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23 Aug 2016

Quiet Sun "Mainstream" 1975 UK Canterbury Scene, Jazz-Rock,Fusion, Prog Rock

Quiet Sun "Mainstream" 1975 UK Canterbury Scene, Jazz-Rock, Fusion, Prog Rock..recommended..!


Phil Manzanera's pre-Roxy Music group never got to release their first attempt at an album, but in a break from Roxy in 1974, Manzanera regrouped the band and put out this effort, recorded at the same time as his solo extravaganza Diamond Head. Here, Manzanera disappears into the art rock group dynamic; the album is a selection of progressive jams featuring some tasty guitar work, complex rhythmic structures, and the always reliable bass work of Bill MacCormick. There is a certain dryness to the whole proceeding, a holding back, a lack of warmth, but perhaps this perception is derived from over half the tracks sounding so much better a year later as part of 801's Live, including "Sol Caliente," "Mummy Was an Asteroid, Daddy Was a Small, Non-Stick Kitchen Utensil," and especially "Rongwrong." Here the Charles Hayward song sounds like a university common-room joke, with its name-dropping of "reading Schoenberg in the bath" and such. Compared to the lush arrangement and rewritten lyrics of the Brian Eno-sung 801 version, Quiet Sun sounds like one album away from allmusic.....

Over the last decade I have released five studio albums of completely new material: Vozero, 6pm, 50 mins later, Firebird V11 and Corroncho. During this same period I also released a retrospective compilation of two cds and a DVD called ‘ Phil Manzanera,1972-2007, The music’. In the last few years, in between touring and producing, I have enjoyed revisiting my solo albums and re-releasing them as series of Collector’s editions, raiding the archive for lost tracks and memorabilia. The latest Collectors’ editions are my first solo album Diamond Head and Quiet Sun’s Mainstream , albums from 1975. I think of them as fraternal twins, recorded at the same time, gestated in the same studio and over the same time period: 12pm-6pm Diamond Head sessions and Mainstream, the Quiet Sun album from 6pm-12am. Quiet Sun was the band I was in before Roxy Music, with Bill MacCormick , Charles Hayward and Dave Jarrett. Because of Roxy’s success I had the opportunity to record a solo album but unbeknownst to my management company I recorded two albums in the studio time allocated for one album. When they were finished I presented both to a stupefied management and Island Records. These two new Collectors Editions bring together all the recordings from the sessions, with demos and versions as well as new photos and is intended not only for the collector but also as an introduction to the variety of music that has interested me over the last 40 years.

Jan 2011.


Quiet Sun originally formed around Dulwich College in 1970 as a four-piece progressive rock band featuring Phil Manzanera (guitar), Bill MacCormick (bass),Charles Hayward (drums), and Dave Jarrett (keyboards). The band name came from an article on sunspots and solar flares that MacCormick's brother Ian had been reading, called "The Year of the Quiet Sun." The group managed to score a rehearsal space from Warner Bros. and toured around the south of England gaining a small following, but were never signed. In 1971, Manzanera left to join Roxy Music, MacCormick joined Matching Mole, Jarrett went into teaching, and Hayward joined Gong. Three years later, Manzanera was riding high on Roxy Music and decided to reform Quiet Sun while spending the latter part of 1974 working on a solo album to be known as Diamond Head. Manzanera booked 12-hour studio days, recording his solo album for eight and Quiet Sun for four, resulting in Mainstream. The group mostly re-recorded the songs they had rehearsed back in 1970, though several songs from that time instead found their way onto Diamond Head, including "Frontera" (later re-recorded by Robert Wyatt as "Team Spirit" on Ruth Is Stranger Than Richard) and "Alma." Both albums formed the basis of much of 801's live shows, which featured Manzanera and MacCormick . Hayward left to form This Heat. For a while, after initial pressings of Mainstream went out of print, the CD of the album was only obtainable through an expensive Japanese import. In 1999 Mainstream was re-released on Manzanera's own label, Now 2011 comes the Collectors edition , in book form complete with a number of the early, pre-Roxy Quiet Sun demos and new pictures and memorabilia . Ted Mills

‘Mainstream’ is probably the most invigorating record you’re likely to hear this Summer… inspired musicianship, total lack of compromise and, most importantly, a sense of feverish excitement and utter dedication.”

“The most manic and passionate rush of music that has been committed to vinyl so far this year… positively lethal in its uncompromising intensity. I can think of no more than a handful of albums released this year which demand your attention as much as “Mainstream”. “
(Melody Maker)

“A dazzling piece of post 60s Soft-ish instrumental complexorama. Their music is intriguing, intense and at times extremely volatile”. (Disc) “It does exude considerable quantities of intense manic energy… and, better still, it’s totally unpredictable and instrumentally rather skilfully executed.”

“Exhilaratingly energetic, fresh and inventive. There are echoes of early Soft Machine, the Nice and Gong and, as a bonus, a Sid Barrett vocal by Hayward on Rongwrong. This is one of the year’s best records.”
(Hi-Fi for Pleasure)

“What’s on this vinyl is a ferocious combination of the ideas on the first two Velvet Underground albums coupled with the musical inventiveness of King Crimson or Soft Machine. This album must be heard to be believed. The musicians are superb, the production flawless.”
(Trouser Press)

“It’s all mighty good, fervent stuff, bursting with energy and tottering between tranquility and pandemonium.”
(Liquorice) .....

When Roxy Music guitarist Phil Manzanera entered the studio to lay down his solo debut album Diamond Head, he simultaneously re-formed his pre-Roxy band Quiet Storm to quickly cut Mainstream. Despite the two albums being recorded on top of one another, Quiet Sun definitely feels like a full band effort that leans heavily towards the group's Canterbury school origins (Bill MacCormick being an ex-Matching Mole bassist) with their jazzy, insistent grooves and an off-the-cuff, improvised feel. The result of these hectic recording sessions features some fantastic high energy prog in the form of "Sol Caliente," the uneasy chromatic pianos of "Bargain Classics," blistering "Mummy Was an Asteroid, Daddy Was a Small Non-stick Kitchen Utensil" and spacey Floydian sounds of "Trot," all tracks featuring healthy doses of Manzanzera's metallic howl. Eno-philes will want to take note that he's also credited with keyboards and "oblique strategies" on the album, and his presence is most felt on the meditative keyboard layers of "R.F.D.," while a much extended version of "Rongwrong," a track later featured on 801's live album, closes Mainstream on a quirky note. A seemingly overlooked corner of the Manzanera/Roxy Music world that's easily recommended to fans of the guitarist, or progheads in general.....

Phil Manzanera's career has spanned five decades and has included collaborations with such well known musicians as Steve Winwood, David Gilmour and Brian Eno. He is obviously most well known as a key member of Roxy Music during the 70's and early 80's but he has also produced a large body of solo material. He started his career as the member of college based outfit 'Quiet Sun' who didn't actually record any material in their time together during the 60's but who came together in 1975 to record this one off collaboration of original material, notably with the help of Brian Eno.

Canterbury Scene music often included elements of jazz, psychedelia and progressive rock with extended improvisations and shifting structures. This album pretty much ticks all of those boxes but there is an extra aggressiveness to the music that is absent from a lot of works from the genre. Manzanera's guitar style became subdued during his latter years with Roxy Music, maybe due to the band's commercial ascent into the realms of mainstream pop, but on here we have quite a different approach. Free to explore and improvise within a free-form setting Manzanera often lets rip with some quite frenzied playing and almost hard-rock style riffing. A case in point is the oddly titled extended jam 'Mummy Was An Asteroid, Daddy Was A Small Non-Stick Kitchen Utensil' in which we are treated to urgent interplays between Manzanera's aggressive riffs, South American influenced leads and Dave Jarett's tasteful keyboard work. Other highlights include the Santana-esque 'Trot' which features a delectable classically inspired piano middle-section from Jarett and the psych-tinged opener 'Sol Caliente' with its spattering piano arpeggios, wailing guitar leads and classic Fender Rhodes sounds. A rhythm section comprising Charles Hayward on the drums and Bill McCormick on bass provide a solid but inventive backdrop throughout and Eno, who is actually only credited with providing 'treatments and oblique strategies', has undoubtedly had a hand in the overall feel and timbre of the music both during the performances and in the engineering and production.

This album contains some of the best Canterbury Scene music ever recorded. Manzanera was ensconsed as a full-time member of the already wildly successful Roxy Music when this side project was recorded so it is understandable that Quiet Sun did not go on to record together again. This is a real pity but it is hard to imagine they would ever have bettered this album. Any fans of early Santana, jazz-fusion or Canterbury Scene music in general should certainly give this a ...

Perversely titled Mainstream, the sole release by avant-prog-jazz outfit Quiet Sun is in fact as far from that adjective as can be imagined. Recorded in between sessions for Phil Manzanera’s Diamond Head LP, Mainstream featured that guitarist’s old band, reunited to finally create the album never made during the group’s original existence.Quiet Sun broke up in 1972 when Manzanera headed to Roxy Music, but the sessions for his solo album afforded the surreptitious opportunity to create this delightfully oddball album.

Bearing sonic similarities to Diamond Head — how could it not, using many of the same musicians, engineers and studio – Mainstream is a far more unusual affair. Informed by the progressive jazz predilections of its band members — yet rooted in the distinctive textural playing of Manzanera – the album sounds like little else of its era. Imagine if Caravan rocked (a lot) harder, and you begin to get a sense of this music.

Largely dispensing both with vocals and pop song convention, the songs on Mainstream aim for the challenging end of the pool, and nearly always hit their mark. At times the songs feel improvised, and while tracks like “Sol Caliente” move in multiple directions at once, they’re carefully thought-out pieces. Manzanera’s guitar shrieks and screams while the band engages in some tricky, jazzy playing underneath. Like modern jazz, each player’s part is inventive and worth individual attention. Like prog, there’s power and fury in much of the playing. Yet like rock, it, well, rocks.

What Quiet Sun lacks — and it lacks it in a good way – is any sort of pop sensibility. For that, listeners are directed to the excellent Diamond Head. But on Mainstream we get instead numbers like “Trumpets With Motherhood,” which sounds not unlike some sort of Carl Palmer-meets-Frank Zappa freakout. Then “Bargain Classics” gets even weirder, with Manzanera turning in some of his strangest guitar work.

Quiet Sun takes a more pensive approach on “R.F.D” but even here there’s a pleasantly unsettling vive; Dave Jarrett’s shimmering electric piano creates a moody ambience. “Mummy Was an Asteroid, Daddy Was a Small Non-stick Kitchen Utensil” is nowhere near as wacky as its title might suggest. Instead it’s a guitar skronkfest with glittering Caravan-styled keyboard runs, all delivered in an aggressive Starless and Bible Black era King Crimson style.

The highlight of “Trot” is a lovely piano solo from Jarrett. “Rongwrong” has always been an oddity among oddities: it bears almost no similarity to a same-named track from the 801 Live album; that latter version has straightforward vocals (courtesy of Brian Eno), but the one on Mainstream is, like everything else on this difficult-yet-wonderful album – primarily instrumental. Here, when the vocals do appear, they’re quite different – both in content and delivery. They’re every bit as off-kilter as the rest of the sounds coming out of Mainstream.

The 2011 reissue of this oft-unavailable record is lovingly packaged in a hardcover case, making it look a bit like an old Hardy Boys or Nancy Drew book. Now released on Manzanera’s own Expression Records label, the reissue includes a detailed booklet complete with multiple essays, review reprints, photos and miscellany. Five bonus tracks add context; an early demo “Years of the Quiet Sun” finds the band sounding a bit like very early King Crimson without the Mellotron and vocals. A modern-day recording of the band members reminiscing about the album and sessions wraps the package up nicely, finally telling the Quiet Sun Mainstream story as it deserves to be told......

Featured musicians:

Phi Manzanera
Charles Hayward
Dave Jarrett
Bill MacCormick
Brian Eno
Ian MacCormick


A1 Sol Caliente 8:02 
A2 Trumpets With Motherhood 1:30 
A3 Bargain Classics 5:37 
A4 R.F.D. 3:09 
B1 Mummy Was An Asteroid, Daddy Was A Small Non-stick Kitchen Utensil 6:09 
B2 Trot 5:00 
B3 Rongwrong 9:39

johnkatsmc5, welcome music..







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