Vocalist, composer and multi-instrumentalist Robert Wyatt's career extends from the beginnings of the psychedelic era to the present day.
This album started its life as simply a collection of the two BBC Top Gear sessions that Robert recorded in 1972 and 1974. But as we worked on it, Robert became more and more involved in it, until it ended up in its final form.
In addition to the Top Gear recordings, there is a previously unheard and little known 1973 soundtrack for a short experimental film, two recent works with old collaborator Hugh Hopper and finally a 2003 home demo of a new song that did not end up on Robert's new release "Cuckooland".
"Coinciding almost concurrently with the issue of Cuckooland, an entirely new studio recording by composer, singer, and multi-instrumentalist Robert Wyatt on Hannibal, Solar Flares Burn For You is a welcome "other-dimension." This is not a repackaging of material that has been released countless times before. While certain tracks, such as the title and "I'm A Believer" have been released elsewhere, these versions have not; they come from projects where their inclusion here is not only warranted but necessary.
What is included here are both of Wyatt's BBC Top Gear Shows, one from 1972 with Francis Monkman, and another from 1974 on solo piano, the original soundtrack version of the title cut, and the film it was composed for, two new tracks with Hugh Hopper, and a brand new demo. What is remarkable is how the 1974 BBC session, which includes "Soup Song," "Alifib," "Sea Song," and "I'm A Believer" feel next to the postmodern loop works with Hopper, and "Verb," a new song. The material with Monkman contrasts markedly with the same selections recorded for Rock Bottom, and the soundtrack version of "Solar Flares" is a remarkable bit of composition. When one watches the film, it's amazing to see how closely the film was edited for the composition, and not the other way around.
The package was compiled in close association with Wyatt, contains complete notes by Aymeric Leroy, and interviews with Hopper, Monkman, and Arthur Johns, the director of Solar Flares Burn For You. And as if this wasn't enough, Wyatt contributed writings and artwork to boot! The bottom line is that not only is this a compelling and delightful listen, but it is an essential item for any Wyatt fan to have in her collection." – Thom Jurek / AllMusic
"Throughout a career as singular and honest as his expressive voice, Robert Wyatt has remained a true progressive."
- Rolling Stone
released September 16, 2003
All voices and instruments by Robert Wyatt except
5 and 12:
Hugh Hopper – loops and bass
Robert Wyatt – cornet and keyboards
Francis Monkman – synthesizers, piano, electric piano and backing vocals
Alfie Benge and friends – vocals on 10 and 11
13 recorded early 2003 at home by Robert Wyatt
5 and 12 recorded Winter 2002-2003 at Robert Wyatt's and Hugh Hopper's homes.
1 to 4 recorded September 10, 1974 at Langham 1, BBC, London, UK
6 recorded spring, 1973 as the soundtrack to the short film 'Solarflares Burn For You' at Nick Mason's home studio, London, UK
7 to 11 recorded December 5, 1972 at Langham 1, BBC, London, UK