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

BROADCASTING FROM HOME

The Penguin Cafe Orchestra

 

Eclectic Prog

3.94 | 16 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Matti
Prog Reviewer
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!

Matti | 4/5 |

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