Label: Virgin - VIL 12005 • Format: Vinyl LP, Album • Country: Italy • Genre: Rock • Style: Avantgarde
It was recorded at Virgin Records ' Manor studios over three weeks in May and Junemixed in Julyand released in September With the exception of "Nine Funerals of the Citizen King", which the whole group sings, and background voices on "Nirvana for Mice" "Sweet mystery of life I will remember""Teenbeat" and "The Tenth Chaffinch", this is an instrumental album.
The jazzy Canterbury sound on some of the pieces shows Henry Cow's beginnings, although they quickly moved on to establish their own unique sound. Frith said that he used "chance methods" to compose "Nirvana for Mice" after reading works by American composer John Cage.
But, it doesn't sound like the fusion stuff that was starting to happen This music sounded terribly organic. And when you stripped it back that was when you'd realize how complicated it was. The album cover art work was by artist Ray Smith and was the first of three of his "paint socks" to feature on Henry Cow's albums. Chris Cutler said in a interview that Smith Untitled - Various - The Chase E.P the theme on Henry Cow's next two albums, with the sock changing "to suit the temper of the music".
On the remix of "Amygdala", Lindsay Cooperwho was not yet a member of the group at the time of the LP recording, played bassoon recorded August and replaced Geoff Leigh 's saxophone, which Hodgkinson felt was "too jazzy". With the original master tape having been lost, this CD edition was transferred from a Teenbeat - Henry Cow - The Henry Cow Legend condition Japanese vinyl copy.
In a review at AllMusicMike DeGagne called Leg End a "busy musical trip" that produces some complicated yet interesting progressive rock. Music journalist Robert Christgau said the music on The Henry Cow Legend is composed to stimulate improvisation, and is "more flexible" than Teenbeat - Henry Cow - The Henry Cow Legend Crimson 's, and "more stringently conceived" than Soft Machine 's.
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