Art Bears became a member of the Rock in Opposition movement in December 1978 where the RIO members met in Sunrise Studio Kirchberg.
The band was formed by members of now disbanded Henry Cow
The debut was released May 1978, containing 9 tracks recorded by Henry Cow in January and 5 tracks by Art Bears in March 1978.
The album can be seen as a “last” Henry Cow, but with more “song” orientated material than previous albums, as the instrumental recordings would mainly appear on Henry Cow’s Western Culture (1979).
Art bears: Hopes and Fears – “In Two Minds” (recorded by Henry Cow)
Art Bears first “true” album with songs intended for and preformed only by Art Bears came soon after, “Winter Songs” recorded in late 1978 and released in 1979.
This is my favorite Art Bears album, within its own genre a relative accessible piece of art, the band is now a trio with Fred Frith playing all instruments, Chris Cutler Drums & Percussion, topped with a stunning vocal by Dagmar Krause.
Upon a – wheel a – cockerel crows the – crimson dawn
There is a medival theme to the record, sending thoughts in direction of early 70’s masters like Jethro Tull or Gentle Gaint, underlined by some supreme violin from Frith.
Art Bears made a last album “The World as It Is Today” in late summer 1980 released in 1981, the radical political ambitions of the band is now even more evident with track like “”The Song of Investment Capital Overseas”.
I empty villages – I burn their houses down – I set up factories
The music also seems more inspired by “industrialism” with more repetitive themes that may reflect the machinery and work processes of modern day.
In my opinion a less inspired effort compared to Winter Songs but not bad at all, absolutely worth a listen or rather many listens, this is not music you can expect to digest or comprehend investing 30 minutes.