Robert Wyatt | REWIGLP47X | Released: 23/10/11
Cuckooland is a subtle, eclectic, evocative record of beauty and true originality, deriving its inspiration from jazz, diverse music and cultures from around the world, politics, human relations, hopes and fears. It is a finely-crafted collection of truly modern music and is unmistakeably Robert Wyatt. Also includes guest appearances from Paul Weller, Brian Eno, Dave Gilmour and Phil Manzanera.
Wyatt, on typically modest form in the liner notes to Cuckooland, insisted his voice was now "reduced to a wino's mutter". Possibly as beautiful and assuredly restrained as anything he has done, Cuckooland stands at 75 minutes, Wyatt’s longest work to date. After Brian Eno expressed concern about its length, Wyatt placed a half-minute break in the middle so people could go and put the kettle on. Such sentiments suggest cosiness. But in amongst its light-as-a feather brushstrokes and Wyatt’s own muted trumpet playing, is an ire and barely contained anger both at our inability to be humanitarian and the follies that get carried out in that word’s name.
Now into his fifth decade of recording, Wyatt had done whatever is the polar opposite of mellowing. Hearing Wyatt combine such inspirational common sense thinking, with what was now his trademark intuitively baleful voice and beguiling arrangements, was to hear an artist at the height of their powers.