Hopes and Fears (Art Bears album)

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Hopes and Fears
Studio album by Art Bears
Released May 1978 (1978-05)
Recorded January 1978, Switzerland
March 1978, London
Length 48:25
Label Recommended (UK)
Producer Art Bears
Etienne Conod
Art Bears chronology
Hopes and Fears
Winter Songs
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars[1]
Robert Christgau B[2]

Hopes and Fears is the debut album by the English avant-rock group Art Bears. It comprises tracks by Henry Cow, Art Bears's predecessor, recorded at Sunrise Studios, Kirchberg in Switzerland in January 1978, and tracks by Art Bears, recorded at Kaleidophon Studios in London in March 1978.


Hopes and Fears began as a Henry Cow album, but after the first recording sessions in Switzerland, some of the members of the band were unhappy about the predominance of song-oriented material. As a compromise it was agreed that two albums would be made: the songs would be released under the name of a new group, Art Bears, and the instrumental compositions would be released later by Henry Cow. The newly formed Art Bears recorded four more tracks in London to complete Hopes and Fears, which was released in May 1978. Henry Cow returned to Switzerland in July that year to record additional instrumental pieces for what was to be their last album, Western Culture (1979).


Because of Henry Cow's presence on this album, Hopes and Fears is considered by some to be "the lost Henry Cow album".[3] But the predominance of songs makes the album a bridge between Henry Cow and Art Bears, a move away from Henry Cow's usual intense compositions, and the beginnings of Art Bears's music, fully realised on their next two albums. It also shows Fred Frith experimenting with folk and dance music ("Terrain", "Moeris Dancing", "The Dance"), which he explored further on some of his subsequent solo albums, particularly Gravity (1980) and Speechless (1981).

"Joan" and "On Suicide" had been performed live by Henry Cow in 1977 and appear on Volume 7: Later and Post-Virgin of The 40th Anniversary Henry Cow Box Set (2009). This version of "Joan" differs from the earlier live recording in that it is shorter, and the lyrics are not the same. Chris Cutler wrote the original lyrics for "Joan" and Tim Hodgkinson's "The Pirate Song", but Henry Cow were unhappy with them, and the songs were withdrawn from their repertoire. "Joan" was only performed a few times, and "The Pirate Song" not at all. Prior to the Hopes and Fears recording session, Cutler rewrote the lyrics of the two songs, but once again there were objections from the feminist faction within Henry Cow. Dagmar Krause, however, supported the new lyrics and both songs were recorded with the revised texts.[4][5]

The longest track, "In Two Minds" is the closest Art Bears came to playing "conventional rock music".[1] The instrumental section in the song sounds like a homage to The Who, a fact that Chris Cutler does not deny, considering the influence the band had on him and others.[6]

Track listing[edit]

Side one (Áhá: Palace courtyard)
  1. "On Suicide" (Brecht, Eisler) – 1:26 a
  2. "The Dividing Line" (Cutler, Frith, Cooper) – 4:11 a
  3. "Joan" (Cutler, Frith) – 3:05 a
  4. "Maze" (Cutler, Frith) – 5:05 a
  5. "In Two Minds" (Cutler, Frith) – 8:45 a
Side two (Mer: Irrigated land)
  1. "Terrain" (Frith) – 3:49 b
  2. "The Tube" (Cutler, Frith) – 3:05 b
  3. "The Dance" (Cutler, Frith) – 5:09 b
  4. "The Pirate Song" (Cutler, Hodgkinson) – 1:28 a
  5. "Labyrinth" (Cutler, Hodgkinson) – 2:15 a
  6. "Riddle" (Cutler, Frith) – 2:49 a
  7. "Moeris Dancing" (Frith) – 5:08 a
  8. "Piers" (Cutler, Frith) – 2:10 b
Bonus tracks on 1992 CD re-issue
  1. "Collapse" (Cutler, Frith) – 4:03 d
  2. "All Hail!" (Cutler, Frith) – 4:48 c
  3. "Coda to Man and Boy" (Cutler, Frith) – 7:12 e

Track notes[edit]

  • a Recorded by Henry Cow at Sunrise Studio, Kirchberg, Switzerland, 15–29 January 1978.
  • b Recorded by Art Bears at Kaleidophon, London, 15–18 March 1978.
  • c From Recommended Records Sampler (1982) – recorded by Art Bears at Kaleidophon Studios, London, Winter 1979.
  • d From B-side of the Art Bears 7" single "Rats & Monkeys" (1979) – recorded by Art Bears at Kaleidophon Studios, London, Winter 1979.
  • e From 7" single given free to subscribers of The World as It Is Today (1981) – a coda to the Art Bears track "Man and Boy" from Winter Songs, recorded live by Art Bears at Cantù, Italy, 30 May 1979.
  • "Collapse" and "All Hail!" are inverted in the CD liner notes.


  • Fred Frith – guitars, violin, viola, harmonium, xylophone, piano, bass guitar on "Terrain" and "The Tube"
  • Chris Cutler – drums, percussion, noise
  • Dagmar Krause – voice

Guests (from Henry Cow)[edit]

Additional personnel[edit]

Sound and art work[edit]

  • Produced by Art Bears and Etienne Conod
  • Cover art by E. M. Thomas, assisted by Graham Keatley, Charlotte Sainsbury, Doug Kierdorf and Jane Colling (figures on the original LP cover)

Album title[edit]

Hopes and Fears derived its name from the following conversation between Charion and Hermes in Satirical Sketches: Charon Sees Life by Lucian of Samosata (quoted in the booklet accompanying the CD release of the album):[7]

Charion: All I can see is a complicated muddle – a world full of utter confusion. Their towers are like beehives in which every bee has a sting of his own and uses it against his neighbour – and some are like wasps, preying on the weaker members of the community. But what are those dim shapes flying around them?
Hermes: Hopes and Fears, Charon...

CD reissues[edit]

  • Hopes and Fears was reissued on CD in 1992 by Recommended Records with three extra tracks.
  • The album was also reissued in 2003 in The Art Box, a 6xCD box set of all Art Bears releases with live and unreleased tracks, plus remixes by other musicians.



  1. ^ a b Mason, Stewart. "Hopes and Fears". Allmusic. Retrieved 2011-06-21. 
  2. ^ Christgau, Robert. "Art Bears". Robert Christgau. Retrieved 2011-06-21. 
  3. ^ Temple, Alex. "Art Bears, Hopes and Fears". Progweed. Retrieved 2007-01-03. 
  4. ^ Cutler 2009, vol. 6–10, p. 5.
  5. ^ "Chris Cutler interview". Chris Cutler homepage. Retrieved 2007-11-15. 
  6. ^ Colli, Beppe. "An interview with Chris Cutler, February 8, 2004". Clouds and Clocks. Retrieved 2007-01-03. 
  7. ^ Lucian. "Satirical Sketches: Charon Sees Life". Questia – The Online Library of Books and Journals. Retrieved 2006-12-28. 

External links[edit]