Henry Cow – Unrest

1974 – Virgin Records


Henry Cow was a prog rock/jazz band that formed in 1968 at Cambridge University. When they went to the studio to record this album, they realized that they only had enough material for one side, so they spent time in the studio writing and improvising for side two. This makes an interesting album, the first side contains really complex compositions, while the second shows the band working together and improvising. If you haven’t heard Henry Cow, you need to. They mix rock with experimental noise, chamber music, and so many other genres seamlessly. Fred Frith, the guitarist, has a unique compositional style (at least at that period). His basslines are front and center, locked in with the drums, while angular horn lines drift in and out. All the other band members on this recording went on to long careers in the experimental rock/jazz scene: Tim Hodgkinson, John Greaves, Chris Cutler, and Lindsay Cooper. I’m sure I could go on and on about this album, but I think it is better to hear it. Go find a copy and check it out!