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music

Robert Wyatt

Cover of Robert Wyatt’s Dondestan (Revisited) (Domino, 1998).

IN 2006, A NEW WORD, Wyatting, entered the lexicon. Referring to the prankish activity of sneaking an experimental music track onto an unsuspecting pub jukebox in order to vex other patrons, it got its name from an English teacher who suggested that Dondestan, a 1991 album by Robert Wyatt, epitomized the kind of music suitable for such a venture. While it’s hard to imagine one of Wyatt’s records actually clearing a room, he is the consummate cult figure with a taste for subversion—albeit one with a vulnerable, inimitable voice as cherished by his fans as Chet Baker’s or Chan Marshall’s by theirs. A bohemian who dived into pop rock at its mid-1960s apex (drumming in the Beat group Wilde Flowers) but never quite abandoned the jazz he’d previously sworn by (as evident in his subsequent outfit, the legendary first-generation British prog rock band Soft Machine), Wyatt later

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