Header

MANNA/MIRAGE

The Muffins

Canterbury Scene


From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

The Muffins Manna/Mirage album cover
4.05 | 66 ratings | 15 reviews | 30% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection


Write a review
Buy THE MUFFINS Music
from Progarchives.com partners
Studio Album, released in 1978

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Monkey With the Golden Eyes (4:02)
2. Hobart Got Burned (5:59)
3. Amelia Earhart (15:47)
4. The Adventures Of Captain Boomerang (22:48)

Total Time: 48:36

Lyrics

Search THE MUFFINS Manna/Mirage lyrics

Music tabs (tablatures)

Search THE MUFFINS Manna/Mirage tabs

Line-up / Musicians

- Billy Swan / bass, piano, guitar, percussives
- Paul Sears / drums, gong, xylophone, vibes, percussives, pots, pans, pennywhistle
- Tom Scott / piccolo, e flat, alto and c flutes, soprano, alto and baritone saxophones, b flat and alto clarinets, oboe, soprano recorder, percussives
- Dave Newhouse / pianos, organ, piccolo, flute, alto and baritone saxophones, bass clarinet, cereal box whistle, percussives

Guest musicians:
- John Schmidt / baritone horn and tuba
- Doug Elliot / trombone
- Larry Elliot / trumpet
- Steve Feigenbaum / guitar, underwater guitar
- Greg Yaskovich / bubble trumpet

Releases information

Cuneiform #55004

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
Edit this entry

THE MUFFINS MP3, Free Download (music stream)


Open extended player in a new pop-up window | Random Playlist (50) | How to submit new MP3s

Buy THE MUFFINS Manna/Mirage Music


Loveletter #2Loveletter #2
Cuneiform 2005
Audio CD$49.95
$29.50 (used)
Manna & MirageManna & Mirage
Cuneiform 1995
Audio CD$11.34
$6.95 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
ENGLISH MUFFINS ~ THE MYSTIC MOODS ORCHESTRA ~ PHILIPS #PHS 600-349 US $9.95 Buy It Now 6h 34m
NEW WAVE/ M+M "Martha & The Muffins" - Song In My Head US $6.99 Buy It Now 9h 18m
NEW WAVE/ M+M "Martha & The Muffins" - Metro Music (LP) US $8.99 Buy It Now 9h 28m
NEW WAVE/ M+M "Martha & The Muffins" - Danseparc (LP) US $8.99 Buy It Now 9h 28m
THE MYSTIC MOODS ORCH ENGLISH MUFFINS STEREO PHILIPS LP US $6.00 [0 bids]
10h 28m
M + M MARTHA AND THE MUFFINS LP ALBUM MYSTERY WALK WAVE 3 *GREAT SHAPE*(R535) US $20.00 Buy It Now 12h 59m
~ Martha And The Muffins - Danseparc - LP Record Wave-1 EX ~ US $12.99 Buy It Now 13h 12m
MARTHA & THE MUFFINS *DJ COPY* "DANSEPARC" 45 RPM US $4.49 Buy It Now 13h 51m
English Muffins by The Mystic Moods Orchwstra(Philips....1970) VG LP US $3.00 [0 bids]
14h 16m
Martha And Muffins - 33 rpm 7" Vinyl 1980 Live Tour Indecision, Cheesies and Gum US $2.97 [0 bids]
15h 18m
MARTHA & THE MUFFINS TRANCE AND DANCE VINYL LP DID5 + INNER US $11.60 Buy It Now 16h 57m
MYSTIC MOODS ORCHESTRA--ENGLISH MUFFINS (Misc $4.00 LP) US $4.00 Buy It Now 17h 6m
Muffins Subway Traveler Promo RCA 45 US $12.00 [0 bids]
17h 38m
Martha and The Muffins - Danseparc US $9.99 Buy It Now 18h 34m
MARTHA & THE MUFFINS Mystery Walk LP OOP mid-80's promo new wave US $2.99 Buy It Now 19h 28m
Martha And The Muffins: Swimming / Little Sounds (Exceprts) 7" 45 VG++ Canada US $7.49 Buy It Now 20h
MYSTIC MOODS ORCHESTRA: English Muffins vinyl US $8.00 Buy It Now 21h 30m
Martha and the Muffins, LP "Mystery Walk", M+M, rare blue cover, Canada Import US $9.00 [0 bids]
23h 10m
Martha and the Muffins, LP "Danesparc", M+M, orig 1983 US press, NM, 1980s music US $9.00 [0 bids]
23h 13m
Martha & the Muffins-Mystery Walk Canadian orig' SEALED Current LP 1984 US $9.99 Buy It Now 23h 21m
Martha And The Muffins-Trance And Dance-LP-Canada-Vinyl Record-NM-OG Sleeve US $2.99 [0 bids]
1 day
Martha & The Muffins-Metro Music-LP-Virgin-NM-Vinyl Record-England US $2.99 [0 bids]
1 day
CHRIS DE BURGH, BILLY OCEAN, MARTHA AND THE MUFFINS TURKISH RARE US $50.00 Buy It Now 1 day
Martha and the Muffins Album US $2.99 Buy It Now 1 day
MARTHA & The MUFFINS - Was Ezo/Trance & Dance 45 PICTURE SLEEVE US $9.99 Buy It Now 1 day
MARTHA AND THE MUFFINS DANSEPARC LP 717 US $6.99 Buy It Now 1 day
HOOBASTANK The Reason CASSETTE TAPE fornever muffins out of control self titled US $10.00 Buy It Now 1 day
Cuneiform Records CD with Yang - Forever Einstein - Djam Karet - Muffins - Ndio US $7.99 Buy It Now 1 day
Far Away in Time by Martha and the Muffins (CD, Oct-1993, Caroline Distribution) US $9.99 Buy It Now 1 day
Muffins - Double Negative [CD New] US $14.50 Buy It Now 1 day
MUFFINS - DOUBLE NEGATIVE NEW CD US $24.18 Buy It Now 1 day
Hear PRIVATE US LP Random Radar Sampler DARK SYNTH SPACE AVANT Frith/Muffins '77 US $99.99 Buy It Now 1 day
MARTHA and THE MUFFINS Trance and dance + inner US $14.92 Buy It Now 1 day
Martha & The Muffins - Echo Beach / Teddy The Dink, DinDisc DIN-9 Ex Condition US $9.94 Buy It Now 1 day
MARTHA & THE MUFFINS - TRANCE & DANCE - TRANCE & DANCE - BONUS TRACKS NEW CD US $29.14 Buy It Now 1 day
martha and the muffins - was ezo - 7" vinyl single - looks unplayed US $13.26 Buy It Now 1 day
Bone Cure "Moonshadow" & "Where's My Muffins" 1995 33 RPM Single NM - w/Sleeve US $9.95 [0 bids]
1 day
MARTHA AND THE MUFFINS ECHO BEACH NM UNPLAYED? 7 in 45rpm INTL SHIP VEL 77 ACL US $12.99 Buy It Now 1 day
ERIC WEISSBERG YAKETY YAK MEADOW MUFFINS USA NM SLSI 10 ACL US $6.99 Buy It Now 1 day
Muffins - Double Negative CD US $19.42 Buy It Now 2 days
Best Of The 80's Vol.1 Cd- George Thorogood,Martha & The Muffins,Blondie, Duran US $6.88 Buy It Now 2 days
MICHAEL ZENTNER present time LP NM fred frith peter blegvad daevid allen muffins US $11.99 Buy It Now 2 days
The Mystic Moods Orchestra LP English Muffins * Philips PHS 600-349 US $3.19 [0 bids]
2 days
Martha & The Muffins Lp Mystery Walk in Shrink US $3.99 Buy It Now 2 days
Martha & The Muffins: Echo Beach / Teddy The Dink 45 7" Vinyl RECORD w sleeve US $1.99 Buy It Now 2 days
MARTHA AND THE MUFFINS-METRO MUSIC VIRGIN VA 13145 NO BARCODES VG+/VG+ LP US $9.98 Buy It Now 2 days
Martha & The Muffins Trance And Dance rare LP great condition extra EP included US $16.99 [0 bids]
2 days
Martha & The Muffins Danseparc rare LP great condition M+M US $20.99 [0 bids]
2 days
The Muffins AIR AND FICTION LIVE @ PYSHEDELLY USA 1979 LP US $19.99 Buy It Now 2 days
Martha+The Muffins~Women Around The World At Work/22 In Cincinatti~Mint- 45 US $5.00 Buy It Now 2 days
NEW WAVE/ M+M "Martha & The Muffins" - Mystery Walk (LP) US $8.99 Buy It Now 2 days
NEW WAVE/ Martha And The Muffins - Cooling The Medium (WL Promo) M+M US $7.99 Buy It Now 2 days
45 RECORD TODDLIN' TOWN THE MUFFINS MY ONE AND ONLY DREAM US $18.73 Buy It Now 2 days
MARTHA AND THE MUFFINS Trance and Dance 1980 UK LP Motorbikin' & Teddy The Dink US $13.99 Buy It Now 2 days
MARTHA & THE MUFFINS - ECHO BEACH - TEDDY THE DINK 7/45 PORTUGAL DINDISC 1980 US $9.99 Buy It Now 2 days
Martha & The Muffins - Modern Lullaby - RARE 1992 CD US $12.00 Buy It Now 2 days
MARTHA & THE MUFFINS Saigon/Copacabana 7" Dindisc DIN 17 VG+ PS UK Press Single US $5.99 Buy It Now 2 days
Martha & The Muffins Danseparc US LP US $19.99 Buy It Now 3 days
MARTHA AND THE MUFFINS Metro Music VIRGIN 1980 UK press US $14.92 Buy It Now 3 days
MARTHA & THE MUFFINS trance & dance LP Mint- DID 5 UK Vinyl 1980 Record US $12.00 Buy It Now 3 days
ay/ handmade greetings / birthday card MARTHA AND THE MUFFINS US $9.96 Buy It Now 3 days
Crash Vegas-STONE-Blue Rodeo-MARTHA & AND THE MUFFINS US $6.99 Buy It Now 3 days
MUFFINS - CHRONOMETERS NEW CD US $24.18 Buy It Now 3 days
Martha & The Muffins - Modern Lullaby [CD New] US $19.98 Buy It Now 3 days
Danseparc/Mystery Walk by Martha and the Muffins (CD, Sep-2000, One Way Records) US $69.00 Buy It Now 3 days
M + M (Martha and The Muffins) "Mystery Walk" 1984 Current Lp/ Canadian release US $5.99 [0 bids]
3 days
THEE MUFFINS LP Pop Up! FAN CLUB/PRIVATE garage PSYCH signed CLEAN great copy US $5.00 [0 bids]
3 days
THE MUFFINS - CHRONOMETERS - NEW CD US $13.14 Buy It Now 3 days
MYSTIC MOODS ORCHESTRA ENGLISH MUFFINS RECORD LP US $5.00 Buy It Now 3 days
MUFFINS - BANDWIDTH NEW CD US $24.18 Buy It Now 3 days
Martha And The Muffins-Danseparc-LP-RCA Victor-Vinyl Record-VG+ US $3.77 [0 bids]
US $4.99 Buy It Now
3 days
Martha And The Muffins-M+M-Danseparc-LP-RCA Victor-Vinyl Record-VG+ US $3.24 [0 bids]
US $4.34 Buy It Now
3 days
MARTHA AND THE MUFFINS / SAIGON / 1980 7" P/S US $4.96 Buy It Now 4 days
MARTHA AND THE MUFFINS / WOMEN AROUND THE WORLD AT WORK / 1981 7" P/S US $4.96 Buy It Now 4 days
Muffins - Bandwidth CD US $19.57 Buy It Now 4 days
MARTHA AND THE MUFFINS - MAGAZINE CUTTINGS COLLECTION (REF T4) US $11.53 Buy It Now 4 days
Mr & Mrs Muffins - Raindrop Dance & Other Songs About Love CD US $24.99 Buy It Now 4 days
MARTHA AND THE MUFFINS - Echo Beach (Promo) (PS) US $11.00 Buy It Now 4 days
THE MYSTIC MOODS ORCHESTRA English Muffins ORIGINAL BAINBRIDGE LP Beatles US $35.00 Buy It Now 4 days
The Muffins,Subway Traveller.RCA 47-9211.7" Vinyl DEMO Northern Soul,Psych,Prog. US $9.88 Buy It Now 4 days
VANILLA MUFFINS - THE TRIUMPH OF SUGAR OI! - SOTS2137 US $20.58 Buy It Now 4 days
Martha & The Muffins - 'Trance & Dance lp US $6.99 Buy It Now 4 days
MR & MRS MUFFINS - RAINDROP DANCE AND OTHER SONGS - F0078 US $21.46 Buy It Now 4 days
Martha And The Muffins - Trance And Dance - CDMRED584 US $14.85 Buy It Now 4 days
MYSTERY WALK M+M MARTHA & THE MUFFINS VINYL LP US $10.00 Buy It Now 4 days
Martha and the Muffins Import 1992 Canada CD Modern Lullaby Intrepid Label Rare US $9.99 [0 bids]
4 days
Sylvia Syms English Muffins And Irish Stew Decca Promo 45 29969 US $7.99 [0 bids]
4 days
1983 Martha And The Muffins Danseparc AFL1-4664 VG+ VinyL US $3.00 Buy It Now 4 days
MARTHA AND THE MUFFINS 45 Danseparc It's Tomorrow 1983 * UNPLAYED MINT DJ PROMO US $1.68 Buy It Now 4 days
martha and the muffins - suburban dream - 7" vinyl single US $11.60 Buy It Now 4 days
MARTHA &THE MUFFINS M + M Danseparc 1983 LP RCA AFL1-4664 US $7.99 Buy It Now 4 days
MARTHA AND THE MUFFINS * M+M -(LP)- DANSEPARC - RCA RECORDS - AFLI-4664 - 1983 US $12.99 Buy It Now 4 days
The Mystic Moods Orchestra English Muffins LP Phillips US $9.99 Buy It Now 4 days
Martha and the Muffins 3 singles lot limited 7" 45 PS promo napkin, green vinyl US $49.40 Buy It Now 4 days
M+M xoa oho/Black Stations White 7" 45 oop RCA Martha and the Muffins US $3.00 Buy It Now 4 days
KENNETH YOUNG & THE ENGLISH MUFFINS (MRS GREEN'S) UGLY DAUGHTER 45 DIAMOND US $9.99 Buy It Now 4 days
MARTHA AND THE MUFFINS - ABOUT INSOMNIA / 146 - 45 rpm US $5.99 Buy It Now 4 days
MARTHA AND THE MUFFINS Danseparc LP USA VG++ US $11.17 Buy It Now 5 days
MARTHA & THE MUFFINS 7" P/S SAIGON NEW WAVE 1980 EX US $6.02 Buy It Now 5 days
MARTHA & THE MUFFINS 7" GREEN VINYL P/S ABOUT INSOMNIA DINDISC NEW WAVE EX US $7.55 Buy It Now 5 days

More places to buy THE MUFFINS music online Buy THE MUFFINS & Prog Rock Digital Music online:
  • AmazonMP3: Search for THE MUFFINS DRM-Free MP3 Downloads @ AmazonMP3 (USA Only) | AmazonMP3 (UK Only)

THE MUFFINS Manna/Mirage ratings distribution


4.05
(66 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(30%)
30%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(52%)
52%
Good, but non-essential (11%)
11%
Collectors/fans only (6%)
6%
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)
2%

THE MUFFINS Manna/Mirage reviews


Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Greger
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars The MUFFINS were an American band that existed from 1973-1981. This is a re-release of The MUFFINS debut album from 1978. Their music is a blend of chamber music, experimental progressive rock, avant-garde, Canterbury and Jazz. The musicians are very skilled and they're throwing themselves between these genres with a big doze of humor and playfulness. There are lots of odd rhythms, chord progressions and melodies. Sometimes they reminds of CARAVAN, HATFIELD AND THE NORTH, HENRY COW and SOFT MACHINE. Besides the regular rock instruments there are lots of other instruments such as xylophone, saxophone, clarinets, oboe and flute. There are only four lengthy tracks on this album. All of them are highlights in their own rights. But if I should point out one specific track, it would be the epic closing 23-minutes track "The Adventures of Captain Boomerang". This is a musical adventure from a really interesting band from the past.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Send comments to Greger (BETA) | Report this review (#27697) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, February 16, 2004

Review by Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Folk
4 stars 4.5 stars really!!!

Formed in Washington DC, The Muffins had started in 73 as a trio with Newhouse (keys winds) as their leader, and were joined by Scott (winds) in late 74 and recorded a few sessions (which will be later released by Cuneiform under the name Chronometer) but it wasn't until 78 that they recorded their first proper album on a small Wayside Record label..

The least we can say is that The Muffins were heavily biased to Canterbury-sounds as their album is a mix of Soft Hatfield Health crossed with Crimsonic RIO, even if the two don't entwine as much as interact. Generally the two styles succeed each other and much of the greatness of this album is the transitions from one to the other. The first side of the album is made of three excellent tracks: Golden Eyes start as a gentle National North but ends quite abruptly, segueing directly into a free improv (not unlike what Keith Tippett has done with Ovary Lodge) of Hobart, before a Ratledgian electric piano pulls the track into Kent territory, with some of the wildest and most energetic moments of Canterbury ever, throwing chills down your spine as Scott and Newhouse just blow their lungs into their respective wind instruments. Fantastic, terrific, but nothing compared with the 16-min Amelia Earhart. Starting out on an incredibly low percussion intro (much like Crimson's LTIA), the track constantly rolls back and forth between Canterbury, even pulling a spacey Gong interlude midway through.

And this is even without having heard the 22-min opus on the flipside. However for some reasons The Muffins cannot equal the perfect transitions and balance that they had achieved on the other wax slab. Overall, I'd say this album has Canterbury outlasting RIO/improv by 3 to 1, but it won't always be the case later.

The band would then meet one of the major influences Fred Frith (of Henry Cow fame) once he moved to New York and they backed him up in his solo album Gravity and in turn would produce their second album. Getting back to this debut album, this is one of the best US albums of the 70's as far as prog is concerned, leaving JR/F out.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#122954) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, May 21, 2007

Review by Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars I got very interested in this band after hearing one of their fantastic songs on the "After The Storm" record that was to aid victims of Hurricane Katrina. It was actually a song off their "Bandwidth" record, but I thought I would start here, from the beginning. What I enjoy most about this band is listening to all the different sounds they produce. The woodwind and brass instruments, whistles, piano, organ, aboe, percussion, xylophone, vibes and on and on. They thank Kit Watkins from HAPPY THE MAN for technical help and advice. I would describe their sound as a cross between HATFIELD AND THE NORTH, SOFT MACHINE, HENRY COW and FRANK ZAPPA.

"Monkey With The Golden Eyes" opens with various sounds playing both slowly and pleasantly before an outbreak 1 1/2 minutes in as xylophone, sax and organ in particular build in sound. This song blends into "Hobart Got Burned" with it's all over the place drumming and different dissonant sounds. An outbreak 2 minutes in before returning to original soundscape. We get a melody before 3 1/2 minutes. This is really cool as drums and horns dominate, including some screaming sax that comes and goes. "Amelia Earhart" is truly an amazing track. It opens with about 1 1/2 minutes of atmosphere including percussion and whistles etc. before piano, drums and bass create a nice melody. Horns join in too. Guitar arrives 2 1/2 minutes in as the sound changes. Flute 2 minutes after that and light drums. Guitar is back after 5 1/2 minutes. Another change 7 1/2 minutes as horns and drums become prominant. A great uptempo passage 10 1/2 minutes in before we get an incredible atmospheric ending that reminds me of the intro and lasts almost 4 minutes ! The flute is a nice touch.

"The Adventures Of Captain Boomerang" was originally a side long suite at over 22 minutes. The 1 minute intro is mellow as some beautiful sax melodies are followed with drums. The band shouts "Captain Boomerang" a couple of times after 5 minutes. The song settles down before 10 minutes. Some nice piano 12 minutes in as drums and horns join in. The song pretty much stops 15 minutes in and restarts with clarinet and piano, at which point as I write this, the big red sun is sinking below the mountains. Dissonant sounds 17 1/2 minutes in as the sun has set. The sound is building including some scorching sax. Xylophone before 20 minutes as piano and drums come in a minute later, and we are cooking with an uptempo ending.

Chris Cutler said that this band should be included with the great bands of the seventies. These guys can play folks. A must have for progressive music fans, especially those leaning to the Jazz / Canterbury / Rio / Avant style of music.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Send comments to Mellotron Storm (BETA) | Report this review (#145490) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, October 18, 2007

Review by Bj-1
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The Muffins is an excellent Canterbury quartet with moderate RIO leanings in a typical Soft Machine, Henry Cow and Hatfield and the North fashion. This was long a highly anticipated release for me before finally getting my hands on it, and I can safely say that I wasn't disappointed at all from my first listen on it and until now. The songs are long and adventurous and goes through several different climaxes and themes with a good melodic balance. Although the last two tracks goes well over the 15-minute mark, they are never boring and bursts with charming, inspired and entertaining passages with few weaker moments. The musicianship is very good and the musicians never misses a beat although the music get's fairly challenging technically at times. There also is a great range of instruments used here in addition to the standard bass/guitar/drums and keys; sax, various wind instruments and percussions is also present and that adds a somewhat eclectic and complete touch to the music. But while the arrangements flows well and the musicianship is nothing to complain about, I must notify that the production quality of the album is a bit raw and thin to recieve a perfect 5* rating for me. It would have definitely improved the album a bit with a fuller and warmer sound quality, but focusing on the excellent music only most likely makes you ignore that quite easily.

Overall, I can safely say that this is a very charming and adventurous release that should easily appeal to fans of Henry Cow, Soft Machine or Hatfield and the North. Musically complex with a good flow to it with well-thinked arrangements that is interesting to listen to all the way through with a nice typical humoristic touch to them. Other than a few weaker (but not bad) moments and a somewhat thin production quality, this is an essential for it's genre. 4.5/5

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Send comments to Bj-1 (BETA) | Report this review (#147719) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, October 28, 2007

Review by Cesar Inca
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars After struggling for 5 years in the marginal field of avant-rock, the magnificent USA ensemble The Muffins managed to release their debut album "Manna/Mirage" in 1978. at the time, the band was slightly diminished as a quartet without the participation of a permanent guitar player in its line-up, so they had to use an occasional guest for this album (plus a few other guests on wind instruments), but this factor in no way led to a decay in the band members' creativity or a decrease in their performing energy. "Manna/Mirage" is an amazing Canterbury-meets-RIO album that makes the band behind it totally worthy of all the praise that deservedly goes to bands from the other side of the Atlantic such as Soft Machine, Hatfield & The North, Henry Cow, Nucleus and Matching Mole. All us prog collectors that have been appreciating the work of American bands such as However, Happy The Man, Rascal Reporters and French TV from the late 70s and beyond have good reason to recognize both a foundation and a precedent in the material comprised in "Manna/Mirage". I said the expression "Canterbury-meets-RIO" in an earlier sentence, but the main fact is that The Muffins' guys are especially connected to the Canterbury trend and happen to be openly friendly with the sonic deconstructive strategies rooted in the RIO ideology: that is more accurate, all in all. There are also traces of influences from Zappa's jazzier side, as well as classic items of 70s American fusion - Weather Report, a bit of Herbie Hancock, perhaps - but essentially, the band's sound is pretty much England-orientated. The lack of a permanent guitarist (who also doubled on violin) makes it necessary that Dave Newhouse's keyboard inputs take center stage in the tracks' developments, with Tom Scott absorbing lots of room for his sax/clarinet/flute interventions. As a result of this, the jazzy factor in The Muffins' quintessence becomes undeniably enhanced. The opener 'Monkey With The Golden Eyes' delivers 4 minutes of autumnal, minimalistic textures mostly based on eerie electric piano washes and dreamy lines performed on various woodwinds. This contemplative introduction ends with a magical climax that sets an atmosphere of expectation for the remaining repertoire, whose graceful surprise starts with the free-form adventures that mark the beginning of 'Hobart Got Burned', a true celebration of chaos in a disjointed conjuncture. Once a more cohesive rhythm structure is settled in, things become vibrant and engaging while bearing a similar air to that of Soft Machine's fourth and fifth albums. Now... this is the very essence of The Muffins we are seeing through. Next is 'Amelia Earhart', which starts with a brief excursion of tonal and concrete percussions, then shifts to a warm display of nostalgic ambiences that might as well sound to our ears like a hybrid of Gilgamesh and Weather Report. Bassist Billy Swan finds a couple of spaces to shine individually in a very Hopper-esque way among the explicitly playful vibe that the musicians are indulging into at the moment. Somewhere in the middle there is a languid section that points at impending danger and silent immensity - clearly, an allusion to Mrs. Earhart's tragedy. The whole second half of the album is occupied by the monster track 'The Adventures Of Captain Boomerang (For Mike Forrester)', a 22+ minute journey that completes the band's vision quite fairly. Lots of melodic developments and arrangements bear moods that are by now recognizable, but there are also signals of Zappa-esque Dadaistic tricks, which make the whole musical trip an enhanced adventure. Despite the relevance of the restless motif shifts, the band avoids the resource of dramatic contrast consistently - and that is a very clever thing, indeed. Cheers to them! The track's last passage if filled with a certain tension which ultimately serves to elaborate an effective abrupt ending. So, my final balance for this album is very good: "Manna/Mirage" is a wonderful progressive effort that should not be ignored or overlooked. Luckily, this was not the last of this obscure band, since in the early years of the new millennium they have released great (or even greater) albums - anyway, those will be a matter for other reviews.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Send comments to Cesar Inca (BETA) | Report this review (#279880) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, April 29, 2010

Review by SaltyJon
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This album, like Henry Cow's Legend, really seems to walk the line between Canterbury scene's style and avant-garde rock. It's similar to that album in another couple ways, in that it's the band's debut and it's an incredibly great, innovative and complex album. I was drawn into the music when I read in reviews how it reminded people of a mixture of RIO/Avant and the Canterbury scene, as I love both of those genres. I'm very glad I listened to people and checked this one out.

The album starts off slowly and quietly, eventually building up over the course of the first track, adding layer after layer of instruments to the great atmosphere, bringing to mind for me the sound of National Health, with a hint of Frank Zappa.

Then, at the outbreak of the second track, things take a turn to the avant-garde side, with some seemingly free sounds reminding me of some of Henry Cow's improvisational moments. It seems to me as if the band wanted to play with contrasts, going from calm and quiet to loud and complex, back and forth, over the course of the album. Near two and a half minutes into the second track we get some echoing sax lines, playing over the interesting drum patterns. At three minutes the keyboards join in and present a little section of melody and togetherness. Nearly four minutes in I'm strongly reminded of Dave Stewart's playing in Egg. The track from this point on continues on with the same general course it's currently taking, a nice jazzy avant tune.

Next up is the album's first epic track, "Amelia Earhart". The track starts off with some light and almost mysterious sounds, mainly percussions and some sort of whistle, continuing on like this for around a minute and a half. The rest of the band joins in at this point where we're presented with a more normally structured section of music. At about two and a half minutes in the song gets quieter again and builds quickly, with fast breaks into sections led by the reeds, speeding up after three minutes for a while as the bassist goes a bit wild and the sax floats on top of the maelstrom of drums and bass below. The piece calms down again some after four minutes. The song is all over the place, and manages to go all over the place without being tiring or sounding contrived. About five and a half minutes in we get some nice fuzzy bass, always a great thing to add in. The xylophone and piano in the background fade into mainly guitar and keys, then what sounds like bass clarinet and maybe harp join in to the fun. We get a (very) quick break with what sounds like a dog toy, then another jazzy section comes along led by saxophone and a screaming something in the background. After a short while like this we return to the earlier bass and keys led melody with the excellent drumming. Near eight and a half minutes in we get a nice little section with more echoing sax lines, followed by a playful section of interplay between the bass running up and down and the flutes answering in a quirky little dissonant way. The flutes (or whatever wind instruments are present) continue on with their little bit as the band plays under them for a while. Things build back up at ten and a half minutes and we get some fun sax lines and then a more calm section with what sounds like a slide whistle put through some computer effects, and later some flute to take us out of the track. The band's playful instrumentals in this track are really great.

Finally, we come to the beast which is the side long epic "The Adventures of Captain Boomerang". This is another great track (though all the tracks here are great, if I may say so). We get about a minute of atmosphere before the sax, bass, drums and others join in to get things moving. The track breaks into some great complex bits with funny interplay between instruments/wordless vocals playing back and forth with various percussions, repeating each others' rhythms. At three minutes we get some "classic" jazz drums for a short while before they go crazy again. The band is really enjoying themselves with this album. Again, they manage to make the shifts back and forth from one melody/rhythmic idea to another throughout the track sound good. This piece overall reminds me pretty strongly of National Health's jazzier moments. Rather than give a minute by minute breakdown like I did for the beginning of the track and the entirety of the other three, I'll just mention that it has a lot of warm sections with the lush, Canterburian keyboards, some more "out there" sections with squeaking sax, some heavily Zappa-inspired sections with xylophone, and just about everything in between the two.

This band and this album are a real treasure to the music scene. They're one of those bands which can mix jazz, Canterbury quirkiness, and avant-garde rock into something with the best elements of all three and, for me, none of the pitfalls. For fans of any of those genres, or specifically for albums like Henry Cow's Legend, National Health's albums, and Frank Zappa's jazzier output (The Grand Wazoo and Waka/Jawaka especially), you can't go wrong with this. I realize I got a bit wordy with the review and might seem as if I was just rambling on and on and on, but I hope I got across the idea that I think it's a top notch album that belongs in just about every prog collection. A very strong four star rating from me, would be 4.5 if we had half stars.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Send comments to SaltyJon (BETA) | Report this review (#280446) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, May 03, 2010

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JazzRock/Fusion Teams
5 stars So this is American Canterbury music? I like it.

Somewhere between National Health, Soft Machine, Henry Cow, and the original Mothers Of Invention lies the sound of this album by The Muffins. The music is primarily played by four core multi-instrumentalists: Billy Swan, Paul Sears, Tom Scott and Dave Newhouse (of course it helps to let Wayside Music/Cuneiform Records owner Steve Feigenbaum play on the album). The result is a wonderful journey through sometimes improvised, sometimes tightly written, jazzy rock music.

All four pieces are truly pieces of ear candy, and essential for any collector of the Canterbury Scene genre. Really, the only flaw I find is that even on the CD (I have the Wayside 1991 release), the recording quality is rough. It sounds more like a nineteen sixties album than a seventies recording.

But even with the sound problems, I'd call it a masterpiece. 4.5 stars, rounded up.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Send comments to Evolver (BETA) | Report this review (#294774) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, August 16, 2010

Review by zravkapt
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Post/Math Rock Team
4 stars The Muffins are an American Canterbury group from Washington, DC. This is their first album although they had been around already for a few years. The sound is heavily influenced by both Soft Machine and Frank Zappa, and even a little bit of Henry Cow as well. This is guitarless instrumental Canterbury with lots of wind instruments. Due to the low budget recording, this album sometimes sounds more like a jazz record from the 1960s rather than a rock record from the late 1970s. Although both the sound and songs appear kind of dated for something released in 1978, it also adds a charm to the album. Sometimes less is more.

Manna/Mirage features just four tracks with one of them being a side-long epic, one of the better Canterbury epics in fact. "Monkey With The Golden Eyes" starts out like Karl Jenkins-era Soft Machine with electric piano and some flute. Some oboe(?) joins in playing lovely melodies. Later some marimba(?). Slowly some trippy organ enters the scene. The rest of the song is both dissonant and melodic. "Hobart Got Burned" continues with the drone that ends "Monkey..." Then it goes into something similar to Henry Cow in improvisation mode. After a few minutes of that the music becomes more similar to Soft Machine with the electric piano figure and awesome fuzz-bass.

After the first two shorter songs comes the two epics of the album. "Amelia Earhart" is an almost 16 minute long tour de force of Canterbury music. It starts out with some kind of tuned percussion at low volume (think of the beginning to LTIA Pt. 1). Some random drums and other sounds can be heard before the music stops and then returns as great Canterbury jamming featuring great soloing on sax. Changes to another section featuring phased electric piano and start/stop playing. Then a great wah-bass solo. Later on some flute soloing. Afterwards some great fuzz-bass from a fuzz box that was malfunctioning I believe.

The sounds of people making noises at one point. I love the phased electric piano after 8 minutes. Goes through a few different sections; some very jazzy, some parts are reprised from earlier. After 11 minutes it gets spacey and minimalistic with a repeated bass note. Some flute later. This part continues until the end. The almost 23 minute "Adventures Of Captain Boomerang" opens in an orchestral Canterbury mood. When the drums come in it goes into Canterbury style jazz-rock. After 2 minutes you hear random sounds along with start/stop playing. At one point you hear people shouting "Captain Boomerang!" After 7 minutes is some great wah-bass.

As to be expected, this epic changes a lot. It gets almost bluesy in a Zappaesque way around 8 1/2 minutes. Around 11 minutes is some awesome phased bass which plays a melody. There seems to be an edit right after that part where a modified organ sounds like a synth. Later on some wind sounds and flute in the distance. More wind sounds and a great altered wind instrument later on. More synth like soloing and great rhythm section towards the end. This is some terrific Canterbury, although the next album (which I haven't heard) is supposed to be more avant-prog. Manna/Mirage is a unique sounding album that fans of Canterbury should hear. 4 stars.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Send comments to zravkapt (BETA) | Report this review (#506546) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, August 20, 2011

Review by Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars The Muffins played a deliberately Canterbury-influenced style of music, which on this album approaches the standards of Hatfield and the North and other giants of the genre. With plentiful references to more mainstream varieties of jazz, the band clearly possess chops aplenty; rather than simply being a clone band mimicing their betters simply because that's all they know how to do, they're very obviously a set of capable jazz players who play in this mode because they have a genuine passion for it. More mellow and laid back than many of their British contemporaries, the Muffins sound on here reminds me a little of a significantly more interesting and adventurous Gilgamesh.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Send comments to Warthur (BETA) | Report this review (#560590) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, October 31, 2011

Review by VanVanVan
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars I first heard about The Muffins as the backing band for one half of Fred Frith's solo album "Gravity." As I very much enjoyed that album, this one seemed like a natural choice to check out. I will confess, however, that "Manna/Mirage" was not entirely what I was expecting. Simply due to their association with Frith, I was assuming that this would be more or less a straightforward RIO affair. While there are elements of that sound here, they're crossed into the Canterbury scene, and to my ears this album sounds much more like the latter than the former.

"Monkey With The Golden Eyes" is the first track here, and it begins the album on a decidedly jazzy note, with laid back, soothing keyboards setting the stage behind an equally tranquil flute part. What I believe is an oboe makes an appearance as well, dueting briefly with the flute before a whole host of different horns come in, slowly layering on top of one another until, in the final minute of the track, all the instruments come together to create a sedate, peaceful blend of sound. Easily the most straightforward track on the album, "Monkey With The Golden Eyes" provides a nice, accessible opening for the album, though it doesn't really give a great representation about what's coming next.

That fact is made immediately apparent from the opening notes of "Hobart Got Burned," which dismisses the peaceful sounds of the opener in favor of a dissonant horn part, very reminiscent of Henry Cow's "Western Culture." This track also sounds far more improvisation-based than "Monkey?" with a very open structure filled by wild drumming and brief, punctuated horn bursts. Midway through the track, however, keyboards and bass enter, and the track enters a much more composed section, falling back into rhythmic normalcy and taking on a kind of demented carnival feel. The horn bursts don't stop, however, with plenty of howling solos wailing over the backbone the piano and bass are laying down. A great, experimental track, "Hobart Got Burned" is much more interesting to me than "Monkey?" and proves that The Muffins can innovate with the best of them.

"Amelia Earhart" is the first of the two long tracks that finish the album. Beginning with very minimalist blend of percussion and some very faint playing from the winds, the track really kicks off at about 2 minutes in, when the keyboard begins a rather cheerful chord progression. Horns add to the sound, playing an energetic repeating line over the keyboard and giving the track a very hopeful feel. Eventually the track drops back into a more improvisational mode, with really excellent drumming providing a background for a variety of instruments to solo over. The winds and especially the flute give the track a very interesting sound, and provide a nice contrast when an electric guitar comes in and begins its own solo. A very cool low brass section follows this, followed itself by a huge variety of instruments, including something that sounds like a train whistle. With about four minutes left in the track the pace slows down a little bit; the solos stop and the track takes on a floaty, almost ambient quality. Low, throbbing bass and a psychedelic flute part give this last section of the track an amazing, dream-like feeling that serves as a wonderful outtro to an otherwise wildly energetic piece of music.

It's a bold move to follow up a track as good as "Amelia Earhart" with another epic, but "The Adventures of Captain Boomerang" tries to do just that, clocking in at a hefty 23 minutes. It begins in much the same way "Amelia?" ended, with dreamy wind parts and an overall peaceful feel. The pace quickens, however, with a bombastic horn section that recalls in equal parts big band music and Henry Cow. This very jazzy motif is interspersed with more experimental sections consisting of minimal sound effects and percussion. Both of these themes, however, eventually fall away, and the track enters another long period of instrumental soloing. Despite the avant-garde sections earlier in the track, this section of "Captain Boomerang" is probably the least avant section on the album, and the one that's most akin to the more mainstream Canterbury scene. At about 12 minutes in the energy wanes a little bit, moving again into a spacier feel that slowly builds back up in intensity before dropping away again to almost nothing. A very, very faint wind part plays over some even fainter swooshing sounds, and when keyboard and horns enter again they're markedly more subdued, playing in a way that's rather reminiscent of the peaceful, smoky jazz of the first track. Another very minimal, avant garde-section follows, with long, atonal horn drones and high-pitched squealing from either horns or keyboards. Slowly, a more conventional keyboard part enters into this soundscape, and with it come more horn solos. The track ends with several wild horn parts merging into one, until finally the track ends on a sudden, squeaky chord. "The Adventures of Captain Boomerang" is a very long track that feels even longer, but somehow that manages to avoid being a bad thing. Interesting playing and varied themes make for interesting listening throughout, with hardly a bad moment over the entire, massive span of the piece.

So this is a great album, no doubt. To be honest, I can't point to any specific thing that prevents this from being a five star album; it just feels like it falls a bit short, and when I'm deciding between four and five stars I tend to trust my gut and err low. Nonetheless, this is a very good album and a worthy listen for anyone who wants to hear some off-kilter, experimental psych-jazz from the late 70s. Great stuff.

4/5

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Send comments to VanVanVan (BETA) | Report this review (#641608) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, February 26, 2012

Review by chamberry
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars It's a dark Canterbury Scene-like album, compared to what's usually heard in other acts, like Caravan, Supersister or early Soft Machine. The music here sounds riskier too with tight arrangements and mindf*cking compositions. Not one song is wasted in idle play and nothing sounds forced either. As a whole the album flows just perfectly and it gets more intense as the album progresses.

This, for me, is one of the top albums from the wide-ranging Canterbury Scene and one of the more cohesively-sound albums from the Avant-prog tag (like early Henry Cow, but smoother). Hell! It's one of the best prog albums of the late 70's... Look. Just get it, man!

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Send comments to chamberry (BETA) | Report this review (#921492) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, March 02, 2013

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Neo Prog Team
3 stars In 1976 Michael Zentner and Stuart Abramowitz decided to leave The Muffins and the remaining trio recruited talented drummer Paul Sears.Four years after their formation the band still struggled to find some success, even if they had built an underground following in the narrow limits of the Maryland area.In 1977 the quartet decided to move to a house in Rockville, which they transformed into their own studio.Next step was to establish their own record label, thus Random Radar Records was born with the help of Steve Feigenbaum, future leader of Cuneiform Records.Their debut was eventually in the making at the Catch-A-Buzz Studio with four members playing multiple instruments and receiving help by Steve Feigenbaum on guitar, Doug Elliot on trombone, Larry Elliot and Greg Yaskovich on trumpet and John Schmidt on horns.It was entitled ''Manna mirage'', released in 1978.

The short opener ''Monkey with the golden eyes'' followed the trends of laid-back Canterbury Prog ala CARAVAN/NATIONAL HEALTH with smooth electric piano, melodic flutes, some sax breaks and great clarinet parts, developing into a melancholic outro.For half of its part ''Hobart got burned'' sounds like a hybrid of Experimental Rock and R.I.O. with torturing saxes, dissonant bass lines and abstract drumming, but the after-middle offering is a masterful, dramatic, instrumental Progressive Rock with bombastic saxes, furious electric piano and a powerful rhythm section, among the best segments ever composed by the group, with strong VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR and SOFT MACHINE influences.Closing side A is the 16-min. ''Amelia Earhart'', dedicated to the first ever female aviator to fly across the Atlantic Ocean.Again the Canterbury inspirations are more than apparent through the jazzy rhythm sction, the growing and nervous keyboard plays and the unexpected sax breaks.''Amelia Earhart'' will eventually present The Muffins' beloved style in full display.This is complex, jazzy Progressive Rock with saxes, flutes and electric piano in evidence, passing though odd meters, dreamy textures, bombastic interplays and atonal soundscapes, even featuring a hypnotic, ambiental section towards the end with somber saxes and trippy synthesizers.

Very much known for their long, epic instrumentals, The Muffins' debut could not be an exception.''The adventures of Captain Boomerang'' captures the whole flipside of the original vinyl, being another example of over-the-top instrumental Prog with interesting moves, stunning interplays and influences from Jazz, R.I.O. and Canterbury Fusion.This time their style is flavored with pure passages coming from Electric Jazz, led by saxes and piano, but the sound is now more balanced, including relaxed flute-driven themes and atmospheric keyboard soundscapes.The vast majority though is driven by the passion of the band for complex and adventurous music.So this comes as another proposal of highly technical Progressive Rock with numerous shifting tempos, sharp Canterbury-styled interplays, Fusion instrumental battles and excessive sax soloing.The result is often too chaotic, but the tons of changing climates with the superb instrumental lines are definitely a thing to admire.

''Manna mirage'' belongs among the very good albums of late-70's Progressive Rock coming from the States.File next to other quirky US Prog groups such as HOWEVER and FRENCH TV, a strongly recommended album...3.5 stars.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Send comments to apps79 (BETA) | Report this review (#1152280) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, March 22, 2014

Latest members reviews

4 stars Manna/Mirage is a solid alternative minor masterpiece. I don't think the Muffins ever got it together better than this. Think jazzy like Henry Cow jazzy maybe, a la Legend, then go off on a Muffin-esque direction. Lots of fun, raw production, humor and smarts. ... (read more)

Report this review (#81671) | Posted by davEy | Wednesday, June 21, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Their best. Essential to any Canterbury progressive rock collection. Rich and complex, long tracks and a unique musicianship. Saxes and keyboards are the leaders in this music with plenty of breaks and changes of rhythm and chords. Jazzy, rocky, free, a lot of momentuum. ... (read more)

Report this review (#36879) | Posted by | Saturday, June 18, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This is by far the best Muffins album in my opinion because they are doing what they do best. Prog rock with a lot of Canterbury influences. I feel this was the best band of that style in the US at that time. And has remained as one of the best in that genre until today. Easy 'masterpiece' ratin ... (read more)

Report this review (#35863) | Posted by | Thursday, June 09, 2005 | Review Permanlink

Post a review of THE MUFFINS "Manna/Mirage"

You must be a forum member to post a review, please register here if you are not.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | GeoIP Services by MaxMind | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: JazzMusicArchives.com — the ultimate jazz music virtual community | MetalMusicArchives.com — the ultimate metal music virtual community


Server processing time: 0.45 seconds