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The Penguin Cafe Orchestra

Eclectic Prog

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The Penguin Cafe Orchestra Broadcasting From Home album cover
3.97 | 22 ratings | 2 reviews | 14% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1984

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Music for a found harmonium
2. Prelude and yodel
3. More milk
4. Sheep dip
5. White mischief
6. In the back of a taxi
7. Music by numbers
8. Another one from the colonies
9. Air
10. Heartwind
11. Isle of view (music for helicopter pilots)
12. Now nothing

Line-up / Musicians

Simon Jeffes - Guitar, Piano, Harmonium, various other instruments
Kuma Harada - Bass
Steve Nye - Keyboards
Mike Giles - Drums
Gavyn Wright - Violin
Marcus Beale - Violin
Geoffrey Richardson - Viola
Helen Liebmann - Cello
Neil Rennie - Ukelele
Dave Defries - Trumpet, Flugelhorn
Annie Whitehead - Trombone
Trevor Morais - Percussion

Releases information

E.G. Records / JEM / Virgin

Thanks to clarke2001 for the addition
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THE PENGUIN CAFE ORCHESTRA Broadcasting From Home ratings distribution

(22 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(14%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(64%)
Good, but non-essential (23%)
Collectors/fans only (0%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

THE PENGUIN CAFE ORCHESTRA Broadcasting From Home reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
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

Review by Matti
4 stars Ever heard of this band? It's nothing less than one of the most boundary-free musical visions of the last 50 years, and its instrumental music is simply impossible to pigeonhole into one specific genre. Is it chamber jazz? Is it neo-classical? New Age or Ambient? World Music? Folk? It is everything of those, and none especially, thus deserving the tag Eclectic Prog. PCO made five studio albums between 1976 and 1993. The leader, composer and multi-instrumentalist Simon Jeffes died of brain tumor in 1997. Instead of being criminally unknown, he should be remembered as a great musical individualist, like a Brian Eno coming from the world of Art Music. In ProgArchives this is only the seventh review for PCO. Is it a rare case of "best kept secret" or just music that fails to raise strong interest among progheads? Again, I think the answer lies somewhere in-between.

This third studio album is the the only one I've heard entirely. As well I could have chosen the compilation titled Brief History, the other cd I borrowed from a library in 2012. I have to admit, I haven't listened to my homemade disc very often. Now that I do, I can only wonder why is it so. It's not over-intelligent or dryly academic music for which is hard to find a suitable mood. The overall atmosphere is rather calm and relaxed, with equal measures of fresh playfulness and thoughtful intimacy. Simon Jeffes' piano, guitar and harmonium (etc.) are accompanied by violin, viola and cello, plus the pop-oriented set and some more unusual, folky instruments such as ukelele. The allmusic review says that brass was used for the first time on this PCO album which was recorded over three years' time.

I'm not going into track-by-track details. I sincerely hope that you who aren't already aware of PCO will find out yourself how this charming mixture of chamber music, modern European chamber jazz, ambientish approach and World-flavoured pop will appeal to your taste. For further references I could drop names like Jade Warrior, Brian Eno (& David Byrne), Gavin Bryars, Flairck, Anthony Phillips, Eberhard Weber, Arild Andersen. The next time you spot an album cover featuring peculiar penguin-people... Get it!

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