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The Penguin Cafe Orchestra - Broadcasting From Home CD (album) cover


The Penguin Cafe Orchestra


Eclectic Prog

3.97 | 20 ratings

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4 stars The Penguin Cafe Orchestra is as eclectic as prog gets, way beyond the usual parameters of the genre, far removed from bubbly Moog runs, blistering Rickenbacker bass rumbles, laser-guided electric guitar solos and thrashing Hammond organ. Quite the opposite, PCO was formed in that glorious period of 1973, when music from all genres were actively incorporated into the progressive fold, a laboratory of incredible adventure (and stamina) , still ear-friendly in the 21st Century. Not really surprising as the classically trained young 70s musicians flocked to the Rock idiom en masse, wanting to be part of this youthful exuberant cultural movement that had taken over the artistic world. Simon Jeffes was a gifted composer, arranger and multi-instrumentalist who wished to put into music the dreams he slept through, very much in a neo-classical mode using an array of stringed instruments (violin, viola, cello) as well as the rare and bizarre such as Harmonium, Spinet, Ukulele, Cuatro, Soloban, Dulcitone, Omnichord etc'.....

Simon Jeffes led the PCO on many sessions with artists as varied as Bob Geldof, Jeff Beck, Caravan, as well as providing a slew of soundtracks for various media projects. Steve Nye on piano was a regular contributor as well as the legendary Caravan man Geoffrey Richardson (viola, guitar, bass, shaker, penny whistle) as well as drummers Mike Giles of KC fame and Trevor Morais of Quantum Jump/Rupert Hine.

The music lies somewhere afield of Anthony Phillips, directly south of John G. Perry's solo work on which Jeffes guested rather brilliantly. An all-instrumental album of brief yet vivid pieces, 'Broadcasting From Home' is a sheer delight to wade through, especially if the listener is okay without the usual electric powerfuses and into a more acoustic environment. And as with Canterbury and the British jazz-rock scene, there is more of that sassy tongue in cheek humor with funny titles like 'Sheep Dip', 'More Milk', 'Prelude & Yodel', 'Now Nothing' and that perennial favorite 'In the Back of a Taxi', among many others. Every track is a raw, unpolished nugget of genius, extremely original and completely devoid of plagiarism of any kind, boldly forging a new kind of prog where no one had dared yet to venture. In this, the PCO remains a distinct anomaly of surreal proportions, much to the delight of prog adventurers looking for a new fix. Much more cinematic (and complex) than ambient electronic , more influential than soundtrack music for film, the PCO is the last frontier before entering the outright classical world of the great composers and thus deserves immense praise for its artistic vision as well as the legacy of a British prog scene always on the lookout for the odd and bold. Sadly, Simon died in 1997 of a brain tumor. His dreams and his music lives on.

4.5 domicile tuxedoes

tszirmay | 4/5 |


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