Marscape is, effectively, a prequel to the early Brand X albums. It’s the Robin Lumley and Jack Lancaster input to Unorthodox Behaviour and Moroccan Roll. If you pay attention, you can hear all four permanent members of the 1970s line-up of Brand X in this Marscape; some of the tunes were carried over to the Brand X albums, too.

It’s no secret that Brand X was one of my all-time favourite bands, and this Lumley/Lancaster collaboration is every bit as good. Given the two musicians’ extensive background, perhaps that’s not surprising. Robin Lumley has contributed keyboards and production skills to David Bowie, Rod Argent, Bill Bruford, Graeme Edge (of the Moody Blues) and Gary Brooker (of Procol Harum). Jack Lancaster’s CV is even more impressive; he has blown all kinds of wind instruments with Jethro Tull alumni Mick Abrahams and Clive Bunker, Gray Moore and Bill Bruford (in The Soul Searchers), Anthony Phillips, Hans Zimmer, Stéphane Grappelli, Brian Eno, Vangelis, and others.

Here’s a recently remastered version of the album on Spotify:

That version is also on YouTube.

Like the Brand X products that came later, Marscape is teeming with fascinating life. But, disappointingly, there don’t seem to be any little green men there.

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