Rock Bottom - Robert Wyatt
Rock Bottom is the second solo album by former Soft Machine drummer Robert Wyatt. It was released on 26 July 1974 by Virgin Records. Although Rock Bottom is technically Wyatt’s second solo LP, he has stated in several interviews that he considers its predecessor The End of an Ear as juvenilia and not part of the recognised “canon” of Wyatt solo records. The album was produced by Pink Floyd’s drummer Nick Mason.
The band Matching Mole disbanded soon after the release of Little Red Record in 1972, and Wyatt began composing the material that later appeared on Rock Bottom. The album’s preparation was interrupted by an accident on the night of 1 June 1973. During a raucous party, at Vale Court, Hall Road, Maida Vale in London, an inebriated Wyatt fell from a third-floor bathroom window and was paralysed from the waist down. Wyatt has used a wheelchair ever since. He later called the event the beginning of his maturity and in hospital he continued to work on the songs that would appear on Rock Bottom “in a trance.” “I was just relieved that I could do something from a wheelchair,” Wyatt confesses. “If anything, being a paraplegic helped me with the music because being in hospital left me free to dream, and to really think through the music.”
Within six months he was back at work in the recording studio and appeared on stage at London’s Rainbow Theatre with Pink Floyd and Soft Machine, who lent financial support by playing a benefit concert for him. Although the music itself is intense and often harrowing, and the lyrics to the songs are dense and obviously deeply personal, Wyatt has denied that the material was a direct result of the accident and the long period of recuperation. Indeed, much of the album had been written while in Venice in early 1973 prior to Wyatt’s accident, where his partner and future wife (the poet Alfreda Benge) was working as an assistant editor on Nicolas Roeg’s film Don’t Look Now.
Released: 26 July 1974
Recorded: Delfina’s Farm, Little Bedwyn, Wiltshire (basic tracks), February 1974 – The Manor Studio, Oxfordshire and CBS, London, April–May 1974 (overdubs)
Genre: Progressive rock, Canterbury scene, Jazz fusion, Avant-rock
No Singles released from the Album