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Robert Wyatt - Cuckooland CD (album) cover

CUCKOOLAND

Robert Wyatt

 

Canterbury Scene

3.52 | 76 ratings

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UMUR
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "Cuckooland" is the 7th full-length studio album by UK progressive/experimental rock artist Robert Wyatt. The album was released through Hannibal/Rykodisc in October 2003. "Cuckooland" is a rather ambitiuos 75:19 minutes long affair seperated in two parts by 30 seconds of silence. There doesn┤t seem to be an overall concept to the album though and why it┤s seperated in two parts is a bit of a mystery to me unless the intent is literally what Robert Wyatt says on the back cover: "A suitable place for those with tired ears to pause and resume listening later". It┤s of course very considerate of him to care about the listeners tired ears but the pause does seem a bit odd to me.

Besides the odd pause which I suspect is some kind of joke there┤s really not much to laugh about on "Cuckooland" when it comes to the mood/atmosphere on the album. Robert Wyatt┤s music has always been melancholic yet with a humourous twist. That humourous twist is completely gone on "Cuckooland" and it┤s replaced by bleak melancholy. The lyrics are extemely dark. Listen to tracks like "Forest" with lyrics about a forgotten Nazi death camp in the Czech Republic which was designed to exterminate Gypsies or how about a track like "Lullaby for Hamza" with lyrics about giving birth in Baghdad while the American bombs are falling and subsequently having to feed your children valium to get them to sleep at night. What a wonderful world we live in! I┤ve never heard Robert Wyatt this gloomy before and while I enjoy his humour very much I actually enjoy this more serious and dark side of him equally much.

Deeply melancholic or not the music is unmistakably the sound of Robert Wyatt. Lots of atmospheric keyboards/synths/percussion/trumpet/cornet by Robert Wyatt in addition to his fragile and distinct sounding vocal style. Robert Wyatt is joined on vocals by Karen Mantler on a couple of tracks which provides the album with some variation in the vocal department. There are also the usual jazzy parts on the album with brass arrangements. Brian Eno, David Gilmour and Phil Manzanera are the most prominant guests on the album but when you listen to this album there is no doubt that it┤s Robert Wyatt that is the star. He is just incredibly talented and approach writing and playing music in a very unique fashion.

The sound production is more clean sounding than anything Robert Wyatt has done before. I noticed the use of more contemporary synths on "Cuckooland" than on his earlier output which is something I think suits the sound on this album very well. "Cuckooland" is all in all a brilliant album release by Robert Wyatt and most definitely a more interesting release than it┤s predecessor "Shleep (1997)". If you want to experience Robert Wyatt at his most serious and melancholic, "Cuckooland" is recommended. A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.

UMUR | 4/5 |

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