Landscape were an English fusion-turned-synthpop band that released two self-pressed EPs in 1977/78, followed by three albums on RCA between 1979 and 1982. Between their first two albums, they evolved from instrumental jazz-funk to the comedic electro/art-rock of their 1981 release From the Tea-rooms of Mars… to the Hell-holes of Uranus, which spawned the hits “Einstein a Go-Go,” “European Man,” and “Norman Bates.” They were guided by musician, producer and ex-Easy Street drummer Richard James Burgess, who achieved further renown as co-developer of the Simmons drum synthesizer.
Members: Richard James Burgess (lead vocals, drums, programming, keyboards), Andy Pask (vocals, bass, keyboards), Christopher Heaton (keyboards, vocals), John L. Walters (Lyricon, saxophone, keyboards, programming, flute, vocals), Peter Thoms (trombone, vocals)
Landscape formed in the mid-1970s as a jazz-rock quintet, comprised of drummer Richard James Burgess, bassist Andy Pask, keyboardist Christopher Heaton, reedist John Walters, and trombonist Peter Thoms.
Burgess was fresh off a two-album stint with pop-rockers Easy Street, which issued the acclaimed 1976/77 albums Easy Street and Under the Glass, the first featuring contributions from Thoms (“Shadows On the Wall”) and Heaton (“Easy Street”). Burgess also guested on 1977 albums by Charlie (No Second Chance) and Tony Visconti (Visconti’s Inventory). Earlier in his career, he played with New Zealand jazz-rockers Quincy Conserve.
Thoms, a sessionist, played on 1976/77 albums by funksters the J.A.L.N. Band and folksters The Sandpipers.
In 1977, Landscape established Event Horizon Enterprises (EHE) and issued their first maxi-single, the 33 RMP 7″ U2XME1X2MUCH. It features three songs: “U2XME1X2MUCH” (6:40), “Don’t Gimme No Rebop” (3:40), and “Sixteen” (5:30). All three tracks were recorded live in London, July 1977, with no overdubs.
“U2XME1X2MUCH” features bleating electronic sax/trombone across a brisk four-down beat, which eventually loosens with hi-hat slides and syncopation. Heaten plays a sputtering analogue synth solo in the middle. “Don’t Gimme No Rebop” has interweaving electronic brass over a jumpy beat, inter-cut with rapidfire tom rolls. “Sixteen,” a quieter number, revels in languid basslines and sparkly electric piano runs.
Stylistically, U2XME1X2MUCH crosses the refined, smoky ambience of late-period Soft Machine with echoes of the Canterbury school (The Muffins in particular). At times, the first two numbers have a punkish feel with their fast, pounding tempos and unbridled energy, mirroring London club contemporaries Burlesque, who also mixed elements of punk and jazz on two 1977 albums.
- U2XME1X2MUCH (EP, 1977)
- Worker’s Playtime (EP, 1978)
- Landscape (1979)
- From the Tea-rooms of Mars… to the Hell-holes of Uranus (1981)
- Manhattan Boogie-Woogie (1982)
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