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Robert Wyatt - Cuckooland CD (album) cover


Robert Wyatt


Canterbury Scene

3.52 | 85 ratings

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Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Business as usual, yet still sounding fresh and stimulating: that's a proper way to describe the musical essence of Robert Wyatt's "Cuckooland" in a few words, without wasting too much breath or ink. Following in the same path of introspectiveness that had been so magically stated in his "Dondestan" album, "Cuckooland" offers a more abundant and exuberant instrumentation, even more than on the preceding album "Shleep". Wyatt himself puts himself in charge of trumpet and cornet with unhidden enthusiasm and sufficient skill, in addition to his usual vocal / drumkit / piano / percussion duties. Of course, when it comes to Wyatt's stuff, the use and arrangement of adornments does not translate into pomposity - Wyatt's writing style remains the same, that is, upon the basic harmonization of a few basic chords that serve as a foundation for the compositions, the twists and added musical colours that get developed along the way provide a clever use of juxtaposed textures and inventive leads - either on guitar or wind instruments - that keep themselves constrained enough lest the introspective solemnity gets broken. Lifelong partners Brian Eno and Jamie Johnson and good old friend David Gilmour are among the relatively long list of illustrious collaborators for this album. Each individual piece in "Cuckooland" is an excellent example of joint painting shared by the involved musicians, all of them committed to a comprehension of what Wyatt is trying to say. Even though the repertoire is divided into two sections [respectively titled 'nor here..' and 'neither there'] but the listener should take this scheme as a chair in the middle of an exposure room, just a place to rest for a few seconds; the material is patently cohesive all the way from the opening track to the closing one. I don't really have a fave track from this album, since it is designed to be enjoyed as a fluid whole, but I will mention some numbers that call most of my attention every time I listen to this recording: among the more extroverted songs - 'Beware' and 'Trickle Down'; among the more melancholic ones - 'Forest', 'Lullaby for Hamza', 'La Ahada Yalam'; among the more ethereal ones - 'Just a bit', 'Tom Hay's Fox', 'Cuckoo Madame', 'Brian the Fox'. Always a sucker for Latin American Creole folklore, Wyatt includes a lovely cover of the bolero 'Insensatez', preserving its romantic nuances while re-accommodating it into his jazz-oriented introspective guidelines. In conclusion, this is a very exquisite item, especially recommended for prog lovers with jazz sensibilities - its delicacy is very demanding, it compels the listener to focus their attention on it 100 % so the experience may be properly rewarding.
Cesar Inca | 4/5 |


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