Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Almost like a second Brand X album
BENJAMIN MILER | Veneta, Oregon | 02/09/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Moroccan Roll is Brand X's official second album, but you can call Marscape by Jack Lancaster & Robin Lumley the second Brand X album. Why? Well all Brand X members are here: Lumley, of course, John Goodsall, Percy Jones, Morris Pert, and Phil Collins. Not to mention ex-Blodwyn Pig member Jack Lancaster who handles the wind instruments including sax and Lyricon (an electronic wind instrument common to the mid 1970s). This album was recorded after Unorthodox Behaviour and before Moroccan Roll (some sources say Marscape was recorded before Unorthodox Behaviour, which is incorrect, as this album was recorded in the summer of '76, and Unorthodox Behaviour was recorded in the fall of '75). Marscape was actually released on the RSO label, Robert Stigwood's label that gave us the Bee Gees and most of Eric Clapton's '70s works, making Marscape the only album on the RSO label I know of interest to prog rock fans (Brand X albums were released on Charisma in the UK and Passport in the US). Marscape differs a bit from proper Brand X albums as the music is a bit more progressive and less fusiony and the music has much more stark contrasts to one another. One song might be quite aggressive, the next one is quite gentle with a spacy atmosphere that makes you think of the desolate Mars landscape. Some of the cuts also feature some great piano work, something I don't notice quite so much on Brand X albums. Robin Lumley's Moog style had also improved quite a bit over Unorthodox Behaviour, in fact it's that same style he'll be using on Moroccan Roll and Livestock. One song worth mentioning is "Hopper", which is a rather cheesy, but fun number using synth bass patterns and basically jamming over it, yet I find that one of the more fascinating cuts on the album, even if it's pretty simple. A couple other cuts actually have an Oriental bent to it thanks to the presence of bamboo flute and a certain Simon Jeffes playing Koto. So if you're a Brand X fan, if you're a Genesis fan (because Phil Collins is on this album), make sure you add Marscape to your collection."
Jazz meets Progressive Rock
doofus | IndiaNoPlace, USA | 02/04/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Jack Lancaster (of Blodwyn Pig fame - if you can call that fame) combines talents with Robin Lumley to produce a great instrumental concept album. Unlike a lot of modern music intended to represent a concept, this music is very visual. Like the way many classical composers painted musical pictures, the musicians here have made this feel like a trip to Mars. Lancaster's jazz leanings combined with Lumley's rock keyboards (and Phil Collins energetic drumming) make this one of my favorite recordings of all time. If you like progessive rock with jazz leanings, pick this one up!"
A Stellar Jazz/Rock Tone Poem by Brand X Members
Steven P. Tidwell | Raleigh, North Carolina United States | 03/09/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The recording of this little known wonder is apparently where Brand X was born; all the original Brand X member (including Phil Collins) first played together here, and not surprisingly they sound much like Brand X. Released almost simultanously with Brand X's first LP "Unorthodox Behavior"--but not under the Brand X name--"Marscape" was overshadowed by the other work and was all but ignored, quickly winding up in the cut-out bin, before vanishing altogether. Though orphaned, "Marscape" should appeal not only to fans of Brand X and other fusion musicians, but also to those who love episodic symphonic works such as Moussorsky's "Pictures At An Exhibition". The underlying concept of "Marscape" is a journey from Earth to Mars, so the music is highly episodic, though one leitmotif appears in several pieces. The mood ranges from contemplative and lyrical to all out frenetic fortissimo fury in "Olympus Mons", which sounds as savage as its subject, the largest volcano in the solar system. The titles aptly convey the tone of each piece, as in the amusing "Hopper" and "Blowholes (The Pipes of Mars)". Not only are the compositions superior, so is the musicianship (Phil Collins, for instance, sticks to just drumming and turns in some of his best work here). This is an overlooked masterpiece and one well worth tracking down."