CD Diversions, Vol. 1: The Songs of Robert Wyatt and Antony & the Johnsons - Live from the Union Chapel, London [4712765167497] (CD 15865766),
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Diversions, Vol. 1: The Songs of Robert Wyatt and Antony & the Johnsons - Live from the Union Chapel, London [4712765167497]

  • Additional Info
    Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): 6516749

  • Credits
    Producer
    Engineer

    Recorded live in 2011 over the span of two nights at London's Union Chapel, Diversions, and Vol. 1: The Songs of Robert Wyatt and Antony & the Johnsons finds the Northumbrian ensemble tackling the works of a pair of fellow Anglo-eccentrics. Of the two, it's the mournful and elegant Antony Hegarty whose work most closely mirrors sisters Becky and Rachel Unthank's distinctive blend of brooding traditional folk and moor-darkened chamber pop, and their versions of beloved A&J cuts like "Bird Gerhl" and "Spiralling" reveal hidden corners and secret rooms, while keeping the originals' foundations intact. Horns are introduced on "Stay Tuned," the first of six Wyatt tunes, all of which manage to dutifully convey his gift for balancing childlike navet with gut-wrenching truth. Renditions of "Free Will and Testament," "Lullaby for Hamza," and a muscular take on 2007's "Out of the Blue" shine as well, before winding down with a trio of originals, resulting in one of the more riveting and idiosyncratic tribute albums of the past ten years. ~ James Christopher Monger

  • Critic Reviews
    Rolling Stone (p.65) - "[The group] interprets Wyatt's forlorn 'Sea Song' and the fragile pledge of Antony's 'You Are My Sister' with spare grit and a silvery deceptive spine running through the sisters' Earth-angel voices."
    Record Collector (magazine) (pp.1000-101) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "DIVERSIONS is a low-key gem. The sisters' plaintive, pure voices bring out a new element in the Antony & The Johnsons material."
    Uncut (magazine) (p.105) - 3 stars out of 5 -- "[T]hey redraw the boundaries again on this live album...giving a a string-laden caress to a selection of Robert Wyatt tracks."
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