Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Obscure and deliciously weird
k-e-v | England | 07/19/2001
(3 out of 5 stars)
"From The Tea Rooms of Mars was the first vinyl album I ever bought, way back in 1981. I was eleven then - so I must have saved up my pocket money for several weeks to get it. For that reason I'm rather sentimental about this album. The CD listed here at Amazon actually contains two albums - From The Tea Rooms of Mars (tracks 1-14) and a separate album entitled Landscape (tracks 15-24). It's the former I'm reviewing here.This album was born of a time when the synthesiser was a brand new invention. Indeed, Tea Rooms seems to have been a brave and tentative foray into the possibilities of electronically-generated music. The cover sleeve lists all the 'instruments' played by the band members - apart from Peter Thoms' trombone its all wind synthesisers, vocoders, modulators and various other pieces of electronic paraphernalia. Suffice to say that the album has a very 'electronic' sound - not unlike some of Kraftwerk's early output.Unfortunately the album is a little bit patchy. The first three tracks are great, but tracks 4-7 aren't particularly remarkable. However, things get really weird and wonderful on side 2 of the album, with tracks 8-14 definitely being the strongest. As far as I know, Einstein A Go-Go was the only single release from the album, probably because it's the least weird and most catchy. Underpinned by a seriously addictive lead synth melody, Einstein A Go-Go is a fantastic piece of embryonic electro-pop. The other two standouts are Norman Bates and The Doll's House, the former having an appropriately menacing aura about it, and the latter being some freakish experiment to put a night terror to music. At least I think that's what its meant to be.Tea Rooms should have been a landmark album but alas the passing of time has shoved it thoroughly into the realms of obscurity. Likewise, Landscape themselves did an equally convincing disappearing act. Andy Pask went on to co-write the original theme music to ITV's The Bill but hasn't been heard of since. Richard Burgess went on to achieve some success as a producer. Incidentally, Burgess was one of the people responsible for introducing Kate Bush to the Fairlight synthesiser, which she used to awesome effect in three ground-breaking albums. For that alone, Landscape deserve a nod of recognition."
Emphatic BUY IT! and Corrections to Previous Review
Christopher Watson | San Diego, CA USA | 05/02/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I, too, purchased "From the Tea-Rooms of Mars...To the Hell-Holes of Uranus" back in 1981 as a new release. I was very much into the New Romantic movement (still am, actually), and had read at one point that Landscape could easily be construed as being a part of that genre. So I found the record in the Tower Records on Columbus in San Francisco, bought it, took it home, and it didn't leave my turntable for about a week. Without a doubt, one of the most wonderful and beautiful electronic dance recordings of the time. Richard James Burgess was a production genius, and a damn good drummer. His electro-beats (on prototype Simmons gear) drive this whole album. In my opinion, there isn't a low point on this LP. The second half of this particular CD, however, also includes Landscape's first full-length album, which was self-titled. Although noteworthy for its unique content in the context of the time, it's nowhere near as electronically based as "Tea-Rooms". The track "Japan" is about as close as you get to what was to come with the follow-up album. But "Tea-Rooms" is the real value of this CD. Incidentally, the previous reviewer was unaware that there were actually three singles releases from the "Tea-Rooms" LP: "Einstein A Go-Go" (which he mentioned), "European Man" (which was actually the first), and "Norman Bates" (which does not include the psycho-analysis voiceover at the end which we hear on the LP version). I have every piece of Landscape vinyl in my collection, so I'm well-versed in what was released. And speaking of releases, it should also be noted that "Tea-Rooms" is due to be re-released, on its own, in the US on May 14, 2002, with some bonus tracks that stretch the Landscape history into the "Manhattan Boogie-Woogie" and "Landscape III" eras."