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Quiet Sun

Canterbury Scene

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Quiet Sun Mainstream album cover
4.12 | 368 ratings | 27 reviews | 30% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1975

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Sol Caliente (7:34)
2. Trumpets with Motherhood (1:47)
3. Bargain Classics (5:48)
4. R.F.D. (3:23)
5. Mummy Was an Asteroid, Daddy Was a Small Non-Stick Kitchen Utensil (6:00)
6. Trot (5:18)
7. RongWrong (9:34)

Total Time 39:24

Bonus tracks on 2011 Expression Records CD:
8. Years of Quite Sun (original demo) (10:33)
9. Trot (10:25)
10. R.F.D. (Warner Bros demo) (6:13)
11. R.F.D. (mainstream session) (2:24)
12. Talking History (interview) (8:01)

Line-up / Musicians

- Phil Manzanera / 6 & 12-string electric guitars, treated guitars, Fender Rhodes
- Dave Jarrett / piano, Fender Rhodes electric piano, Hammond & Farfisa organs, VCS-3 synthesizer
- Bill MacCormick / bass & treated bass, backing vocals
- Charles Hayward / drums, percussion, keyboards, vocals

- Ian MacCormick / backing vocals
- Brian Eno / synthesizers, treatments

Releases information

Artwork: Nigel Soper with Richard Wallis (photo)

LP Island Records HELP 19 (1975, UK)
LP Phonogram 9191 649 (1975, France)
LP Antilles AN-7008 (1975, US)

CD Virgin Japan VJD-28057 (1988, Japan)
CD Expression Records EXVP 15CD (1999, UK)
CD+Book Expression Records EXPCD2R (2011, UK, with 5 bonus tracks)

Numerous reissues

Thanks to Sean Trane for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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Buy QUIET SUN Mainstream Music

QUIET SUN Mainstream ratings distribution

(368 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(30%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(46%)
Good, but non-essential (19%)
Collectors/fans only (3%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

QUIET SUN Mainstream reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
4 stars 4,5 stars really!!

This sole album is one one those UFDisc that make the proghead so happy in his ever-ending search for 70's gems. Phil Manzanera reformed Quiet Sun as a way of letting off steam from the Keyboard-dominated Roxy Music. Although the album has divided credits and all Quiet Sun members shine , clearly the star here is Manzanera : his searing fuzzy guitars soars above the rest of the album.

Sol Caliente is a real classy track and augurs most of the rest of the album , excellent Canterbury fusion but with a definite rock edge. Bargain Classics has typical Canterbury keyboard with spacey guitars: a must hear. The Mummy track is the highlight with a flying guitar solo followed by a superb Jarrett KB solo that is leaning towards his more famous jazz namesake. The only down remark is the last track (unfortunately also the longest) : it is the only sung track (and not really well either, IMHO) but also is rather tedious and over- long.

Too bad because this last track is the sole reason for not getting that fifth star. To some extent , this is the most accomplished album that Manzanera ever played on , and certainly the one where he shows most his abilities at guitar histrionics. His 801 venture is not quite up to par with this gem. A real must for for everyone.

Review by Trotsky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars During a lull in the Roxy Music circus troupe's lengthy 70s run, guitarist Phil Manzanera took the unusual step of revisiting an old previously un-recorded group. Reconstituting Quiet Sun with a line-up that included keyboardist Dave Jarrett, bassist Bill MacCormick and drummer Charles Hayward, he scored a most unlikely triumph (well in a musical sense, not a commercial one!). Quiet Sun's only album is as far away from Roxy Music's standard fare as you can get, being a more overtly progressive set of barn-storming jazz-rock that is not dissimiliar to the efforts of say Hatfield And The North. In fact, this ironically titled album is nothing short of a lost Canterbury classic.

The opener Sol Caliente is a particular highlight, a triumphant spacey jazz-rock exploration ... driving yet unpredictable, quirky yet focussed, it is full of visceral playing from Manzanera and Jarrett. Trumpet With Motherhood is no more than a slight detour ... a brief electric piano/guitar feedback ride, before the band slowly builds into the back-breaking, eternally writhing Bargain Classics, on which Dave Jarrett turns in a momumental keyboard performance that ranks him momentarily alongside those other Canterbury keyboardist Daves ... Stewart and Sinclair.

R.F.D. is another stunner, all atmospheric swirling organ and jazz-inflected electric piano (actually in addition to Jarrett, both Manzanera and Hayward are also credited with playing keyboards, so I can't be sure who's doing what) to create that otherworld feeling we all know and love. Perhaps my favourite track of all is Mummy Was An Asteroid, Daddy Was A Small Non-Stick Kitchen Utensil (there's a title for you!) which brings agression back to the table, with Manzanera's impressive guitar work and a blistering classical keyboard solo (presumably from Jarrett) really stealing the show. A nod too to Hayward's exciting work on the drums.

Trot starts off as a doozy of a psychedelic ride with Manzanera's acidic guitar lines (more than once I was reminded of Robbie Krieger of the Doors) teasing life out of a repeated keyboard figure before a delightful lyrical piano solo unfolds. The raucous guitar that closes out the piece only underlines the unpredictablity of this great album. The curtain closes with Rongwrong, which is certainly an atypical finish, as it is a somewhat lighter piece (despite being the album's longest). It is a strange variety of piano dominated progressive pop (imagine a more adventurous Supertramp trying to make Syd Barrett-like melodies) with rather poor vocals ... courtesy of MacCormick, I believe. He may not do the job as a vocalist, but he definitely stars with an enormous, well-supported bass solo. Despite not quite fitting in with the mood of the rest of the album, I see it as more proof of the impressive array of skills that Quiet Sun possessed.

A true lost classic, I think this album is much better than any single album Manzanera cut with Roxy Music. If anything, despite belonging firmly in the Canterbury camp, Mainstream is a little more spacey and a little more symphonic, than yer "average" Canterbury masterpiece. A real treat awaits you here, folks! ... 78% on the MPV scale

Review by Ricochet
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Quiet Sun's Mainstream is a complex, succulent, abstract-adverted and classic creative album, released with little reference to anything but its own character and to the astonishing or great five artists that face up the ensemble, with different forms of supreme talent, cool groove, transient expansion and even some hot-art independent hard tone. At least by pure feeling, everything he is generous and preciously simple, but tirelessly trademarked and pressed as a vintage, special and pretentious composition. The album has a horizon of music and mottoes so enlarged, that it spreads genuine affection for uncustomary, converted or styled (deeply) interesting qualities. The notes come perfect, the classic off-spread seems frivolous compared to music, plus the band really assudes on highly distractive and double-side expressed full manners and rich humbles - for Mainstream to essentially be the greatest even they worked on (it's the only one, but I'm just saying that a lot of work, under a lot of time, did wonders). After all this, it becomes a bit of unmentionably special rock, music, fusion, space taste and abstraction eclectic development. It's fun but also deadly serious and hard-listened, it sounds round and complete, it is progressive-seeded or concept-art awakened. Where it breathtakes and where it fails really comes to sound as secondary and bit too deeply preferential.

Dave Jarrett works on the complex and feisty keyboard session in Mainstream, but Hayward and Manzanera also join it, the keyboard stuff is huge, addictive and pretty much taken out of normal shapes. Hayward anyhow works on drums and percussion aesthetics, with Manzanera is the crazy, artistic guitarist. MacCormick's bass will, on the other hand, strike that rhythm and that essential vibe in every moment you pretty much get with him. Brian Eno is invited with a lot of synths and...strategies, nothing spectacular, but indeed the closest thing you can associate him to rock. This album gets way too many small hints to Roxy Music and the bands the artists flew in or out in their career, without meaning at all a musical connection.

Following up (all the way) is the album's matter of music and steaming style, finding, in short time, many moments of overwhelming pleasure and quality, reasonable abstract and full hustles of craft, a lot of fusion feed, some purely technical and nerve-plural lines, and deep or distanced (by the success achieved) high mentions of a music's pallet of elements, all of these complementing or contrasting, avoiding or looming each other into Mainstream's various art.

Sol Caliente brings the suspense of Mainstream's greatest writing and playing, having quite all it takes to produce a fever of an art and a high tide of risky motions: a tiny abstract sound-fight introduction, getting more scratching by decomposing & independent guitar riffs, finally reaching a dark-gray main theme, of a small catchy line, but which evolves under a mainly sensational improvisation of poly-fusion; the guitar's insanity, the drums' soft spill and the various key-moods reflect best what hard gulp it all is. The second part is even better, the word of playing it being "excruciating" but meaning "mindblowing". This piece (having taken a whoop of half a paragraph to shallowly get interpreted) is undoubtedly a masterful thing. It is only after this one that good standards continue or stop to appear. The movement, for sure, changes. Trumpets with Motherhood actually is the finale of the previous climax, having hallucinative short lines of guitar and keyboard atmosphere and tangled scratches.

Bargain Classics is bright and interesting, experimental and indescribable at first, then roasted in a tilting furious and ambitioned rock and fusion impact. It's a pulsating and heartbeat-stopping fine massive piece, but it also shares insensitive losses of perspective. The art haunts every pouring spice, the music's idea of saved up expression doesn't even exist, plus the emotion stabs an abstract smash.

R.F.D. gets into a dream of hazes and stormy harmonies, by powerful synth-morphs and keyboard fusion. It's a first contrast in the album, showing the dependent glamor and thirsty rocket science within moody and frightening sounds and clouds.

With Mummy Was An Asteroid, the album starts slipping, this one being a humongous dazzle and mad-wave of all the crashing instruments playing rock and avant-melodiousness, plus sharing a flavoring radical ambition of sound and arrangement, discouragingly psyching up the austerity of art and poly-rock. Great guitar melody and bossy grooves, but that's all.

The album ends soon, with Trot as another abstract fusion fruity loop, rich but imperfect and with Rongwrong as the highest eclectic composition, following a heartless but consistent art of harmony, soft string, dapple explosions and tough to follow juice-beats, plus a more kind and passive instrumental fantasy.

Mainstream can knock down a lot of elementary music and quality, mainly being the work of special artists and properly efficient art-abstract orientations. This is a three-three point five stars album for me, going however on excellent chords, as it tends to be a shot-fix album of rare progressive improvisation. And a geniality strangely spoiled by the music emotion.

Review by Easy Money
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
5 stars This album stands apart from a lot of the other jazz-rock records released in the early to mid 70s in that instead of leaning on short gratuitous melodies that lead to long improvisational sections, this album features well composed melodic development combined with organically shifting sound textures to create one of the most unique fusions of jazz-rock rhythms and progressive rock composition released during this time.

Most of the instrumentals on this album share some common references and influences. The dissonant diminished scale melodies driven by odd-metered rhythms sound similar to mid-70s King Crimson. The freer jazzy sections sound a bit like Soft Machine on their 3rd or 4th album, other sections reflect early fusion artists such as Chick Corea or Brian Auger. The big difference is that this album is driven by sonic texture changes that help push the music forward thanks to the pioneering production work of Brian Eno.

Eno is the most valuable player on this recording. His production skills were ahead of the game at this point making the music a constant shifting kaleidoscope of sound, his "treatments" help the strong melodic developments of Manzanera shift smoothly from one idea to the next.

Two songs stand apart from the others. One of those is R.F.D. by keyboardist Dave Jarrett. This is a beautiful piece of impressionism in the style of Ravel with understated electronic keyboards more similar to 60s lounge interpretations of classical music rather than rock. The other is Rongwrong that features drummer Charles Hayward in a Robert Wyatt style wandering avant-pop song, unfortunately Hayward doesn't have Wyatt's cool jazzy voice. Too bad this is the only release by this amazing band, it would have been nice to hear more.

Review by Mellotron Storm
5 stars These guys had apparently recorded some demos together in 1970 but it just didn't go any further as Bill MacCormick would leave to join MATCHING MOLE, and Phil Manzanera left to join ROXY MUSIC. In 1975 Phil took a month off to record a solo album(Diamond Head) and during that time, and in the same recording studio he got all the guys back to finally make a record. He also gets some help from ROXY MUSIC member Brian Eno. It's also really cool to see actual photo-copies of letters that were sent to Manzanera from record companies that he had sent tapes to in hoping they would release their music. There are replies from CBS Records, Island Records, Liberty/UA Records and Warner Brothers Records.Then as if to counter these negative responses, we get some positive reviews underneath from some magazines back in that day. What I love about this record is the fuzzed out, dissonant, distorted and angular guitar playing of Manzanera. He really does steal the show at times. We also get some fuzzed out bass. The organ, piano, keys and farfisa play from Dave Jarrett is worthy of much applause as well.

"Sol Caliente" is a Manzanera composition that opens with piano and distorted guitar that grinds out some sounds as Eno does his thing. We get a melody of drums and fuzz bass before keys and more fuzz arrives. It settles down to a cool sound of guitar, bass, liquid keys and light drums.This is great ! The sound seems to build before we get some ripping guitar 5 1/2 minutes in that turns angular on us as it goes on and on. Amazing track. It blends into "Trumpets With Motherhood" a short 1 1/2 minute tune with keys, light drums and tons of fuzz all playing at a slower pace than they did on the first track. "Bargain Classics" is a Jarrett tune that opens with odd-metered drumming and other intricate sounds coming and going with no real melody. I'm reminded of HENRY COW. Drums come to the fore 1 1/2 minutes in with keys. Some ripping farfisa organ follows as the tempo picks up. Nice.The tempo continues to shift back and forth. Eno's back at it. Angular guitar comes in. Love this tune. "R.F.D." is a mellow, drifting song with liquid keys and synths. Now for a classic Canterbury title if there ever was one : "Mummy Was An Asteroid, Daddy Was A Small Non-Stick Kitchen Utensil". This is Bill MacCormick's lone composition, but it's a powerful track. It opens with some aggressive guitar and drums before some strange noises from Eno come in. The tempo picks up, more Eno, and the drums are very active 3 minutes in. The guitar sounds incredible 4 minutes in. These last 2 minutes are just a joy.

"Trot" is another Manzanera tune. It opens softly as keys and drums lead the way. Some fuzzed out guitar comes and goes.The bass sounds great. Piano after 2 minutes changes the mood completely. More great bass from McCormick and then 4 minutes in Manzanera starts to make some noise. "RongWrong" is the longest track and also my least favourite.This is the only song with vocals courtesy of drummer Charles Hayward. He may sing in the style of Wyatt but believe me when I say he really takes away from this tune. It starts out uptempo with keys and fuzz as drums pound. It settles down quickly as piano and bass take over. Hammond 1 1/2 minutes in before vocals come in. Lots of hammond and piano. Vocals and a brighter mood after 7 minutes.

I highly recommend this recording.

Review by Atavachron
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The stories behind this Phil Manzanera-led set are numerous including an all night recording session wherein all the primaries were cut, the simultaneous release of his solo 'Diamond Head' which mirrors part of the material here, and a slew of record company rejection letters that rivals the best of 'em, complete with the furiously scribbled notes of a determined artist. It reminds us that even in 1975, perhaps the zenith of progressive music's popular appeal, material like this was a hard sell. But Manzanera had seen some success with Roxie Music, 'Diamond Head' was bound for the charts, and RM bandmate Brian Eno was along for the ride on this one for synth treatments. In musical hindsight, the result was one of the great rock expressions of its time. A truly whole and unique event that seems to happen spontaneously, and though a mere two rehearsals were had it is a fully-realized basement symphony, a dream one afternoon, a young man's triumph and a rare gift.

Eight-minute 'Sol Caliente' could not be better named and achieves a mingling of black fire rhythm and minimalist wave theory, jazz drone and molecular exploration that ends all too soon on the near-perfect (and trumpet-less) 'Trumpets With Motherhood'. Drummer Charles Hayward is alive, his traps mixed in front, partnered by bassist Bill MacCormack's needlepoint thunk and Dave Jarrett's light touch on the Fender Rhodes. A kazoo free-for-all opens 'Bargain Classics' but it's as if the first cut never ended, just got more deeply into an already astounding moment of clarity and madness at once, the players braving the hot soot and sparks given off, pushing deeper with no thought to outcome... the experience of a living, blood-pumping creature, startling in appearance and not a little threatening. Manzanera's classic hard-fuzz guitar tone grounds us to realty when necessary Canterbury style, like a comforting friend during a long mescaline trip. But his leadership is entirely generous and he allows all members to shine, creating the special conditions that made this session what it is. 'Mummy Was an Asteroid' is miraculous, huge, inspired... layered guitar and key lines meeting on the street for some bold infighting, Phil's wailing solos, what Soft Machine could have been. 'Trot' provides a short rest but is equally compelling, Jarrett's soft jazz and Eno's childlike background colors. The infamous 'Rongwrong' finishes and though endless, turns itself into a sweet and not unsingable love song featuring Charles Hayward's slightly off whine and stiff tongue in cheek performance from the band.

Surely a masterwork of its kind though best viewed against the backdrop of prog history, and I suspect the record will please those most who have heard a tremendous amount of music, good and bad.

Review by stefro
3 stars A curiously un-involving, instrumental jazz-prog one-off from ROXY MUSIC and THIN LIZZY guitarist Phil Manzanera, 'Mainstream' is a real oddity. Soundwise it's in that KING CRIMSON/HATFIELD & THE NORTH category, though without the snooty humour or jocular feel of the latter. BRIAN ENO was involved, which explains alot, and the whole package exerts a fairly care-free style, jerking from one experimental phase to the next, rarely tying itself to strong melodies for more than a few seconds at a time. It's more like a series of elaborate soundscapes, veering unexpectedly from harsh, angular moments of instrumental aggression to simpler, softer passages of quiet reflection. Fans of more abstract prog and Krautrock may well find much to mull over, and 'Mainstream' actually has alot of sonic similarites to modern-day Post-Rock groups such as GODSPEED YOU!BLACK EMPEROR or TORTOISE in their jazzier mode. Whilst it's all very fascinating and intricate, it does, unfortunately, have the power to occasionally frustrate, with the deliberately-abrasive style juxtaposing jarringly with the more prog-orientated sections. It's all a very long way from YES, GENESIS or even PINK FLOYD, and it is original and, at times, innovative. But it's also dull, as well as rather aggressive, a fact the lack of vocals only goes to excacerate, making the cosmic selection of sounds and instruments hard to fathom. The oddly-titled 'Mummy Was An Asteroid' is the best track, giving Manzanera space to let-rip with a great solo that brightens up the albums mid-section, but that brief, brilliant moment apart, theres little that gnuinely excites, with the simple truth of the matter being that this LP simply doesn't rock. Jazzy in structure, jaded in execution, this is an interesting-yet-flawed piece of 1970's experimentation. STEFAN TURNER, LONDON, 2009

Review by Kazuhiro
5 stars Their histories go back to 1967. The member who was student's companion actively acts as a band in around 1971 in 1967. They take up the tune such as "Cream" and put out the creation of music of which the color of psychedelic goes out strongly at this time. It talks about guitar player's Phil Manzanera by the following interview when the recorded music was in the state that was not able to be consented so much though they were challenging the recording with an original tune already.

For the member of a main of this band, at that time, the guitar player was Phil Manzanera. And, the drum player is Charles Hayward. The Bass player is Bill MacCormick. Time when the band was formed develops into four person organization that received Dave Jarrett in the keyboard player in 1971 on which it actively acted though was members these three people. And, there was time when wind instrument player's Dave Monaghan was slightly on the register in the band, too. They inquire into a more original music character when becoming this time. It is guessed that the content of the recorded demo tape was not a too good result. The reason is that manzanera announces the sound source of his archives afterwards. We were able to confirm their music characters at that time and directionality by this sound source. They have been very influenced from Soft Machine at this time. And, the band dissolves as it is though the band goes with the tour of Softs and existence has become a phantom. However, the spirit was clarified again by this album and we were able to enjoy music with a high the perfection.

Mnzanera was answered in the following interview. 「I do not think that the music collected to the recorded demo tape is too good as the situation of the recording. However, it is felt that the performed music is very wonderful. I thought that it was very too good not to leave the tune of the band as a record. 」He is talking about this remark at time when this album is produced. The band is formed again in 1974. Manzanera began the production of "Diamond Head" of Solo Album at this same time. His Solo Album and the album of Quiet Sun are recorded to a simultaneous period. However, after announcing this album, they become phantoms again. Music very has originality and ..easy loud tones.. has finished about the quality with an aggressive fantasy though is talking by them and as influencing from Softs and Zappa.

"Sol Caliente" performs "Quietness" and "Movement" in union from a quiet start the band. They really have peculiar feeling. The drum gives the impression tossed about space on the way. And, the guitar explodes again and the impression of the tune is kept by a mysterious unison.

"Trumpets With Motherhood" succeeds the part of the first Coda as it is and is endless. Bass to which also to a minimal phrase of Dave and Bill is distorted twines.

"Bargain Classics" starts from a peculiar drum of Charles and dashes with a peculiar melody. This tune by Jarrett has digested the element of the musician influenced till then well. The flow advances with the tension further.

The tune moves to "R.F.D." that Jarrett composed again. The tune keeps between constant [[&*!#]e] floatages and advances. The shine like the jewel has been shot and the flow of the album has the impression that a little relief is given by this tune.

"Mummy Was An Asteroid,Daddy Was A Small Non-Sticks Kitchen Utensil" is a tune by bass player's Bill. It explodes with the first melody and in twining of the keyboard, is indeed good at bargaining. The composition of a complex rhythm draws out each member's taste as it is. The tune changes into three rhythms and ends suddenly with peculiar feeling kept.

A minimal phrase of Jarrett recalls Mike Ratledge though "Trot" starts from a little rhythmical element. The tune shifts suddenly from a classical element to the part of Rock.

"RongWrong" is a tune in which lyrics exist only in this album. The tune has some melodies in the whole. However, the element that paves [me**] that takes the place has peculiar feeling. There might be feeling of the element and Softs psychedelic as for this tune a little.

Drum player's Charles Hayward is answered in the interview. 「This band obviously has aggressiveness and discharges energy with the feeling of live. Music goes to the most essential part. 」I think that this remark is a remark that remarkably shows the directionality of the music of this band. The band will not be a mistake if always inquiring into essence even with what kind of element. However, Bass player's Bill MacCormick is spoken in the interview. "We wanted to become existence such as Yes and Led Zeppelin" The band is doing very good work including MacCormick though I was surprised at this remark a little. They certainly have a lot of elements of the band that influences it. However, the band has splendidly digested it. I guess that the band with originality like this doesn't exist so much. Ian MacCormick of the brother of Brian Eno and Bill that participates in the recording supports this work from the under. This work might be a valuable band with originality it is important in the work that derives to Canterbury Scene.

Review by snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars This only Quite Sun's album has enough really excellent reviews from best PA reviewers, so it's difficult to add something. Roxy Music guitarist's Phil Manzanera's side project (with another great ex-Roxy Music musician Brian Eno) and some more future excellent Canterbury scene musicians on board.

From the very first sounds you understand, that it is not just a regular album, not a good album, it is a GREAT album. Complex, but very alive and melodic compositions combines both early jazz-rock's not-so-easy listening with great Roxy Music's melodic art-rock tradition. It is not so easy to find such a successful combination of these elements. All musicians are excellent, sound produced and mixed at highest possible level. Every listener will enjoy each second, each sound of this album. Absolutely one of the best early Canterbury scene work.

Yes, the only problem is last song. Charles Hayward's vocals is really very controversial and IMO destroys good composition. Without this, album is a real masterpiece!

For sure 4,5 rounded to 5!

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
5 stars This album, as amazing as it is, was very hard for me to find in the seventies, even in Cambridge Massachusetts, where there was as many record stores back then as there are coffee shops now. But find it I did. And it was well worth the effort.

I'm sure the title of this album, "Mainstream" was meant as something of a joke. The music on it is anything but mainstream. Yes, it has a lot of that Canterbury sound, but it is every bit as much a symphonic album as it is a Canterbury styled one.

Sol Caliente begins with Manzanera's famous Lagrima solo, but then extends through sections that are familiar to "Diamond Head" fans as parts of Frontera and East Of Echo. But in fact, this piece out shines all of those.

Another favorite track of mine is the well titled Mummy Was An Asteroid, Daddy Was A Small Non-Stick Kitchen Utensil. This great Bill MacCormick composition is still one of my all- time favorite prog pieces.

In fact, there is not a bad track on the album.

Review by Warthur
5 stars Phil Manzarena invited his old pals from Quiet Sun, his pre-Roxy Music band, to at long last create the album they'd always wanted to. For four guys who hadn't been in the same band for some three years, the group manage to gel remarkably well, and the album avoids sounding like a throwback thanks to the production assistance of Brian Eno.

Manzarena's distinctive guitar sound is what sets this one apart from many Canterbury albums, but the group as a whole all have a contribution to make and craft a startlingly original album. One can only wonder the impact this would have had on prog history had it come out in the group's prime; the amazingly titled Mummy Was An Asteroid, Daddy Was A Small Non-Stick Kitchen Utensil ends with a furious burst of aggression and the punkish vocals on the closing Rongwrong makes the album at points sound like an arty post-punk piece as well as a lovingly crafted prog gem. Although it was surely a nostalgia exercise for all involved, somehow the album still managed to be years ahead of its time. Amazing.

Review by friso
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.

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Heavy Prog & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
2 stars Before I leave this lifetime I must stand up and post a review of this horrid album--an album I bought back in the 70s and immediately disliked but which, as I do with all of my purchases, I deigned to return to, to give it another chance, always thinking that my tastes, maturity, or musical knowledge would help me to better appreciate the "genius" of this work that so many others extoll.

1. "Sol Caliente" (7:34) nice playing from all members except the grating sound of the second guitarist's rhythm stokes. Melodically the song never really gets into the ear (maybe it's not meant to--what with the experimental scales and chromatic devices practiced in the jazz world in those days). (8/15)

2. "Trumpets With Motherhood" (1:47) a cacophony of sound effects thrown into the wind for a couple minutes. (2/5)

3. "Bargain Classics" (5:48) Are the dreamy keys and/or angular rhythms of this song somehow expected to help us forget or wash away the waste of time and mental disturbance of the previous song that eventually emerges out of the chaos. Not for me! It remains silly, soporific, and self-indulgent. A song that adds nothing positive to my world. (8/10)

4. "R.F.D." (3:23) keys and guitar effects drawn out much longer than they need be. Another odd presence on this album. (7/10)

5. "Mummy Was An Asteroid, Daddy Was A Small Non-Stick Kitchen Utensil" (6:00) interesting for the solo of its odd-sounding keyboard, while structurally it's first two minutes are boring in their straightforwardness. The Fender Rhodes' "Riders on the Storm" keyboard chord progression is distracting from the raunchy, grating rawness of the lead guitar(s). (Why does Manzanera get two tracks for two separate leads?) The rest of the band--drums, bass, and other keys--perform very nicely, with great unity. (8.75/10)

6. "Trot" (5:18) multi-layers of keyboards offset from one another make this song interest--which is hard since the dentist drill sound that Manzanera has chosen is outright obnoxious. Who is Dave Jarrett? He is talented. His work on this jazzy song are the highlight. People love Phil Manzanera's guitar work! I just can't get past the jarring, grating sounds he chooses. And they call this "Canterbury" style music?!?! Go figure! (8.5/10)

7. "RongWrong" (9:34) the lone epic of the album, it opens strongly and then denigrates itself by lurching into a cheezy, syrupy electric piano solo. Phil Miller-like guitar leads a transition into a kind of rudimentary Elton John-like pop section over which male singer opens his delivery. Singer Chris Hayward must have been the only volunteer to take on these duties as he is not very good--not very rehearsed and definitely not of polished singing voice. (Again: Maybe I just don't get it; maybe it's supposed to be bad--for some desired effect that only the British could appreciate.) Bass solo over piano and organ in the middle. Back to the pop song arrangement for the eighth minute. At least the lyrics are fairly loose extemporaneous in the Canterbury tradition. (Was it a tradition?) Sounds so 60s-ish. (17/20)

Three stars; good but not an essential or even necessary listening experience. I'd even go so far as to call it "forgettable." Still, these were professionals; they made a serious (I think) attempt at releasing a sellable album.

Review by siLLy puPPy
COLLABORATOR PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams
5 stars QUIET SUN is a strange little beast. The jazz-fusion band existing in the Canterbury Scene was one of the few to incorporate highly distorted rock guitar in its sound. The band actually started under the ridiculous Pooh And The Ostrich Feather moniker in 1970. The band's existence has everything to do with Robert Wyatt who with Bill McCormick the bassist brought this idea into fruition. MAINSTREAM is the first and only offering from this band which formed and disbanded and then reunited and because of Phil Manzanera's success in Roxy Music allowed this group to reform and record these ideas and finally release this wonderful musical magic in 1975.

The band consisted of percussionist old-school friend Charles Hayward (This Heat, Mal Dean's Amazing Band, Radar Favourites, Dolphin Logic), bassist Bill MacCormick (Matching Mole, Robert Wyatt, 801 w/ Manzanera, Eno, etc) and of course, Phil Manzanera, who is most famous for his lead guitar work in Roxy Music but is also less famous for his Latin American music hailing from Colombia and Venezuela. This album, however, was his very first collaborative effort and what a beautiful one it is.

While MAINSTREAM incorporates all those wonderful, delectable sounds that make up the Canterbury scene of jazz-rock fusion like the beautiful jazz-rock offerings of Hatfield and the North, QUIET SUN offers some serious rock guitar to the mix above and beyond the call of duty. It didn't hurt that Brian Eno participated in the project as well as long time music critic and Nick Drake popularizer Ian MacDonald who not only contributed as a lyricist with QUIET SUN but also lent his vehement support of the band's credentials in the progressive musical world.

Really, how can you go wrong with such progressive classics titled "Mummy Was An Asteroid, Daddy Was A Small Non-Stick Kitchen Utensil"? The Canterbury scene is here in full swing with the addition of excellent guitar contributions. The musicianship is absolutely brilliant and the tracks may need a bit of time to grow on you but ultimately they have won me over big time. This is an album that whispers in my ear that it's time to hear it again.

When i ordered this i expected a simple original album format but i ended up with the 2011 remastered version that is in a strange form of a booklet that explains the entire history of the band and although it doesn't fit neatly in the midst of my CD collection, it does present itself as a standout amongst the crowd in not only packaging but also in its unique approach of incorporating the Canterbury Scene with the hard rock that dominated the mid-70s. I, for one, find this to occupy a unique niche in all of music history at a particular time and place. The irony is that this album which was an idea of the earliest of 70s almost never came to be. I am grateful that it did because it is one beauty in the making.

Review by ALotOfBottle
4 stars Quiet Sun is a one-album project by big names before they were very big. Music on "Mainstream" could be best described as eclectic jazz-rock. Soft Machine and Gong influences first come to mind. You soon find out that Quiet Sun's music is much more than that. The music is mainly based on psychedelic jazz jams with "odd" time signatures, very typical of so called Canterbury sound. Other detectable flavors include those of Henry Cow with a hint of Mike Oldfield-esque ambience in some places.

It took me quite a few listens to find out what is the deal with this album. At times I still do not feel like the music leads to anywhere. However, that can be forgiven. The material on this work indeed is very complex and will only be properly digested by experienced prog fans (and even some of those might not find it enjoyable). The listener is quickly soaked in by difficult jams, that seem familiar. Namely, Phil Manzanera's fuzzy guitar tone is very much like the one heard on Hatfield And the North's debut album. Fuzz organ a la Mike Ratledge and Dave Stewart are also to be heard on "Mainstream". And (again) fuzz bass is a sign of clear inspiration of Hugh Hopper and Mont Campbell. The band draws countless amounts of beautiful musical textures, thanks to skilled use of many keyboard instruments and synthesizers, some of which were played by Brian Eno. The rhythm section provides the excellent canvas for the rest of the band to paint on it. "Rongwrong" is for me the best piece on the album with a bit more structure than other pieces, while "Sol Caliente" is the true essence of the album - featuring jazz rock jams with a taste of psychedelia.

The album is a really difficult work, a complex piece of art. Still, after aproximately 5 listens to the whole album, I find it very demanding. Naturally, it won't please newcommers. However, it should find itself on a shelf of every prog nut. Recommended!!!

Review by VianaProghead
4 stars Review Nš 423

Quiet Sun was an English prog rock band from the Canterbury Scene. It was 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's name came out from an article on sunspots and solar flares that MacCormick's brother, Ian, had been reading, called "The Year Of The Quiet Sun". In 1971, Manzanera left to join Roxy Music, MacCormick joined Matching Mole, Jarrett went into teaching, and Hayward joined to 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". Both albums formed the basis of much of the "801" live shows, which featured Manzanera and MacCormick.

So, coordinating those sessions meant long nights, excellent brew, and cross-collaboration with both Roxy Music's alumni as well as reconvening the old band to reinvent song arrangements and create something fresh. "Mainstream" shows the quartet as anything but a conventional rock act, struggling to establish a unique identity but in the best possible fashion. This album is clearly the other side of the musical coin with distinct variations on "Diamond Head".

Bearing sonic similarities with "Diamond Head", "Mainstream" is a far more unusual affair. The songs and understated nature of the project made the recording almost a tribute to the previous incarnation of the band with hints of the "801 Live" to be. At times the songs feel improvised and in other times 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. Yet, like rock, it well rocks.

"Mainstream" is the first and only album of Quiet Sun and was released in 1975. "Mainstream" has seven tracks. The first track "Sol Caliente" is a real classic track and defines most of the rest of the album. It has some accurate keyboard sounding of the soil and extremely wrapped guitar carvings. The second track "Trumpets With Motherhood" has a soft Hayward fusion background that is enriched by the synth oddities of the wizard Brian Eno, who was invited to the studio by the band. The third track "Bargain Classics" is a bright and interesting experimental track. It's a tripped out percussion driven Jarrett's composition that sealed the deal for me as far as my ranking of this album is concerned. I really love this track. The fourth track "R.F.D." has an absolutely astounding crystal sound. It's a mellow drifting song with nice keys and synths. This is a great tune for a true classic Canterbury title, if there ever was only one classic Canterbury title. The fifth track "Mummy Was An Asteroid, Daddy Was A Small Non-Stick Kitchen Utensil" is a great track due to the work of both, keyboardist Jarrett and Manzanera's playing. It's nowhere near as wacky as its title might suggest. Instead it's a guitar shrunk fest with glittering Caravan's styled keyboard runs. All delivered in an aggressive "Starless And Bible Black" era King Crimson's style. Demos of the band's early works which were sent to various record labels of the day are included, as well as the rejection slips, which further reveals Jarrett as the Mike Ratledge acolyte he truly was. The sixth track "Trot" has a lovely piano solo of Jarrett. It has some nice dynamics changes too, like going from a Steinway part to a screaming guitar riff. Jarrett uses the Steinway grand piano, but also the Rhodes and the Farfisa, which he mixes very well. The seventh track "RongWrong" has always been an oddity among oddities. It bears almost no similarity to a same named track from "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 but wonderful prog rock album, primarily instrumental. When the vocals appear, they're quite different, both in content and delivery.

Conclusion: For me, albums like "Mainstream" and the other British jazz-rock groups provided a stepping stone into jazz proper. They also got me listening to American prog jazz/rock artists like Weather Report, Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock and Pat Metheny. "Mainstream" is thankfully no longer "a lost gem", as many others, as many still refer to it, and Quiet Sun was a missed opportunity for the music industry at the time, and by 1972 they were no more. Thanks to Phil Manzanera's fame with Roxy Music, we have this fitting tribute to a highly talented bunch of musicians, and I for one will keep on going back to play it many times as I want. "Mainstream" is more than 40 years old, but "Mainstream" is still an enjoyable album to listen to. I think "Mainstream" is a little more spacey and a little more symphonic, than the usual Canterbury masterpieces. So, I recommend this album to all prog rock fans. "Mainstream" is really a great album.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

Review by Progfan97402
4 stars For many years I thought Quiet Sun was a spinoff of Roxy Music and Matching Mole, but in reality this group predated those groups having formed in 1970. But then they broke up before anything was recorded with Phil Manzanera going on to Roxy Music and Bill MacCormick to Matching Mole. Dave Jarrett was (and still is) an unknown to me, I know little of him, and Charles Hayward was later in This Heat. By 1975 Quiet Sun reunited likely because Phil made it big with Roxy Music, and Bill in Matching Mole, while obviously nowhere as commercially successful as Roxy Music, had their devoted fans thanks to Robert Wyatt devotees and fans of the Canterbury scene in general.

Mainstream was their only album, released on Island's HELP budget subsidiary (has that black label with the pink "i", a throwback to the 1969-'70 pink label but in reverse) and it's pretty ironic to name it mainstream as it's not particularly mainstream. It's a Canterbury album, think of a more rock-edge Hatfield & the North at times and that's what you get, hard-edged guitar playing from Phil Manzanera, and Dave Jarrett providing organ and electric piano. Eno provides some electronic treatment, I think I hear a little on "Mummy was an Asteroid, Daddy was a Non-Stick Kitchen Utensil" (humorous title that could have easily been on a Hatfield & the North album). "Bargain Classic", and "Mummy Was an Asteroid" shows the more rocking side of the band, while "R.F.D." is dominated by rather dreamy sounding electric piano which is pretty common in the Canterbury scene. "Rongwrong" is full of great arrangements but my least favorite piece on the album as there are vocals demonstrating Charles Hayward is a drummer, vocals not exactly his strong point. Luckily they are sparse but this is one album that would get the full five stars if it were 100% instrumental, or perhaps Eno sings on "Rongwrong", because while he isn't the greatest singer, I had no trouble hearing his voice. Regardless this album is a classic and really deserved to be heard!

Latest members reviews

4 stars The proggiest effort by Manzanera came to life on this album with a short-lived lineup "Quiet Sun". It is often overlooked by those focusing on primary music output by Manzanera/Eno. Not for MacCormick as he was the most versed in Canterbury out of all here. The unknown Jarrett takes most of the ... (read more)

Report this review (#2923524) | Posted by sgtpepper | Tuesday, May 9, 2023 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Quiet Sun is absolutely Canterbury Scene musique. Everything is covered in this fuzzy tone and the percussion has so much energy Compared to other similar bands the music here is somewhat dark and propelled not by keys but guitar. A mostly instrumental affair each track offers a delight for t ... (read more)

Report this review (#2585241) | Posted by Beautiful Scarlet | Wednesday, August 11, 2021 | Review Permanlink

3 stars QUIET SUN were a short-lived, British Jazz-Rock combo. Their line-up included Phil Manzanera (of Roxy Music fame) on guitar. Their one and only album "Mainstream" (1975) has been described as Canterbury Scene music, although none of the London- based band members are actually from the city of Ca ... (read more)

Report this review (#2287641) | Posted by Psychedelic Paul | Monday, December 16, 2019 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Quintessential Canterbury sound. This one-off album of a reformed Quiet Sun band is very enjoyable. The title is tongue-in-cheek. Once you put it on, it becomes evident right away that the band had no intentions of using it to establish a career, score a hit single, or anything. There is no pret ... (read more)

Report this review (#1698819) | Posted by Walkscore | Sunday, March 5, 2017 | Review Permanlink

4 stars A very strange experience indeed. It is almost impossible to describe the one and only album from this band. A band which includes Brian Eno amongst others. The typical avant-garde quirkyness is well represented here. So is the jazz and fusion stuff. Then there is some very melodic parts here ... (read more)

Report this review (#202666) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Saturday, February 14, 2009 | Review Permanlink

4 stars A rare Canterbury classic from 1975: Begins with a guitar driven intro Sol Caliente, later named Lagrima on Phil Manzanera's solo album Diamond Head, which was being recorded at the same time as Mainstream. This album has more of a rockish feeling compaired to other Canterbury bands that use m ... (read more)

Report this review (#126544) | Posted by Jake E. | Friday, June 22, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars MMMMM, always been a bit thrown by the term Canterbury, if the band doesn't actually come from there. (I don't think they do anyway, please let me know if I'm wrong). I can see why this catergory has come up though. Influences of mid 70's SOFT MACHINE are present as well as some snatches of BR ... (read more)

Report this review (#123110) | Posted by kingdhansak | Tuesday, May 22, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I don't have much to add here, except that the vocals on Rongwrong are unfortunately a courtesy from Charles Hayward and Phil Manzanera just decided to record Mainstream because he had rented some extra days at the studio for his other band, Diamond Head. I never thoght I would consider this a ... (read more)

Report this review (#104591) | Posted by Oneiromancer | Tuesday, December 26, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I've read about Maistream in Prog Archives and I was interested in having something of Quiet Sun because of the presence of some musicians of Roxy Music....I picked this up off the internet recently and listened to it knowing nothing about it aside from the fact that it was just really rare... Cant ... (read more)

Report this review (#78909) | Posted by Kord | Sunday, May 21, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars 「What?In the formation of the rock'n'roll band like 50s, were you crazy??」It is a word severely said by friends when Phil Manzanera forms ROXY MUSIC.Bill MacCormick that participates in MATCHING MOLE. Charles Hayward that forms THIS HEAT. If they are regarded, it is a believable ... (read more)

Report this review (#48298) | Posted by braindamage | Sunday, September 25, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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