Throw the Cocoon’s lone album While the Recording Engineer Sleeps into a computer and your software will classify it as “Jazz”. In truth, The Cocoon are jazz in the same way that the Soft Machine were jazz, i.e. more in spirit than anything else. While the Recording Engineer Sleeps was recorded in 1985 and didn’t see release until 1989, but it sounds like a perfectly preserved ‘60s art pop artifact with only vibraphonist/reedist Gunter Hampel’s presence to lend it any “jazz” credentials. Traces of the Velvet Underground can be detected in “I Can See Voices” while “The Ritual of the Boogie Transformation” escorts a bull through a china shop by way of Public Image Limited. In between are hints of something along the lines of the Soft Boys and Beggars Banquet-era the Fall. This copious amount of name-dropping isn’t to suggest that the Cocoon were overly derivative, rather to illustrate that their brand of weird jazz-pop was something rarely approached. Normally, about a debut album I’d say “Let’s see what happens next!”, but the Cocoon has already splintered into many directions ever since. It would have been interesting, to say the least, to see where they could have taken this whole thing. At least we have While the Recording Engineer Sleeps safely preserved for the moment.
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