Jack Lancaster & Robin Lumley — Marscape
(Ozone OZ005-2, 1976/1993, CD)
by Mike Ohman, Published 1994-10-01
Lancaster is the former sax player in Blodwyn Pig, but this album is better-known for its side-players: Robin Lumley, John Goodsall, Percy Jones, Phil Collins, Morris Pert... in short, Brand X! Fans of Brand X actively search out this album expecting a pre-Brand X Brand X album. Well, yes and no. One can certainly hear the Brand X style in embryonic form on some songs, but we must remember, this is really Lancaster's show. Lancaster primarily plays sax, but he also plays a lot of Lyricon, an early wind synthesizer. Sometimes, it's hard to tell which synth lines were played by Lumley or Lancaster, although others have a definite "reedy" quality to their sound (i.e., you can tell by the phrasing that the notes came out of a wind instrument and not a keyboard). Other guest appearances include Penguin Cafe Orchestra mainstay Simon Jeffes on koto, while vocalist Bernie Frost graces some songs with his eerie falsetto, though none of the songs has any lyrics. The songs fall into two distinct categories: 1) Soft and atmospheric with gentle melodies expressed on sax/Lyricon/flute backed by Lumley's keyboards (usually piano) and 2) Jazz-fusion somewhat in the Mahavishnu mold with prominent sax and energetic rock backing. The latter passages are those which will be of greatest interest to Brand X fans, Percy Jones' distinctive bass playing being most prominent. One can't help but wonder if the program music on this album was perhaps originally intended to be a soundtrack of some sort. Worth getting if you know what to expect.
Soft Machine Set to Release New Music – It's been 50 years since The Soft Machine changed the face of music with their first album. Their blend of psychedelic rock and jazz was unique, and while the band went through many changes before disbanding in 1981 — by which time there were no original members remaining — they remained an innovative force with a style all their own. » Read more
7d Surfaces Happy Rhodes Back Catalog – We've covered singer Happy Rhodes before, both for her solo work and recently with The Security Project, but her 11 albums have been hard to track down. Until now. 7d features high-quality downloads of all her releases, and several of them are also available on CD. » Read more
Fred Chalenor RIP – We have news of another sad passing in the world of creative music. Bassist Fred Chalenor, whose creativity featured on albums by Tone Dogs, Caveman Shoestore, and many more, died on June 23, 2018 after a long battle with Alzheimer's. Tributes have poured in from the many musicians and fans whose lives he touched. » Read more
Various Artists - Electroacoustic Music Vol.1 - Russia 1997, Disc 1 & 2 – Interestingly enough, this excellent – what should be a 2CD set – is packaged as two separate discs with almost identical covers. Only the careful eye will note the small red "Disc... (1999) » Read more