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Penguin Cafe: A Matter Of Life [CD]

Penguin Cafe Orchestra Audio CD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
Price: £15.00 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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One day in the early 1970's, English composer Simon Jeffes was in the South of France, suffering from a terrible bout of food poisoning. He had a series of feverish waking dreams featuring a dystopian view of the near future, where all was grey and concrete.

People lived in huge grey blocks and one could see into the windows. In one room a couple was making love soundlessly and ... Read more in Amazon's Penguin Cafe Orchestra Store

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for 20 albums, 6 photos, discussions, and more.

Frequently Bought Together

Penguin Cafe: A Matter Of Life + Jeffes: The Red Book [Neil Codling, Cass Browne, Darren Berry, Rebecca Waterworth] [Penguin Café: DPC104] + A History
Price For All Three: £47.11

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Product details

  • Audio CD (31 Jan 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Penguin Cafe
  • ASIN: B004IJ66LG
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 26,971 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song TitleArtist Time Price
Listen  1. That, Not ThatPenguin Café 4:20£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  2. LandauPenguin Café and Kathryn Tickell 4:59£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  3. SundogPenguin Café 2:29£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  4. The Fox and the LeopardPenguin Café 2:57£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  5. FinlandPenguin Café 4:54£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  6. Pale Peach JukeboxPenguin Café 4:58£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  7. Harry PiersPenguin Café 4:54£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  8. Two Beans ShakerPenguin Café 1:58£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  9. From a Blue TemplePenguin Café 8:37£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen10. Ghost in the PondPenguin Café 4:09£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen11. CoriolisPenguin Café 2:02£0.79  Buy MP3 

Product Description


Penguin Cafe continues to occupy a unique place in music: nothing else has ever sounded quite like it. Eccentric, charming, accommodating, surprising, seductive, warm, reliable, modest and unforgettable: its a true friend. --(Brian Eno)

Arthur Jeffes has a difficult problem.He will always be compared to his brilliant and wildly original father,especially as he has bravely set out to continue his dad's musical tradition.with the Penguin Cafe Orchestra,Simon Jeffes created some of the most unusual and delightful music of the last 40 years,an "imaginary folk" style that mixed classical and global influences with the patterns and repetition of systems music,with predictably quirky instrumentation.With his Music from the Penguin Cafe band he has recorded an album of his own compositions in much the same style. These Penguins are at the best when the instrumentation is more experimental.There's rousing cuatro work on the atmospheric, Latin influenced Pale Peach Jukebox,upbeat ukelule playing on Two Beans Shaker,and a fine blend of Kathryn Tickell Northumbrian pipes and piano on Landau. *** --The Guardian,28/01/11

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
34 of 34 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A welcome return to an old name 3 Feb 2011
By The Soft Machine Operator TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
I was a big fan of the Penguin Cafe Orchestra, and bought this knowing that it was not the same band, but a band of new musicians led by Arthuer Jeffes. However, from the first track, it's like an old friend returning. It's all there: the jaunty rythmns, changes in key, mournful strings and minimal percussion. Occasionally, I did feel it sounded a bit too forced, and really would have loved to have heard some folks like Geoffrey Richardson on there, and maybe a bit variety in the instrumentation (Too much piano!), but it's Jeffes' legacy now and it appears to be in good hands. A joy from start to finish, and essential for any fans of the Penguin Cafe Ochestra. It's great to see it back open for business, and let's hope there's more where this came from!
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Music Matters. 20 Feb 2011
By Mr. B. A. D. Plowman VINE VOICE
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Mr. Soft Machine's review has summed up this release and the whole ethos of Penguin Cafe in a very concise manner. Hats off! Therefore, I will keep this review brief.

Listening to this wonderful album right now, I am bowled over by its consistently gorgeous melodies. Tunes such as "Landau", "Harry Piers" and "From a Blue Temple" are taking my soul to such lofty heights. Simon Jeffes would be very proud I'm sure of what his son Arthur and his dazzlingly talented group have created here.

Simply, listening to "A Matter Of Life" frequently induces the same amount of euphoria within me that the original Penguin Cafe Orchestra were so often capable of raising. I can think of no higher praise than that!

Buy this and give your spirits a guaranteed musical lift.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Familiar but different 25 Feb 2011
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Mr Soft Machine and Brendan have basically said all I want to say but thought I would chip in anyway. It is familiar to those who know the Penguin Cafe Orchestra - but also different as there are some new musical influences in there. I saw the Penguin Cafe in concert this week and it was fantastic. And lovely. Arthur Jeffes is a top bloke and was even a bit emotional at one point talking about his father. A nice group of people who all looked as though they were thoroughly enjoying themselves (apart from one of the ukelele players who was trying the moody look but just ended up looking bored!). My favourite tracks are the first two and Pale Peach Jukebox and Harry Piers (which Arthur wrote for his father's memorial service). But the whole album is really good
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Welcome back to the Cafe :-) 19 April 2011
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
well, this is a real bonus ! When Simon Jeffes very sadly passed away in 1997 I thought we'd hear no more new Penguin Cafe music and indeed, all has been quiet for a long time.. But thank goodness his son Arthur has thrown open the doors to the cafe and is creating some fabulous music that while being similar in many ways to his father's stuff has enough of his own personality to take it forward. When playing this I was immediately back in the world of the PCO - all the elements are there, piano, cuatro, strings percussion etc .. in feel it reminded me more of the PCO earlier albums such as Broadcasting from Home than later albums- no bad thing. To summarise- if you liked the original Penguin cafe Orchestra you can buy this with confidence. I think Simon Jeffes would be very proud of his sons new album, not only keeping the PCO spirit alive but moving it forward :-)
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars is, is not 9 Mar 2011
Format:Audio CD
I bought this without having heard a note from it. I was a bit worried that it wouldn't stand up to the wonderful past works of The PCO....but...it really does. And on its own 2 feet! The quirky Penguin style is still there; playing with time signatures, shifting rounds, different world music influences, and instrument combinations. There are a few musical nods to the old PCO which do justice to both the old and the new. I really like this; It is the Penguin cafe, it is not the old Penguin Cafe Orchestra. Can't wait to see where the new captain will be guiding his ship. Mr. Jeffes, ya dad would be chuffed.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magic 6 Mar 2011
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
I ordered this out of curiosity but was delighted to find that the new Penquin Cafe has all the strange magic of the old.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Fine Sparky Chip off the Old Block! 4 Aug 2011
By C. Owen
Format:Audio CD
Yes, love it! I've just come back from hearing Penguin Cafe at the 2011 WOMAD Festival. It picks up right where Simon Jeffes was so prematurely obliged to leave off, though there is every sense that it is going where Arthur and the new band wish to take it. What a joy that the show goes on in this way! I hope there's another album soon and that I can catch them live again in the not too distant...
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb.
Another superb recording from the Penguin Cafe. They've moved on from the early days and I do miss the quirky tracks, but still thoroughly recommended.
Published 4 months ago by richard oxberry
4.0 out of 5 stars New from the old
A musically valid set that obviously draws inspiration from PCO roots but has its own voice and some beautiful highlights
Published 7 months ago by Mr. Richard Moore
5.0 out of 5 stars Penguin cafe
Not disappointed with the CD it has many well known tracks used as background to TV programmes which you can't quite put your finger on what they are.
Published 19 months ago by Phil Darley
2.0 out of 5 stars Somewhat lifeless!
Bought this "A Matter of Life" because I so enjoyed their previous discs - "Concert Programm" and "When in Rome"; but somehow this disc lacks the "punchy" rythmns of those two. Read more
Published on 24 April 2012 by Bob, Fareham.
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed
After being a fan of The Penguin Cafe Orchestra since the 1970's with me first buying a number of their albums in vinyl and then repeating the same on CD's, I was really looking... Read more
Published on 12 Oct 2011 by biffbiffin
5.0 out of 5 stars A matter of life
Having seen this group live I wanted more to keep. Lively CD with a good selection of their music. Easy listening
Published on 24 Mar 2011 by miffy
2.0 out of 5 stars Disapointed
Others have said that they found this album to be every bit as good as PCO. I haven't found it anywhere near as uplifting, sadly.
Published on 15 Mar 2011 by JmcB
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