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Robert Wyatt - Cuckooland CD (album) cover

CUCKOOLAND

Robert Wyatt

 

Canterbury Scene

3.51 | 60 ratings

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ShW1
3 stars I've manage to find the Cuckooland album by one of the prog founders Robert Wyatt in a local store, what happens less and less recently. Situation of "real" local stores is getting worse as times goes by. The seller likes this album a lot, and maybe this is one of the reasons for keeping this album in stock. So I entered into Wyatt Cukooland, a weird land which contains concentration camps, atomic bombs, and more of this kind. This is a very political album, like some other Wyatt works, and while it is hard to disagree with RW attitude, after all no decent person could really claim to like concentration camps, atomic bombs or other bombing acts, still there is a room for a little different point of views, a little less black-or-white view.

Musically, there is an excellent crew here: Gilad Atzmon on saxophone and clarinet deliver big, prominent sound and good roles, and Yaron Stavi on contrabass, both are Israeli origin. Karen Mantler, on vocals and harmonica, also contribute one of the best songs in this album, 'Life is Sheep'. Along with other players, plus Wyatt himself on vocals, percussion and trumpet, they component an interesting mosaic of musical ideas and sonorities.

The songs are very good, but none of them is really a breakthrough or candidate for one of my personal classics. My preferred ones are 'Old Europe', features lovely acoustic vintage feeling and wonderful wind instruments, inspired from old jazz orchestras, 'Cuckoo Madame', with its intricate melody, 'Foreign Accents' with its minimalistic approach and problematic political connections, I like it as it is, though, and the mentioned above 'Life is Sheep', for its wonderful melody and interesting chord progression. Each song is well crafted, intriguingly harmonized, and get a particular arrangement and distinct sonority.

In all, it's a lovely album in my opinion. Apologize if 'lovely' seems an unsuitable description for this political, melancholic and gloomy album, but that's what comes to my mind while listening to this one.

BTW, the vocals sounds a little bit creak and plugged, but it doesn't disturb too much to the final result, after all this is still Robert Wyatt.

ShW1 | 3/5 |

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