Art Bears
The World As It Is Today



by Jhon Zigman USER (57 Reviews)
May 13th, 2018 | 7 replies

Release Date: 1981 | Tracklist

Review Summary: An avant-garde political statement before splitting up.

Art Bears' third and final album was recorded much like the preceding Winter Songs. Chris Cutler arrived at the studio with the lyrics already written, Fred Frith set them to music more or less on the spot and the album was completed in just a couple of weeks. Where the previous album drew heavily on Cutler's fascination with the Middle Ages, this album goes back to the Bertolt Brecht influences heard on Hopes and Fears and the lyrics are unambiguous political words and a savage critique of global capitalism. Frith's music complements this perfectly, while Dagmar Krause gives an outstanding performance.

If the preceding Winter Songs was mostly based on real songs, while not respecting the usual format, The World As It Is Today is definitely more complex than it, and Art Bears shortest album, lasting only 30 minutes. Not only does the album returns to certain form of Marxism ideology, but the very dissonant nature of the music make it the most difficult album of the band. The influence of pioneers like Faust and The Residents is more overt than ever. While there is no out and out rocker here, "Democracy" features some thunderous drumming in contrast to Cutler's more characteristic feather light playing. The sonic palette has changed, with piano and keyboards more to the fore and less emphasis on violin and guitar than previously. Frith's piano contributions are at his best, while his knack with catchy but unpredictable melodies has rarely been deployed to better effect. The songs are also very much to the point, with six of the ten titles lasting less than three minutes. As ever, it is Dagmar who brings these songs to life, and on "Freedom" she improvises a truly blood curdling wail which builds slowly into a scream of anguish and despair, while Frith plays a perfectly cold guitar solo. This is a beautifully recorded album with Etienne Conod is at the controls as engineer once again, who really deserves credit.

All in all, The World As It Is Today might be the toughest Art Bears album to understand, but it might be the most rewarding. The World As It Is Today doesn't quite have the clarity and beauty of Winter Songs, but it still is an excellent album. The lyrics are, if anything, more relevant today than they were back in 1981, although most of the people will disagree with them in some way.

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user ratings (30)

Comments:Add a Comment 
May 13th 2018


Album Rating: 4.0

I'm done reviewing this band. Hope these three reviews will lead people to give this band a try.

Digging: James Horner - Aliens

May 13th 2018


I really want to check out this band but I can't find them anywhere digitally besides YouTube. Do you know any other way to listen them or are their records only on vinyl?

Digging: Tim Hecker - Konoyo

May 13th 2018


Album Rating: 4.0

Evrimen, I know there are CD reissues of their discog, including a box set. I own all 2003 CD reissues of these three albums. However, I'm not sure if they are easy to find or not.

May 13th 2018


Thanks, hope the CD'S aren't that rare.

May 13th 2018


Album Rating: 4.5

That Art Box set ranges from 50-80 bucks hot damn, bit out of my spending range

also hi Art Bears review

Digging: Rheostatics - Greatest Hits

May 15th 2018


I only now saw your review. I was out for some days. Finally your job about this band was completed. As I wrote before, I need to check this guys.

Bom trabalho amigo. Pos.

May 16th 2018


Album Rating: 4.0

Finally the work is completed by you with this band. Nice to see some love to unusual bands. Great work, pal. Have a pos.

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