Winter Songs (Art Bears album)

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Winter Songs
ArtBears AlbumCover WinterSongs.jpg
Studio album by Art Bears
Released 1979 (1979)
Recorded November–December 1978
Studio Sunrise Studios, Kirchberg, Switzerland
Genre Avant-rock
Length 38:07
Label Recommended (UK)
Producer Art Bears
Etienne Conod
Art Bears chronology
Hopes and Fears
Winter Songs
The World as It Is Today
Singles from Winter Songs
  1. "Rats & Monkeys" b/w "Collapse"
    Released: 1979, Ralph Records
ArtBears SingleCover Rats&Monkeys.jpg

Winter Songs is the second album by English avant-rock group Art Bears. It was recorded at Sunrise Studio in Kirchberg, Switzerland between 22 November and 5 December 1978, and was released in 1979. It was Art Bears' first album to be recorded on their own, the bulk of their first album, Hopes and Fears (1978) having been recorded as Henry Cow.

Recording the album[edit]

Winter Songs comprises fourteen short songs composed by Fred Frith around texts by Chris Cutler that were based on carvings on the dado of the west facade of Amiens Cathedral in France. The whole album was recorded and mixed simultaneously, taking 14 days from start to finish. The group adopted an approach of creating the sound first and committing it to tape immediately, instead of leaving the sound detail to post-production mixing. This method used the studio as a compositional instrument, and Etienne Conod, the studio engineer at Sunrise Studio, played an important part in this process, becoming an indispensable member of the group.[1]


Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4/5 stars[2]
Robert Christgau B+[3]

In their review of the album Ground and Sky wrote: "Winter Songs often seems like the third wheel in Art Bears' trilogy of full-length releases; it is neither as overtly political nor as musically diverse as either of the albums that bookend it."[4]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks composed by Fred Frith and Chris Cutler.

Side 1
No. Title Length
1. "The Bath of Stars" 1:45
2. "First Things First" 2:50
3. "Gold" 1:41
4. "The Summer Wheel" 2:47
5. "The Slave" 3:38
6. "The Hermit" 2:59
7. "Rats and Monkeys" 3:24
Side 2
No. Title Length
1. "The Skeleton" 3:11
2. "The Winter Wheel" 3:06
3. "Man and Boy" 3:21
4. "Winter/War" 3:05
5. "Force" 0:54
6. "Three Figures" 1:51
7. "Three Wheels" 3:35


Sound and art work[edit]

CD reissues[edit]

  • Winter Songs and Art Bears' next album, The World as It Is Today were reissued on a single CD in 1988, entitled 25 Songs.
  • The album was also reissued in 2004 in The Art Box, a 6xCD box set of all Art Bears releases with live and unreleased tracks, plus remixes by other musicians.


  1. ^ Cutler, Chris. "Art Bears". Chris Cutler's homepage. Retrieved 3 January 2007. 
  2. ^ Mills, Ted. "Winter Songs". AllMusic. Retrieved 29 December 2014. 
  3. ^ Christgau, Robert. "Art Bears". Robert Christgau. Retrieved 21 June 2011. 
  4. ^ "Winter Songs". Ground and Sky. Archived from the original on 10 November 2012. Retrieved 25 August 2014. 

External links[edit]