Lee Steer


Cassette in Case Cassette J-card Cassette J-card Commemorative Plates Royal Banner


The Rock in Opposition set unifies two intertwined concepts that were intended to cultivate the development of music. The postmodern concept of increasingly blurred boundaries between high and low culture is coupled with the rejection of traditions and manipulation of existing concepts in order to produce new ideas, visually referenced through a subversion of the 1960’s pop art ideology. Where artists such as Roy Lichenstein and Richard Hamilton brought low cultural forms into a high art setting, bands such as Henry Cow and Univers Zero ‘diminished’ high cultural forms of music into the lowest form, maintaining the social commitment to the genre that allows for extensive briccolage and the deconstruction of musical concepts without criticism. This is reflected by instead manipulating high cultural forms and placing them onto rock merchandise created with mass-production in mind.

The concept is tied to the genesis of the movement in Henry Cow’s music exile from England through the focus on British traditions and the rich red colour motif. The broken up royal coat of arms represents the dissollusionment with British ideals that is indicated through Henry Cow’s communist views and the band’s desire to avoid being “locked into the rock circus” that was populated by what the Italians described as the Enlgish/American entertainment mafia.