#133 | Retrospective Review | Comus – First Utterance (1971)


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It has been a couple of months since our last retrospective review podcast, but I am ecstatic to return to this series with my good friend, Duncan Park. Based in South Africa, Duncan is a drone folk artist who primarily produces music under his own name, though he relishes any opportunity to express himself in other genres. It was within our in-depth podcast interview that he walked me through his myriad of projects and articulated his love for all tones psychedelic and droning. And through this interview, he fervently expounded upon his love for First Utterance, the debut LP from the British progressive folk sextet, Comus.

To be frank, I had not heard of Comus until Duncan’s utterance of their name. Though after mere seconds of listening to the album’s opening moments embodied in “Diana”, I was perplexed, creeped out, but above all, elated. As Duncan describes in this review, he figures that “Diana” was slotted as the first track in First Utterance so as to steer casual listeners away. Although this is a hypothesis, “Diana” is certainly the strangest track on the record, featuring goblin-like vocals from lead guitarist, singer, and songwriter, Roger Wootton, in addition to a bewildering array of outlandish and simultaneously overwhelming psychedelic tones.

In this episode, Duncan discusses a medley of fascinating insights related to Comus. Some of these are personal accounts, where he would subject random friends of his to First Utterance so as to elicit raw reactions from the ominous mysticism contained therein. Beyond this, however, he speaks about the relatively troubled history of the outfit, describing how First Utterance and their follow-up LP, To Keep From Crying, did not bode well from a sales perspective. Though despite this shortcoming, Comus has gained traction as of recent, evidenced by a live performance at Roadburn 2014 and a string of other live outings. There is much more to unearth in the conversation ahead and we sincerely hope you enjoy our discussion of it. Thank you for listening.

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Though First Utterance is not available on streaming platforms, you can listen to it via the YouTube video above. If you’re keen on acquiring a vinyl or CD copy of the record, you can grab one on Amazon. Also, if you’d like to stay up to date on developments from Comus, you can do so by following them on Facebook.

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