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LAND OF COCKAYNE

The Soft Machine

Canterbury Scene


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The Soft Machine Land of Cockayne  album cover
2.97 | 86 ratings | 17 reviews | 10% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential


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Studio Album, released in 1981

Songs / Tracks Listing

Side 1:
1. Over 'n' above (7:24)
2. Lotus groves (4:57)
3. Isle of the blessed (1:56)
4. Panoramania (7:07)
5. Behind the crystal curtain (0:53)
Side 2:
6. Palace of glass (3:22)
7. Hot-biscuit Slim (7:27)
8. (Black) velvet mountain (5:10)
9. Sly monkey (5:00)
10. A lot of what you fancy... (0:35)

Total Time: 43:51

Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Jack Bruce / bass
- Stu Calver / backing vocals
- Alan Holdsworth / lead guitar
- Karl Jenkins / keyboards, synths
- John Marshall / drums, percussion
- Dick Morrissey / tenor sax
- Alan Parker / rhythm guitar
- John Perry / backing vocals
- Tony Rivers / backing vocals
- John Taylor / electric piano
- Ray Warleigh / alto sax, bass flute

Releases information

Lp. EMI Records EMC 3348 / Lp. EMI Records 07439
CD (S21 - 18936) 1996 CEMA Special Markets (One Way Records)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to ANDREW for the last updates
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THE SOFT MACHINE Land of Cockayne ratings distribution


2.97
(86 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(10%)
10%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(16%)
16%
Good, but non-essential (41%)
41%
Collectors/fans only (22%)
22%
Poor. Only for completionists (10%)
10%

THE SOFT MACHINE Land of Cockayne reviews


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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Folk
2 stars (last of a serie of eleven)

This one should have no business with that name and I think this was done out of contractual obligations (Harvest was a subdivision of EMI , and was not doing well). The fact that Jack Bruce (ex-Cream)and Morrissey(ex-If) are invited as members and the return of Holdsworth , they cannot manage to even begin to save the day. Vocals on Soft Machine album?????

I heard this only once and was not impressed enough to even borrow it from my buddy. Even the play on word of the title is weak. Best avoided! A sad end to superb band and there has not been a new album since ( all the posthumous releases date from far earlier than this album).

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Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#22114) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Review by greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This record contains a saxophone-oriented jazz/fusion music. It sounds a bit like Spyro Gyra. There are big names involved here: Allan Holdsworth on guitars and Jack Bruce on bass. Dick Morissey and Ray Warleigh are absolutely outstanding on saxophones: they are never dull! Jack Bruce gives a solid performance, producing a very punchy and complex bass sound. The floating keyboards are loud and the overall sound refreshes like a mint candy does in the mouth; the rhythmic and melodic keyboards (tons of electric piano) sound like the George Duke's work of the 70's. The drums are very well played and sophisticated. Here again, it is another complex and structured record for the jazz fan.

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Send comments to greenback (BETA) | Report this review (#22116) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Review by Dick Heath
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Jazz-Rock Specialist
1 stars It is debatable whether "Rubber Riff" or this album is the low point of Machine's recording career. Some people reckon this was a contractual obligations album for Harvest Records and other have suggested Karl Jenkins was attempting to produce a concept album? Whatever, it is not the Soft Machine in any one of its many modes heard in the previous ten years. Neither is it true progressive rock, rather inferior quality jazz fusion.

The presence of Jenkins, Allan Holdsworth, Jack Bruce and even Dick Morrisey (formerly of If and about to form the successful Morrissey-Mullen Band), in theory should make it a minor who's who of a recording. But is flops badly, hurt especially by plodding compositions on which the guests rarely sparkle in solos.

Avoid it or be disappointed.

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Posted Monday, April 19, 2004

Review by Zac M
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Take it for it what it is. That is what you need to be thinking as you listen to this album. This is only a Soft Machine album in name. There are really only two members of the band here, and they were not even original members. If you listen to this with an open mind and realize that this is primarily a Karl Jenkins and John Marshall collaboration with various guess stars (Allan Holdsworth, Dick Morissey, et al...), you might actually enjoy it. Now on to the review.

The album opens with a very riffy number entitled "Over 'n Above." It features a wonderful catchy sax part with a steady percussion (John Marshall) and bass line (Jack Bruce). Karl Jenkins decided to add background vocals and string parts where he is the conductor. The sax part is a highlight of this piece, although it is much smoother than in previous Softs releases. This is a very laid-back composition.

Next comes "Lotus Groves," a more new age style piece. This is probably the weakest composition on the whole album, although the keyboard parts are still excellent. However, the title is appropriate because the piece does have an ethnic feel to it.

"Isle of the Blessed", a purely classical composition in nature, serves as a marvelous introduction to what is IMO the highlight of the entire album, "Panoramania." It is an upbeat piece that starts out with a nice sax part by and incredible drumming by John Marshall with the string arrangements in the background. John Taylor then gets an incredible solo on the Fender Rhodes. The fist side ends with "Behind the Glass Curtain," again a more new age style piece featuring sax and keyboards.

Side two begins with "Palace of Glass," which continues in the new age realm of things, creating a soft and serene mood. "Hot Biscuit Slim" is extremely catchy and features yet another great sax part. Another new age sounding piece, "(Black) Velvet Mountain," is next. This and the next track are probably the only pieces where Holdsworth's presence is fully felt. On most of the other tracks, he seems to take a step back. The track continues on with yet another sax solo. "Sly Monkey" (the titles are getting a bit silly) has even more featured sax parts and another Holdsworth solo. By now the music starts to wear a liyyle thin and the pieces seem to all sound very similar even if that was not Jenkin's intention. The album closes with another short piece in the smooth laid-back jazz style, "' A Lot of What You Fancy...'"

Overall, this is a pretty good album. My main issues with it are that many of the compositions are similar in nature, and Holdsworth's presense is rarely felt like on "Expresso II." This is definitely not the place to start with the Softs. Although, for an avid fan of them or any smooth jazz, this a good album to listen to. Karl Jenkin's does a fine job as a composer on this album. 3 stars.

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Posted Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Review by Tom Ozric
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Another decent offering from a band who should've changed their name as soon as Mike Ratledge exited - (Jenkins-Marshall Project anyone ??). The music here is well performed by a host of great musicians from Jack Bruce (Bass), Allan Holdsworth (Guitar) to superb keyboardist John Taylor, who supports Karl Jenkins' background keys work wonderfully. One can discern the obvious Jazz vibe, a strong New-Age bent to some tracks (especially Lotus Groves), as well as light muzak. It really is an easy album to listen to, with high quality musicianship all-round, but Holdsworth's presence is relatively low-key, only shining on the excellent, complex track 'Sly Monkey', and the mellow 'Black Velvet Mountain'. 'Hot-Biscuit Slim' features some excellent Rhodes Electric Piano from Taylor, as does Panoramania, and the only weak point on the record would have to be the wistful and all-too-smooth opener 'Over and Above', but it's enjoyable regardless. 3 and-a-half-star effort.

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Posted Friday, December 01, 2006

Review by febus
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / In Memoriam
3 stars A DECENT ENDING OF THE SOFT MACHINE CAREER.

I don't really think of LAND OF COCKAYNE as a ''real'' SOFT MACHINE album as this is more of a JENKINS project with a little help of some friends, especially old SOFTIES alumnies. The always faithfull JOHN MARSHALL is back behind his kits, but we are witnessing a few surprises here. First of all, ALLAN HOLDSWORTH is back in the fold after only one album with the band BUNDLES. Also playing bass is no less..JACK BRUCE of CREAM fame!!! 2 saxophonists join their talents with RAY WARLEIGH who also was present on BUNDLES and ex-IF member DICK MORISSEY.

Yes, the name of the band is SOFT MACHINE, but i see no other reason than a shrewd marketing one to make the album more appealing commercially.Because if you are expecting another BUNDLES or another MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA cloning, you are dead wrong; This is -again- a totally- new SOFT MACHINE sound. LAND OF COCKAYNE is NOT a guitar album as the presence of ALLAN HOLDSWORTH is rather discreet on this recording. Also the saxophones are back in the front after their influence started to shrink with the SIX album to become completely non-existent on ALIVE AND WELL IN PARIS.

But we are not over with our surprises as there are now......backing vocals!!!on some tracks and let's not forget the presence of a string ensemble. So what do we get when you mix and shake hard all these ingredients?? a rather friendly listening jazz modern album. The musicianship is of course, as on any other SF album top notch and the musicians seem to have fun recording it. KARL JENKINS always compose admirably concise precise, well arranged tunes that don't leave much room for improvisation .Nobody is going to leave the building when listening to LAND OF COCAYNE contrary to FACELIFT or FLETCHER'S BLEMISH!

KARL JENKINS brings also new musical elements such as world music and new age, a path he will follow later with his own projects to great success like ADIEMUS. There is nothing crazy on this album, you even have some nice -even syrupy- tracks like the ballad BLACK VELVET MOUNTAIN which is the only 2 tracks that comes to my mind where i can really HOLDSWORTH guitar, and this is not a furious adventurous HOLDSWORTH either; more of a melodic ALLAN simply playing a cute theme. The next song SLY MONKEY is the other track where the presence of HOLDSWORTH is felt, but believe me, this is not HAZARD PROFILE!

The opening track OVER'n ABOVE, HOT BISCUIT SLIM or PANORAMIA are nice modern,very catchy jazz tunes where the sax prevails, but always in a very disciplined way,this is not ELTON DEAN! This is kind of easy listening jazz fusion, but very well arranged and well orchestrated, pleasant to the ear, but don't expect anything groundbreaking!

The real treat on LAND OF COCKAYNE is the masterful bass playing of JACK BRUCE; we knew for a long time he has never been the discreet guy and that his ego made sound his bass as loud as the guitar of CLAPTON in the good old CREAM days, a tendency he would pursue with WEST BRUCE & LAING and on his solo albums; but sometimes it's with good reason as he is is a formidable bassist and he definitely provides the goods on this album: he does an amazing job associated with JOHN MARSHALL. Speaking of MARSHALL another paricularity is for the first time since he joined SOFT MACHINE, he doesn't ''treat'' us with a percussion piece. I told you LAND OF COCKAYNE was not a 'real' SF album!! no drum solo, can you believeit?

LAND OF COCKAYNE is a good album, not a great one, more of a background music but with excellent musicianship, good compositions and great arrangements. A strange way to end the regular SOFT MACHINE carreer, a band with many surprises and so many twists. The only band that i know of changing musicians on each album ending their long storied career with absolutely no original members in the line-up.

3 STARS.

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Posted Sunday, September 09, 2007

Review by ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars Gosh !!! What is this ???

A combo of soft-pop jazzy rock music? Or muzak?probably.

By no means does this album represent the "Soft Machine" feel. Whether you liked it or not (you can easily determine my position in this respect).

When I was listening to the long and repetitive opening song, the only feeling that prevailed is pure boredom. "Over 'N' Above" is a total disaster as far as I am concerned. I am quite perplexed with this sort of album. None of the music in here can really belong to the Canterbury Style. Jazz-rock, probably. By no means of interest in my books.

I have reviewed all of their studio albums as a tribute to Febus's memory. We were really close from time to time (Floyd - but no Ummagumma - Tull, Yes), but really far during others (mainly "Genesis"). For sure, most of the "Soft Machine" works wouldn't have been a shared passion; Still, I have been lsitening quite patiently to each of their albums.

This one belongs the lower end of my rating for "Soft Machine". Two stars, no more.

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Posted Monday, November 29, 2010

Review by octopus-4
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team
4 stars The soft-jazz orchestral music of this album was misleading to me, as this has been my first Soft Machine album. I have to say that I liked it and I still like it very much, but it made difficult for me entering into the true Soft Machines, as Fourth was my second attempt and as many of you can easily understand they are two totally different things.

So let's forget for a while that they are the Soft Machine, or what remained of the band as elements like Wyatt and Allen were no longer in the lineup.

"Over And Above" opens the album with a Floydian guitar that after some passages becomes jazzy thanks to the sax and the slap on the bass (something absolutely not Floydian). A choir sings what can be considered the chorus, then it proceeds more or less in this way, giving room to short riffs of bass, sax and guitar. Easy maybe, but I really like it.

"Lotus Groves" is introduced by a bass harmonic and a gong. Then it becomes an electronic track, repetitive but short. Or better seems short but it's about 5 minutes. The fretless bass is the protagonist together with the bass flute that gives it a touch of "ambient".

"Isle Of The Blessed" is a short orchestral track suitable for a movie soundtrack. It's less than two minutes long but it can't be considered a filler. Nobody would write an orchestral arrangement for a filler. It's connected to the next track.

"Panoramania" is fusion. Rhythmic bass, funky drums and sax while the electric piano adds accents. One of the best album's things. There's a great piano solo in the second part.

A filler like "Behind The Glass Curtain" closes the A side.

"Palace Of Glass" opens the B-side. This is just the introduction to the amazing "Hot-Biscuit Slim" which I consider the best track. The two tracks are connected by a short but effective drums solo. The start is melodic, but the sax here is the most jazzy thing that can be found on this disc. Great bass and organ in the background. Excellent fusion.

"Black Velvet Mountain" is another slow orchestral moment on which the melody is carried on by strings until the guitar first, then sax come. There's a Wishbone Ash's song on Front Page News with a similar mood.

"Sky Monkey" is another jazz-fusion track based on sax and orchestra. Just a bit more jazz than the most jazzy parts of Camel's Rain Dances or Breathless. A great guitar solo, too.

The last 50 melodic seconds of "A Lot Of What You Fancy"....they can really be the Camel here.

A very good Jazz-rock album. Forget Robert Wyatt and Daevid Allen for a while and enjoy this album for what it is, instead of for what one can expect from Soft Machine.

4.5 stars

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Send comments to octopus-4 (BETA) | Report this review (#384112) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, January 21, 2011

Review by snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Last studio album,still having the right be named Soft Machine's work,was released five years ago, and Land Of Cockayne obviously attracted many old band's fans at the time of release. But main reaction on it's music was deep disappointment.

Looking from now, this album isn't so tragic,the main problem is it's not Soft Machine's album at all. No original band's members participated on this album, Karl Jenkins and John Marshall were both members of Soft Machine for some years,Allan Holdsworth collaborated on Bundles,but no one of them was artist,saving and developing original band's sound and artistic ideas.Even more,in fact the musicians collective,participated on recording,are Karl Jenkins (as Soft Machine trade mark owner) and session musicians ( besides of Allan Holdsworth there are Jack Bruce and known jazz keyboardist John Taylor between others).

Music on this album has nothing in common with any Soft Machine previous releases, so only way to listen this without prediction is just to forget about Soft Machine's name,placed on album's cover. It's business,baby... let's speak about music now.

Karl Jenkins,who came to Soft Machine one day as sax player and replacement for Elton Dean,but switched to keyboards later,continue with playing keyboards on this release as well. There are two guesting sax players,collaborating on recording,additional keyboardist,two guitarists, bassist, drummer and back-vocals section.Musically album is influenced by early 80-s fashion and contains melodic fusion,often simplified,sometimes with dance-able rhythms,in moments close to disco and new age,sometimes - openly jazzy or in pop-jazz radio friendly songs tradition. Sax player sound similar to Candy Dulfer with long catchy lyrical soloing over simplified straight forward songs structure. At the same time there are quite complex and interesting compositions,with jazzy keyboards and heavy fusion guitar soloing.In moments all music sounds as small orchestra's work,with neo-classical arrangements over openly pop-oriented songs.

All in all, the album is very eclectic, possibly one of the targets was to fulfill expectation of possibly wider circle of listeners.Musicians are really professional,musical material isn't so good, but not too bad remembering of the time's musical fashion.

Not an album for Soft Machine's real fans, but kind of average fusion recording from early 80-s.

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Send comments to snobb (BETA) | Report this review (#393476) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, February 03, 2011

Review by stefro
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars The tenth and final studio album - and the group's only official release of the 1980's - 'Land Of Cockayne' finds Soft Machine very much at the end of the line, creatively-exhausted and without a single original member in sight. Issued in 1981, 'Land Of Cockayne' finds ex-Nucleus member Karl Jenkins now taking charge, though by now all links to the group's Canterbury-forged jazz-fusion past have been more-or-less extinguished in favour of a slick new studio-polished approach that has more in common with The Alan Parsons Project than it does with Miles Davis. Indeed, 'Land Of Cockayne' has precious little in common with virtually all of Soft Machine's previous efforts, all ten of this album's compositions written and composed solely by Jenkins who, wrongly-or- rightly, seems intent on dragging his group kicking-and-screaming into the new decade. The results, then, are more than a little disconcerting, with the major bone of contention being that this sounds like a completely different group. Aided by a veritable war-chest of musical talent - 'Land Of Cockayne' features contributions from the likes of Jack Bruce(Cream), Allan Holdsworth(UK) and Dick Morrissey(If)to name but a few - 'Land Of Cockayne' is certainly not without it's moments, yet its all a far cry from the heady peaks of 'Third' and 'Six' and undoubtedly the group's weakest overall release. Some group's simply cannot transcend the era of their own conception and the suspicion remains that maybe Soft Machine simply weren't meant for the 1980's, their dense, hazy, psych-drenched fusion sound a product of a different time. With Disco, post-punk and synth-pop now the order the day, Soft Machine were all used up by 1981, with Jenkins best intentions merely serving to extend a musical lifeline that has nothing more to give. That said, 'Land Of Cockayne' is still far better than it ought to be - both album opener 'Over 'n' Above' and the clipped beats of 'Hot Biscuit Slim' manage to impress - yet Soft Machine's swansong still doesn't provide the finishing touch they truly deserved. Although their overall legacy remains unaffected - the first nine albums are all, in the own way, rather brilliant - album number ten provides a disappointing end to an otherwise fabulous career. STEFAN TURNER,

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Send comments to stefro (BETA) | Report this review (#848893) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, November 02, 2012

Latest members reviews

4 stars This, the final album recorded under the name Soft Machine, has been much maligned as being extraneous to the legacy of a band who forged a unique and truly progressive path through the late sixties and seventies. The truth of the matter is that it really is a Karl Jenkins project in all but n ... (read more)

Report this review (#298967) | Posted by beebfader | Monday, September 13, 2010 | Review Permanlink

2 stars O'Horror. This is the final Soft Machine album and they went out with barely a whimper. This album hardly have a single trace of Soft Machine DNA in it. The horrid opening track says it all. Nice violins and the horrible pop sound with violins from the 1970s surrounding a hopeless melody. T ... (read more)

Report this review (#260250) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Sunday, January 10, 2010 | Review Permanlink

5 stars i have heard all soft machine records. I bought only one this was (i think SIX) with the track the soft weed factor. But Land of cocaine is absolutly the best. The fantastic sax from Dick Morrisey with a laid back bass from Jack. Very relaxing album. Of course for he hard-core purists of the ea ... (read more)

Report this review (#39240) | Posted by kingcrimson04 | Tuesday, July 12, 2005 | Review Permanlink

3 stars I must of missed out on Alive and Well beacuse this album is not like Softs, but it's going in the Rubber Rift jingle section kind of.I just can't figure out this album is it soft jazz? Soft Rock? A bit confused but the album is a lukewarm complation of sorts. And look at the famous and unde ... (read more)

Report this review (#22119) | Posted by downtheroad25 | Tuesday, May 03, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars "Land of Cockayne" is faultless in my opinion. Wonderful musicianship, inspired content and so innovative you would think the band were from another planet and had never heard conventional music.I love it. If you have it on vinyl treat it with the respect you would afford the shroud of Turin. ... (read more)

Report this review (#22118) | Posted by | Wednesday, March 23, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This is one of my all time favourite records across every musical genre. Give me a sunny day, a Saab turbo and this album and I am in heaven. A laid back, chilled out gem. My world would be a duller place without Land Of Cockayne. SL ... (read more)

Report this review (#22115) | Posted by | Wednesday, February 11, 2004 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This was Soft Machine's final album, and one can hardly think of a grander way to end their career. "Land Of Cockayne" is a masterful jazz excursion with a mellow and sharp edge, and features the most brilliant playing of any Soft Machine effort. Perfect for late night listening, this sadly fo ... (read more)

Report this review (#22113) | Posted by | Friday, January 16, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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