything else, and she decided to come back. She is part of the "Comicoperando" project (around the music of Robert Wyatt) and a unknown band contacted her to ask her to sing some Brecht/Eisler tunes again. She's willing to take every opportunity to perform again, and the chance to sing in the new Art Bears line up was not to be missed for her.
Another anecdote she told us happened on the first day of the reheasal for the show : the first time Dagmar began to sing, Carla Kihlsted started to cry. These were tears of joy and emotion to hear *this* voice again after so many years (Carla is a huge fan of Art Bears, and she is on the initiative of the Songbook project). Dagmar was so sorry to make Carla cry, that she asked her whether she should stop singing... Of course not !

Now, about the concert itself :

Don't expect "better" versions than the studio versions. The arrangements are the same, and maybe the too short rehearsal time, or the lack of previous public performance prevented the musicians to be really *into it*. Too much concentration and not enough spontaneity.
But forget about Art Bears, the cult band etc. Forget about the songs they're playing, and that you know by heart. Just think it's Frith, Cutler and Krause reunited and making music together again. This alone is a dream come true. If these were new songs, what would you think ? You'd think that it's great music ! and Art in opposition.

About the recording :

I was ideally placed, in front of the soundboard. Unfortunately the sound in the hall was not really loud and this resulted in a recording sounding a bit distant. I applied some trickery and filters to make it sound more present, which worked very well, but... not excellent.

So I tried to find if some other bootlegers had shared their recording on the net. I did find 2 other recordings, but they weren't better than mine. However one of them (which was rather trebly and distant sounding) had some details that were missing in my recording. A matrix with this tape and mine was the obvious choice, and it worked rather well. This is this matrix I'm sharing with you now.
It comes with a full high resolution artwork

01 - The bath of stars
02 - First things first
03 - The summer wheel
04 - The slave
05 - The hermit
06 - Rats and monkeys
07 - The skeleton
08 - The winter wheel
09 - Man and boy
10 - Three wheels
11 - The song of investment capital overseas
12 - Truth
13 - Law
14 - The song of the monopolists
15 - Albion awake !
16 - Freedom
17 - The dance
18 - All hail

FRED FRITH guitar, bass, violin, voice
CARLA KIHLSTEDT violin, voice
The NORMAN Conquest live sound

Part 1 :

part 2 :

54 Posts
Wow ! Best Version

Oh, shame on me, I should have said Thanks much earlier.

This version is the best I could find of this concert.

I've listened to 3 other versions and was a bit disappointed every time. Not for the performance but for the sound quality. I was hoping something much better, like the Victoriaville recording, which is great. I guess the sound in the hall was a bit distant or too quiet. You can't make miracles in this case.

But your version is the best. A matrix with 2 sources was a good option and I'm glad you did it so well.

Thanks for the good work
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