ALBUM OF THE WEEK
Landscape – Landscape A Go-Go (Cooking Vinyl)
Diving into the story behind Landscape, more than 40 years on, fires up a few trains of thought. Looking at in from one way, the London electronic experimenters offer a cautionary tale about how difficult it is to genuinely push against the grain and not concede to the demands of a music industry which is arguably more fickle today than it was in 1975. From another angle, the narrative reinforces the importance of sticking to guns, no matter how adverse the results may look, and eventually reaping the rewards. Ultimately, though, it’s probably mostly about the importance of technology in the evolution of music itself.
Speaking on behalf of the common conscious, Landscape may not be the first word in synth pop on your lips. Nevertheless, their transition into a then-nascent genre produced two iconic tracks of the early 1980s scene, ‘Einstein A Go-Go’ and ‘Norman Bates’. Taken from their critically acclaimed second album, From The Tea-Rooms of Mars… to the Hell-Holes of Uranus, both songs, and the full album, appear on this huge retrospective box set — the LP in expanded form. Both tunes will be recognisable, even if you didn’t know you knew the group, but despite that each could be described as utterly, incomparably eccentric. Which gives some clue as to where they really came from.
Cooking Vinyl’s ode to this glorious and largely overlooked history spans a whopping 84 remastered tracks, including 52 available on CD for the very first time, 22 of which have never been released before. It begins roughly at the beginning, with the self-titled debut album dominating disc one. Opening on ‘Japan’, while there’s definitely an argument for labels like jazz-funk, the tune is cast in a kind of video game futurist sheen. Throughout the first chapter similar ideas come to mind, notes either want to seduce us in the bathtub or play directly into prevailing winds of the future.