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Canterbury Scene • United Kingdom

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Quiet Sun biography
Formed in 1970 - Disbanded in 1972 - Reformed in 1975 only for recording sessions

QUIET SUN originated from a Dulwich College band named "Pooh and the Ostrich Feather" and disbanded as various members evolved into other groups. As a side project to ROXY MUSIC, guitarist Phil MANZANERA teamed up with Bill Mc Cormick (of MATCHING MOLE fame), Dave Jarrett and Charles HAYWARD ( ex-HIGH TIDE and future GONG, and future "touche--tout" in the early 90's) reformed QUIET SUN and made this sole album called Mainstream that defides any classifications. With the help of Brian Eno, this album is full of superb interplay with long tracks every member writing two tracks except for Mc Cormick only one. Later on, Manzanera and McCormick will form the 801 group that will also release two albums.

Recommended to progheads liking UFO's from the 70's. This is almost one of those lost gems except that it was never lost.

:::: Bio written by Hugues Chantraine, Belgium ::::

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4.20 | 302 ratings

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Showing last 10 reviews only
 Mainstream by QUIET SUN album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.20 | 302 ratings

Quiet Sun Canterbury Scene

Review by Walkscore

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 pretense of this album having any meaning, other than the group wanting to record it for posterity. I don't find it especially original, although it has sufficient numbers of odd time signatures, fuzzy/jazzy solos, and fun quirky musical humour (one totally imagines bemused and bespectacled musicians) that mark it as quintessential Canterbury scene in style. Indeed, it even has the drummer singing like Hastings/Wyatt! (albeit sparingly thankfully - most of the album is instrumental, and the vocal is the weakest part of the music). On the whole, this is recommended. It is enjoyable all the way through, and flows well. But it is not the missing holy Canterbury grail, and does not match the best of the Canterbury scene (early Softs, Caravan, Hatfields, etc). I give it 8.0 out of 10 on my 10-point scale, which places it just inside the 4 PA rating.

 Mainstream by QUIET SUN album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.20 | 302 ratings

Quiet Sun Canterbury Scene

Review by ALotOfBottle
Collaborator Heavy Prog Team

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!!!

 Mainstream by QUIET SUN album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.20 | 302 ratings

Quiet Sun Canterbury Scene

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.

 Mainstream by QUIET SUN album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.20 | 302 ratings

Quiet Sun Canterbury Scene

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 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.

 Mainstream by QUIET SUN album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.20 | 302 ratings

Quiet Sun Canterbury Scene

Review by friso
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Quiet Sun - Mainstream (1975)

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

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

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

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

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

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

 Mainstream by QUIET SUN album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.20 | 302 ratings

Quiet Sun Canterbury Scene

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

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.

 Mainstream by QUIET SUN album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.20 | 302 ratings

Quiet Sun Canterbury Scene

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.

 Mainstream by QUIET SUN album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.20 | 302 ratings

Quiet Sun 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!

 Mainstream by QUIET SUN album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.20 | 302 ratings

Quiet Sun Canterbury Scene

Review by Kazuhiro
Prog Reviewer

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.

 Mainstream by QUIET SUN album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.20 | 302 ratings

Quiet Sun Canterbury Scene

Review by stefro
Prog Reviewer

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

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