Sunday, January 16, 2011

Comus: Diana

Diana Diana kick your feet up
Lust bears his teeth and whines
For he's picked up the scent of virtue
And he knows the panic signs
It is back to Rob Young's Electric Eden for inspiration, but we are a long way from "All Around My Hat". Here Diana is the quarry not the huntress and is pursued "through the steaming woodlands".

Comus were a band based at Ravensbourne College of Art and then in Beckenham and were championed by the young David Bowie.

They were very much a band of the early 1970s. The recording of their first LP was hit by strikes in the electricity supply industry and its publicity and distribution was hit by a postal strike.

Young writes of them:
Comus deployed mainly acoustic elements - guitars, violin, flute and oboe, bongos and percussion, plus electric bass - with a viciousness seldom heard in the pastorally inclined folk-rock of the time.

[Roger] Wootton wrote songs around a distinctive chopping, driving rhythm guitar. Colin Pearson's fiddle buzzed and trilled like a forbidden pagan jitterbug. Andy Hellaby's electric bass urged the music forward, occasionally locking into a Can-like mantric groove. Rob Young's flute cavorted like Pan gloating at the revels.

And then there were the vocals - Wootton swooping from a saturnine soprano to a guttural, lecherous goading, shadowed by [Bobbie] Watson's angelic counterpoints and milk-souring disharmonies. Their repertoire was snarled tales of innocence corrupted, brutal ravishment, clinical derangement and murderous gore.

Comus was the son and cupbearer of Bacchus, representing anarchy, chaos and excess. Comus is also the title commonly given to a masque by John Milton that was first performed at Ludlow Castle in 1634.

You can read more about the band on the Comus Official Website and there is a good article about them by Chris Blackford.

1 comment:

Mark Chadbourn said...

Thoroughly enjoyed this - so much I'm now seeking out their work on iTunes. Although I have pretty eclectic tastes, I'd never heard of Comus before, so thanks for flagging this one up.