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Quiet Sun - Mainstream CD (album) cover

MAINSTREAM

Quiet Sun

 

Canterbury Scene

4.29 | 170 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

friso
Prog Reviewer
5 stars Quiet Sun - Mainstream (1975)

This album didn't meet my expectations, it is much better.

Quiet Sun is one-album Canterbury group with the well known guitar-player Phil Manzanera (Roxy Music, Brian Eno, 801) as leading member. Though I don't have any interested in the music of Roxy Music, I do have an interest in Canterbury classics like this one. Charles Hayward provides some of the most exciting & inventive drums (think of tight up-tempo jazz, rock power & classical bombast) I have in my collection and keyboard-player Dave Jarett has that perfect slightly distorted, angelic Fender Rhodes sound when he isn't using that typical distorted organ sound that became such a recognizable feature of the Canterbury sound. Finally, bass-player Bill MacCormick has as strong grove and powerful jazz-rock sound with a strong low pitched attack. In addition, Brian Eno is mentioned for 'treatments & oblique strategies' whatever they may mean. Perhaps he helped the band to get the amazing sound it has.

The strategy of Quiet Sun is a real winner for me. There are enough recognizable features to name this a full-blown Canterbury album; short repetitive melodies within a heavy jazz-rock styled setting, distorted organs, long instrumental compositions, a bit of fun (though way more subtle then in for instance Hatfiel and the North), silly names for instrumental compositions and that type of fast grove that has an hypnotic element to it that seems to have been reserved for the Canterbury musicians. The winning factor is however the way Quiet Sun managed to mix these musical elements with raw progressiveness, an almost King-Crimson-like relentlessness artistic vision on heavy, dissonant (slightly avant-garde) progressive rock. Furthermore, the sound of the Polydor vinyl is brilliant and some inventive ways of amplification of a specific set of sounds really gets me in the most exciting moods. The final element is surprisingly heavy guitars of Manzanera that in some cases reach the level of heavy metal, though not presented as such in the mixing. To be conclusive; serious Hatfield meets the best of Larks Tongues in Aspic.

The first six compositions are all 100% winners for. Exciting, mind-blowing, fast, original and intensive. The only problem is the last track Rongwrong, on which the composition is of lower level of brilliance and the vocals of Hayward are at best disappointing. The track seems to be produced less good and I can't find the enthusiasm that treated the other tracks so well. To be honest, I would have preferred a 30 minute record without this song.

Conclusion. The first six tracks provide us of the highest level of heavy progressive rock in the Canterbury style that is possible. Perhaps a bit to edgy for the collector of classic symphonic prog, but for those who perceive their taste as leaning towards the eclectic prog this is one of the most rewarding releases I found so far. Though I'm to to happy about the last track on the album, I'm still going to give this album five stars because of the intense brilliance and artistic freedom expressed on the other tracks of this both classic and obscure record.

By the way, beautiful cover artwork! I enjoy just looking at this record.

friso | 5/5 |

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