A Progressive Rock Sub-genre

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Canterbury Scene definition

With many other types of English progressive music developing mostly in London, it may at first seem strange that the old pilgrimage centre and relatively quiet cathedral city of Canterbury, became the centre of this very English form of progressive music and jazz fusion. Originally the Wilde Flowers, a teenage band of members living in and around Canterbury, playing a mix of pop, R'n'B and band members with a developing love of jazz, was formed in the 60's and became the seedling from which the Canterbury Scene grew. Australian beatnik Daevid Allen during a long stop-over at Robert Wyatt's parent's home, a refuge for many left field artists, was to catalyse the evolution of the Wilde Flowers into the fledging Soft Machine and the development of some avant music during the English psychedelic and underground period. From 1963 to 1969, the Wilde Flowers included most of the figures who later formed Canterbury's two best known bands, (The) Soft Machine (Robert Wyatt, Kevin Ayers, Hugh Hopper) and Caravan (Pye Hastings, David Sinclair, Richard Sinclair, Richard Coughlan).

Canterbury was then to be the cradle for several of the more freewheeling British bands of the post-psychedelic era. While fans would suggest this is the home of an English musical quirkiness tempered with quite a bit of whimsy, within the Canterbury Scene's musical spectrum any similarities between Canterbury's major bands, (e.g. Soft Machine, Caravan, Gong, Robert Wyatt, Kevin Ayers, Hatfield & the North, Egg, National Health), are not immediately obvious*. Most bands will be found employing a clever fusion of rock rhythms and jazz improvisation with intellectual song-writing and varying strengths of psychedelia - some would too include folk elements (e.g. Spirogyra), others blues (e.g. Carol Grimes and Delivery). In addition, a number of bands employed various elements from classical music, for instance those bands with Dave Stewart playing keyboards. Whilst there have been a handful of excellent and distinctly different guitarists to play with Canterbury bands (e.g. Andy Summers, Allan Holdsworth, John Etheridge, Steve Hillage, Phil Miller), the lead instrument of choice has been keyboards. One English peculiarity of Canterbury is what the late John Peel called the 'School of Anti-song' because of particular Wyatt, Ayers and Richard Sinclair's approaches to vocals and perhaps the whimsy. More recently Richard Sinclair's vocal style has perhaps accurately been labelled as 'English jazz singing' by Jazzwise (i.e. singing jazz with an English rather than the usual American accent). In addition Canterbury musicians have experimented as avant garde, free jazz players, e.g. instance Elton Dean, Lol Coxhill, Steve Miller.

(*However, once you've heard some Canterbury bands the commonality becomes more obvious - chord sequencing e.g. Caveman Hughscore's electric piano opening on the tune 'More Than Nothing', the vocals, the lyrics etc.)

Both the Soft Machine and Caravan were popular in England's psychedelic/ underground scene before releasing their first albums in 1968, with Machine completing on level footing with Pink Floyd. However, by the early 70's a series of fragmenting changes of bands' line-ups, (Soft Machine went through about 30) and the subsequent formation of new bands, rapidly broadened Canterbury's range, with many newer musicians with only loose and in fact, no previous Canterbury connections. Early Soft Machine member Daevid Allen formed Gong in Paris. Both Kevin Ayers and Robert Wyatt left the Softs because of musical developments they did not like, to begin their own solo careers. By the mid-70's, most the old and new Canterbury bands had progressed away from psychedelia, developing their distinct forms of progressive rock some embracing jazz fusion, many playing extended jams with now limited lyrical input (e.g. Hatfield and The Norths, National Health, Gilgamesh). Caravan became more folky. However, as the 70's progressed several Canterbury bands would lose most of the rock element from their music. Gong retained their psychedelic side longest, but with the departure of Daevid Allen and Steve Hillage in the mid 70's, the band evolved into the percussion-oriented, jazz rock group Gong, which eventually became the modern day Gongzilla. Daevid Allen regained Gong's name in the 90's and through his solo work and with his University of Errors, is still evidently producing psychedelia. Steve Hillage's form of psychedelia evolved into the glissando rock of his own band and then into electronica, by the end of the 70's. In particular, Hillage through his work as a successful record producer of new bands from the 80's, develop his form of electronica through other bands. This music lost much of its complexity e.g. few riffs played over and over, rather than dozens per tune that previously had often typified prog, into a very popular form that is the antithesis of prog, i.e. the various forms of house music, with associated remixing/turntablism. For instance, Gong's "You" got the remix treatment in the 90's - but then to reflect his range of activities, Hillage has also produced and played guitar for Algerian Rai singer, Rachid Taha for over 20 years.

Many of Britain's better known avant-garde and fusion musicians of the 70's and 80's - including Fred Frith (Henry Cow), Allan Holdsworth (Gong, Soft Machine, UK, Bruford) and Peter Blegvad - were involved during their early careers playing in Canterbury bands. And still new musicians join the Canterbury Scene's ranks, Theo Travis being perhaps the most notable recently (Gong, The Soft Machine Legacy). The Canterbury scene was to have a major influence on musicians in Europe, especially France (e.g. Gong, Moving Gelatine Plates), the Netherlands (Super Sister)and Italy (Daedalus), and more belatedly in the USA (Hughscore). Caravan reformed in the mid 90's, while ex-members of Soft Machine could be found in various avant jazz and straight jazz fusion groups, e.g. Just Us, Soft Heap, Soft Works and most recently The Soft Machine Legacy. From the Canterbury Scene, RIO it its various forms has developed.

FOOTNOTE: As indicated above, many Canterbury Scene bands are acknowledged as having played/are playing jazz rock fusion. However, because of their strong Canterbury affliations are listed under "Canterbury Scene" in Prog Archives.

Dick Heath
Based loosely in part on the source: http://www.allmusic.com
(Edition 3, Aug 2009)

Current team members as at 14/02/2014:
Steve (HolyMoly)

Canterbury Scene Top Albums

Showing only studios | Based on members ratings & PA algorithm* | Show Top 100 Canterbury Scene | More Top Prog lists and filters

4.27 | 1307 ratings
4.30 | 633 ratings
Wyatt, Robert
4.27 | 571 ratings
Hatfield And The North
4.24 | 760 ratings
4.27 | 506 ratings
4.23 | 754 ratings
4.20 | 749 ratings
Soft Machine, The
4.24 | 292 ratings
National Health
4.15 | 563 ratings
4.17 | 419 ratings
Hatfield And The North
4.29 | 211 ratings
Quiet Sun
4.10 | 515 ratings
4.12 | 317 ratings
Hillage, Steve
4.26 | 153 ratings
4.11 | 292 ratings
4.12 | 271 ratings
National Health
4.22 | 162 ratings
4.04 | 409 ratings
Soft Machine, The
4.04 | 365 ratings
Soft Machine, The
4.10 | 206 ratings
Picchio Dal Pozzo

Canterbury Scene overlooked and obscure gems albums new

Random 4 (reload page for new list) | As selected by the Canterbury Scene experts team

Greaves, John
Miller, Phil
Moving Gelatine Plates
National Health

Download (Stream) Free Canterbury Scene MP3

Open player in a new window

Download (Stream) Free Canterbury Scene MP3

Latest Canterbury Scene Music Reviews

 Burden of Proof by SOFT MACHINE LEGACY album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.79 | 25 ratings

Burden of Proof
Soft Machine Legacy Canterbury Scene

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars I would highly recommend any of the three SOFT MACHINE LEGACY studio albums. This is the most recent studio release by the band which features Ethridge on guitar, Babbington on bass, Marshall on drums and Travis on sax, flute and Fender Rhodes which really adds to the sound here for me.

"Burden Of Proof" opens with spacey keyboards before it kicks into a jazzy mode around a minute with the spacey keys continuing. Sax joins in but when it stops after 2 1/2 minutes the guitar takes over. They will continue to trade off. A really good track. "Voyage Beyond Seven" is sax driven early on which i'm not big on but man does this turn for the better 1 1/2 minutes in when the sax stops and we get some intricate guitar and other sounds that come and go. So cool. It feels like an improv here, very innovative. The song ends as it began but the middle section just kills. "Kitto" features intricate guitar lines throughout intertwining and complimenting each other. "Pie Chart" is a lazy sax driven tune but I love when the guitar replaces the sax in this jazzy number. Sax is back but the guitar returns late. "JPS" is cymbals and drums throughout. Oh John Marshall you certainly love your solos. Nice piece. "Kings And Queens" is such a chilled tune. This all sounds so good as the flute joins in early before being replaced by the guitar, but the flute returns before 3 minutes. Excellent song.

"Fallout" has lots of prominent sax but check out the experimental section that starts around 1 1/2 minutes in. So good! It ends like it began. "Going Somewhere Canorous?" is a short piece dominated by cymbals and guitar. "Black And Crimson" is a top two track for me. I just love the Fender Rhodes here but the bass, drums and guitar really add a lot as well. The sax replaces the guitar 2 1/2 minutes in but it stops a minute later as the keys, drums and bass continue. The sax is back late. "The Brief" is drums galore early on as the sax joins in. "Pump Room" is so catchy as it really grooves. A really good rhythm section happening here. The sax comes in playing over top but then check out the guitar expressions that replace it. This is great! The sax is back before 4 minutes trading off with the guitar. "Green Cubes" is a top two as well. Sparse sounds come and go including flute, drums and guitar expressions. Man the guitar kills in this one. Sax arrives and some nice bass 3 minutes in but man the guitar begins to light it up later on after the song kicks into a groove. "They Landed On A Hill" features melancholic keys and guitar and they both seem to echo. A very cool way to end this very solid release.

Easily 4 stars and God bless Elton Dean and Hugh Hopper, both former members.

 Moving Gelatine Plates by MOVING GELATINE PLATES album cover Studio Album, 1971
4.09 | 68 ratings

Moving Gelatine Plates
Moving Gelatine Plates Canterbury Scene

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Jazz-Rock/Fusion/Canterbury Team

4 stars Bursting onto the Canterbury Scene from across La Manche in 1971 came Moving Gelatine Plates with a much more dynamic, jazz foundation but with all the requisite quirky, silliness that The Softs had given the world in the previous two or three years. A quartet, the band was greatly enhanced by the multi-instrumental talents of organ and reed player Maurice HEMLINGER. The rhythm section is quite skilled and the compositional content is quite mature. Guitarist Gerard BERTRAM is quite creative and versatile. In my opinion the only song deserving of a full five star rating is the rollicking, hillarious, rollercoaster-ride that is "London Cab" (7:34) (10/10)--though the flute-dominated instrumental "Memories" (3:21) is quite nice. The other songs are far more technically jazz tunes with some experimental production techniques and Canterbury structures. The down-tempo vocal section and final five minutes of "Last Song" is less jazzy and more experimental oddness, but not as fun or engaging as the like from EGG, The Softs, or NATIONAL HEALTH. Culturally, this album is quite an amazing accomplishment to come out of France after all of the political upheaval they had been through. Based on the musicianship alone this album earns a four star rating.
 Hatfield And The North by HATFIELD AND THE NORTH album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.27 | 571 ratings

Hatfield And The North
Hatfield And The North Canterbury Scene

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

5 stars The Canterbury Scene is without a doubt an incestuous one with virtually every representative band having members engaging in the ole switcheroonie with one another throughout the style's heyday in the 1970s. While many bands came and went, none would be able to exemplify this particular type of whimsical jazz-rock-fusion more than the supergroup HATFIELD AND THE NORTH. This band meant business and was in effect a culmination of all the Canterbury styles that came before. A sifted, refined and filtrated jazz-rock-fusion enigma that still sends shockwaves into the first-time listener by impregnating the casual progressive rock lover's ears with music so flirtatious and sublime that if one is not addicted to this particular brand of music yet, the gravitational forces of such magnanimous music will surely be the boon or bane to one's finances, for this particular album in general is one of my utmost gateway drugs into the extremities of the progressive rock archives and beyond the comfort zone from the more familiar and accessible sounds of Yes, Pink Floyd and Genesis. My bank account has never been the same since :P

This is one of those albums that really demands multiple listens for the magic to unfold. Upon first listen i was only dumbfounded. I was not at all accustomed to music like this. This takes the most adventurous of both the jazz and rock worlds and melds them together seamlessly which is a testament to the top notch musicians involved in this rarest of projects, one that is so daring and oblivious to contemporary trends that it actually succeeds in transmogrifying the listener's consciousness into a state of sonic bliss that feels as if it is taking place in a dream state or in an alien setting far away from the mundaneness of the every day world. While i would have never even dreamt of this existing in my top tier of musical pleasures upon first listen, this eponymous debut album with the equally magnanimous followup "The Rotter's Club" have only recently gained enough mojo to blossom into new musical arenas in my world, one where musical genres blur in a sonic firestorm that only tintinnabulates the most pleasant of musical expressions.

Let me speak a bit about this unbelievable music. This is music for the gods and of the gods, for this is truly a prog supergroup of the highest level. This eponymous album comprises the absolute best in the Canterbury jazz-fusion scene and although the music itself focuses more on intricate instrumental prowess, there is more than enough comedic lyrical whimsy to suck the ego out of the transpositional chromaticisms and instead create a beautiful universal sound of surrender where the musical deities take the rei(g)ns and lead to one splendid sounding piece of work. The main players in this game are Phil Miller (Delivery, Caravan, Matching Mole), Dave Stewart (Arzachel, Delivery, Egg, Khan), Richard Sinclair (Wilde Flowers, Caravan) and Pip Pyle (Delivery, Gong) but the subordinate cast is JUST as essential for this brilliant soundscape which is deviously melodic with occasional touches of pure surrealism.

These subordinate entities include Robert Wyatt on vocals, Geoff Leigh (sax, flute), Didier Malherbe (sax), Jeremy Baines (pixiephone, flute), Same Ellidge and Cyrille Ayers (vocals) and the beautiful enchantresses called the Northettes: Amanda Parsons, Barbara Gaskin and Ann Rosenthal. All the tracks connect like an early Soft Machine album and elements of all the contributing players unfold here into a frenzy of some of the most sophisticated music ever to exist in the rock world. HATFIELD AND THE NORTH just nails it. I have to emphasize that this is an acquired taste but just like triple IPA beer or certain stinky varieties of cheese, one that is well worth the effort. This kind of music is truly unparalleled at this point of time and still to this very day remains some of the most demanding yet satisfying music that exists. A veritable masterpiece of the ages that just hasn't been discovered by everyone yet. Inaccessible like the tombs of a long lost undiscovered Pharaoh but beckoning the progressive rock love to explore the nooks and crannies of some of the most sophisticated music ever. Can you tell? I love this one :O

 Of Queues and Cures  by NATIONAL HEALTH album cover Studio Album, 1978
4.24 | 292 ratings

Of Queues and Cures
National Health Canterbury Scene

Review by Suedevanshoe

5 stars John Greaves comes in to play bass replacing Neil Murray on Of Queues and Cures. The result is National Health's Magnum Opus, a culmination of absurd creativity, absurd humor, absurd musicianship, absurd dynamism....absurd as in good.

Incredible riffs intertwine with melodic, pastoral passages and a vocal lament on television addicts, "Binoculars". In addition, this album is the last great feature for the fuzz organ that made the Canterbury sound so recognizable. Dave Stewart belongs at the head of the Progressive keyboardist hall of fame. Check out the beginning of "Dreams Wide Awake"

A must have for all serious progressive collectors, and a possible bridge album for those with no prog experience.

 Transmission from Sogmore's Garden by MAGIC BUS album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.80 | 6 ratings

Transmission from Sogmore's Garden
Magic Bus Canterbury Scene

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Jazz-Rock/Fusion/Canterbury Team

5 stars Canterbury is back! Wonderful, wonderful fare from Devon's Paul Evans and friends. Nobody but nobody has so well captured the CARAVAN 1970-72 sound so well! And yet the songs are each pure and original (with a few borrowed riffs here and there). Excellent musical composition. Wonderfully quirky, hippyish lyrics and happy-go- lucky singing with outstanding contributions from guitars and flutes. Hailing from "transition town" Totnes, Devonshire, UK, Tim has gathered around him a dedicated crew of accomplished musicians who all have one thing in common: they feel that the spirit of the late 1960s and early 1970s--especially the musical spirit of the San Francisco psychedelic rock scene and the Canterbury spirit of SOFT MACHINE and CARAVAN--is still alive and that they are merely expressing themselves in that same spirit.

The album opens with the innocuous little celebration of Nature and the joyous gift Life, "Sunflower" (3:51). It is very much a piece straight our of the hippy folk scene of the 1967 "Summer of Love." (9/10)

2. "Ballad of Lord Sogmore" (5:15) starts out sounding like it came straight off of the 1972 KHAN album, Space Shanty. The acoustic guitar strumming, electric guitar sound and riffs, and Jay DARLINGTON (formerly of KULA SHAKER and OASIS)'s vintage keyboard work make it a dead ringer for Canterbury Scene music. Even Paul EVANS' voice is quite similar to that of Steve HILLAGE (though it is also quite similar to that of Mont CAMPBELL). Then there is the Indian interlude, to seal the deal, before we kick back into KHAN-mode for awesome organ and electric guitar soli. (9/10)

3. "Cosmic Rays of Dawn" (3:47) opens with a gentle Canterburian soft jazz feel with arpeggiated organ chords and single note electric guitar accents before Evans' Robert WYATT-like voice sings a WYATT-like lyric in that emotionally vulnerable Robert WYATT way. At 2:36 an up-tempo, jazzy instrumental section with its trilling flute play ensues to the song's end. (10/10)

4. "Three Days" (7:32) opens quietly before a "Golf Girl" kind of groove establishes itself and the band and the flute play on about the sun, sunshine and nature. At 2:15 a muted voice sings over a bit of a tired-sounding carnival sound. Then, after a little jazzy bridge, by 2:55 we're back to the perky walk-through-the-park song established after the pastoral opening. At 4:10 we shift into a more somber, slowed down instrumental section that preludes a kind of FOCUS "Tommy" section. Very cool! Great groove and awesome guitar play and sound! Flute takes over the soloing around 6:10--for quite a stretch--before that old friend the Canterbury "buzz saw" organ takes a turn. The band in the background is having some fun with it's syncopated up-tempo, and then it's over! (10/10)

5. "Jupiter 3 AM" (8:37) opens with some very spacey synth washes fly around before Paul starts singing with his slowly-paced and well-spaced acoustic guitar strums. Then the full band joins in and the song slowly builds into a foundation for some jazz noodling--which then rather abruptly dissipates into more of an instrumental 'tude. Then the music shifts into a chord and melody sequence that is quite reminiscent of that of NENA's "99 Luftballons" for about 20 seconds before bridging back to a minor key version of the opening music. At 4:55 a slow-bouncing organ and flute prep us for a full decibel breakout into a hard-rock variation on that NENA chord sequence. This then evolves into a swirling, speeding crescendo before some heavy chords are struck in syncopation before letting the music re-establish that happy-go-lucky NENA theme as it was in the fourth minute. Electric guitar and flute get the most solo exposure as the song plays out the final 75 seconds like this. Nice jazz excursion! I just love Jay DARLINGTON's mastery of the Canterbury organ sounds. (9/10)

6. "Seven Wonders" (5:33) opens like an early PINK FLOYD song before Paul EVANS' gentle vocal enters singing in a sensitive Robert WYATT/Steve WINWOOD/Peter GABRIEL way. Love the interplay of the recorder! Slow, plodding song--again, very much in the PINK FLOYD vein continues until 2:55 when a CSN&Y/AMERICA- like harmonized "la-la-la, la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la" bridges us to a heavier CARAVAN-like instrumental section--which just as elusively fades into a flute with guitar strum part before giving way to the real meat of the song: a full out Mike RATLEDGE-like "buzz saw"organ solo! This song has more trouble establishing itself--establishing a flow and identity, but it is still a brilliant reflection of all-things Canterburian. (8/10)

7. "Morning Mantra" (6:55) returns us to that happy-go-lucky CARAVAN music In the Land of Grey and Pink era, with a vocal very much in the style of the great RICHARD SINCLAIR. Flute solo fills most of the third minute before the vocal returns over a delicate arpeggiated descending chord progression. "I love my life" is the dominant lyric in this lazy song expressing one's slow morning love and appreciation for life and all it has to offer. Nice flute and electric guitar interplay in the fourth and fifth minute instrumental sections. "Love, love, love, love," seems to be the message here. You dig? (9/10)

8. "Earthpod" (4:44) the album's final song opens with fade in Mellotron giving way to a gently strummed guitar to support Paul's vocal about this tiny little planet we live on in a kind of lament for the passing of time (which one cannot help but wonder if his intention is with regards to the listening to this album or since the idyllic days of the 60s?). Organ support and the end of the first verse result in the entrance of the full band and the establishment of a more KHAN/STEVE HILLAGE song sound and melody (like "Hollow Stone"). Beautiful! Return to singing the second verse--this time with full band in subtle support (Mellotron, high-frequency flanged electric guitar, drums and gorgeous b vox!) Jay's Mellotron is actually given a solo in the fourth minute! The album closes with harmonized "Ahh"s and emotional flute solo. Gorgeous! (10/10)

A 4.5 star album, this album is so upbeat and refreshing--and polished!--that I couldn't see giving it anything less than five stars. Truly a resuscitation of much that was once wonderful in the Land of Canterbury! One of my favorites from 2014!

 Volume Two by SOFT MACHINE, THE album cover Studio Album, 1969
4.04 | 365 ratings

Volume Two
The Soft Machine Canterbury Scene

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Jazz-Rock/Fusion/Canterbury Team

5 stars Gone are founding members DAEVID ALLEN and Kevin AYERS. The remaining members decide to produce an album as a trio with Robert WYATT on drums and vocals, Mike RATLEDGE on keyboards and flute, Hugh HOPPER on bass and alto sax, and special guest, Hugh's brother, Brian HOPPER on soprano and tenor saxes. What unveils is a masterpiece of supremely melodic and humorous exercises and experiments in modern and psychedelic jazz pop. I find the album eminently enjoyable to this day--one of my favorite start-to-finish 'adventures' in music listening. Each song is interesting for its experimental nature as well as for its lyrical content and instrumental performances. Robert is quite a talented drummer, Mike a wonderfully melodic piano and keyboard player, and the Hopper boys add quite a bit of colour and harmonic beauty. I don't really want to go through each of the seventeen songs, nor do I want to name my favorite or the "five star" songs as to my ears and mind the album is one continuous play experience, but if you really twist my arm I'd go out there to say that "Dada Was Here" is a wonderful composite example of all of the best qualities of this album--with the additional highlight of having Robert singing in Spanish! and that Side One is more engaging and more melodic than the more experimental and more instrumental Side Two--and yet I find the jazzier experimentations fascinating!
 Of Queues and Cures  by NATIONAL HEALTH album cover Studio Album, 1978
4.24 | 292 ratings

Of Queues and Cures
National Health Canterbury Scene

Review by The Frontal Cortex

4 stars National Health is one of those bands I had no idea existed until now. First album of theirs I'm listening and I was really impressed.

The first track "The Bryden 2-Step (for Amphibians) Part 1" is really good and it opens up the album in a way that makes you wanting more which is always important. I just loved the way the keys sounded from the very start and the rhythm which was constantly changing though complicated and hard to follow if you're not used to these kinds of brilliant composition, was in the end more than rewarding.

"The Collapso" was next and it makes me feel like it's continuing a story with the music being similarly confusing. The synths really made a difference but the drums were also exceptional with a very progressive sound. It's one of those tracks I don't enjoy as much but it's still one heck of piece.

The almost 12-minute "Squarer for Maud" has a nice progression from a soft starting sound to the strong and complex one of the previous tracks. The alternation between the guitar and the keys as the lead is really well placed and I especially liked the solo after the spoken words which btw weren't random. Apparently "Maud" is a computer programmed to measure the "numinosity" mentioned. The cello is just excellent choice of a lead for this particular piece. It fitted perfectly and the last one and a half minutes or so were an especially well crafted closing. This one just grows on you.

"Dreams Wide Awake" just captures you from the title alone. Ofcourse the keys here are amazing and the first time I heard it with my eyes closed I was almost certain it would be my favorite track of the album (it turned out it wasn't though). The different sounds created by the keys were incredibly rhythmic and it helped a lot because of the fact that it wasn't as difficult to follow as the previous pieces. The guitar sound here was good too.

"Binoculars" is my favorite one of this album, and it's not only 'cause I always like my tracks with some lyrics in them. It's got a nice little orchestra playing with all the wind instruments after the lyrics. The flute and the trombone were a great choice for the theme of the song. The drumming and particularly the closing guitar were something else and they convinced me that this one was the best in the album. "Phlakaton" is probably the shortest separate track I've ever seen in an album, the only thing I have to say is that it brings back the absurdity of the previous pieces and it leads to the last one.

Finally "The Bryden 2-Step (For Amphibians) Part 2" is kind of a reprise of the first one (also, kind of obvious). I enjoyed it as much as the first one. The keys sound fantastic and the drums are once again showing off. A great way to end the album, with a reprise of the one that started it.

My closing thought is that it's a very difficult album to listen to and although I might need to update this review in the future I'm giving this a 4/5 star rating because it kind of grows on you and I wouldn't call that essential but DEFINITELY Excellent addition to any prog rock collection.

 Egg by EGG album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.70 | 177 ratings

Egg Canterbury Scene

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Jazz-Rock/Fusion/Canterbury Team

4 stars I came into knowing Egg with the followup to this one, The Polite Force, which is one of my favorite Canterbury albums. So, the self-titled debut had a bit of a hill to climb to please me. But it does! I love hearing some of the sounds and rhythms that will later come into make the amazing music of The Polite Force! "I Will Be Absorbed" (5:12) (9/10) is an incredible song: great melodies, great singing, pretty tight musicianship. Definitely a favorite! The Bach "Fugue in D minor" (2:45) (9/10) and their own Stravinsky-influenced "Concerto" (20:41) (8/10) are both quite enjoyable--even the trippy, experimental parts of "Blane" are interesting. But the highlight for me is the piano/organ experimental piece, "They Laughed When I Sat Down at the Piano" (1:21) Perhaps a little autobiographical? The two other vocal pieces, "While Growing My Hair" (4:03) (8/10) and "The Song of McGullicudie the Pusillanimous" (5:10) (8/10) sound a bit dated but, again, this is amazing stuff for 19 year olds! This album is especially noteworthy in that within the next nine months you have the release of the much more 'mature' The Polite Force! Amazing! Also, I like Mont Campbell's voice! 3.5 stars rated up for astonishment factor. (Dave Stewart was Uriel's original guitarist?!!!)
 Waterloo Lily by CARAVAN album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.74 | 419 ratings

Waterloo Lily
Caravan Canterbury Scene

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Jazz-Rock/Fusion/Canterbury Team

3 stars Having come to know Caravan (and, indeed, the entire Canterbury Scene of music) only in the last ten years, I am still struggling to catch up with all of the albums I have yet to hear--including this one. I've listened to snippets over the years but I've only just indulged in ownership of this collection of diverse songs--some of which sound like they came out of vaults ("Aristocracy"), some as if hardship efforts to make hits ("World Is Yours"), some as if the studio's record button was left on all day and then the better parts were spliced together ("Nothing At All/It's Coming Soon," "Songs and Signs"). The only songs that, to my ear, sound as if they are worthy of the Caravan hall of fame are the two that sound as if some real thought and sweat went into them. "The Love in Your Eye/To Catch Me a Brother/etc." is, as most of my fellow reviewers have noted, worthy of "masterpiece" status if not quite on a par with "Nine Feet Underground" and "For Richard..." and the album's title song actually has some real thoughtful, well- rehearsed, well-played and well-recorded music throughout. It is a song that has really grown on my and to which I look forward. Overall, however, Waterloo Lilly falls short of the expectations I've come to associate with Caravan-- especially after getting to know For Girls Who Plump in the Night and If I Could Do It All Over Again, I'd Do It All Over You (which did take more time than In the Land of Grey and Pink).

3.5 stars rated down for inconsistency and a seeming lack of freshness/inspiration.

 Present From Nancy by SUPERSISTER album cover Studio Album, 1970
4.00 | 151 ratings

Present From Nancy
Supersister Canterbury Scene

Review by Dobermensch
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Sporting a dreadfully embarrassing band photo, this looks like it could be the stuff of nightmares.

Pleasingly they use a variant of 'Futura Light' as the header font which is always pleasing to my eye and one typeface that name droppers 'Nurse With Wound' have used with dramatic effect for over 35 years.

Typography tomfoolery out of the way, I have to admit that this is an excellent album which detonates into life almost immediately. Full of quirky upbeat piano, fulsome flute and a drummer with his head firmly screwed on sideways.

Dutch Prog bands aren't exactly at the top of many lists but this just hits all the right buttons for me. It's very 'Canterbury' in sound and the 'Dutch' sounding 'Robert Jan Stips' has a set of vocal cords guaranteed to NOT upset English listeners despite singing in this language. The jammy gits somehow get away with it. I guess it's the soft affected vocal style. Considering this was recorded in in 1970 (The month in which I was born!), I have to say that it's stood the test of time very well. (Unlike me).

'Present from Nancy' is playful and experimental, with some passages sounding like Floyd's 'Ummagumma'. There's also quite a lot of use of that weird stylophone keyboard sound used to great effect by 'Egg' and 'Caravan'. There's a nice airy and light feel to most tunes where you feel you're floating on candy-floss clouds. At times it all gets quite manic as on 'Metamorphosis' which keeps things fresh and lively.

Of particular note is the wonderfully po-faced 'Mexico' which has a superb combination of keyboards and big stompin' drums which hammer away before those cool vocals and complex bass guitar lines frantically batter everything in sight like the big bully in the school playground.

Supersister comfortably deal with odd time signatures in a way that sounds completely effortless which is a commendable achievement in itself. It's also very surprising to hear such a well produced and clear recording from this era when many similar bands sounded like they were playing inside a closed cardboard box with the microphones on the outside.

'Present from Nancy' is their most energetic release. A cheery upbeat album, which at the same time displays a lot of originality and experimentation. It's made all the better by the distinct lack of guitar which was quite uncommon for Prog bands of this era.

Data cached

Canterbury Scene bands/artists list

Bands/Artists Country
KEVIN AYERS United Kingdom
THE BOOT LAGOON United Kingdom
BRAINVILLE United Kingdom
CARAVAN United Kingdom
CLEAR FRAME United Kingdom
COS Belgium
DELIVERY United Kingdom
EGG United Kingdom
THE GHOULIES United Kingdom
MICHAEL GILES United Kingdom
GILGAMESH United Kingdom
GONG Multi-National
JOHN GREAVES United Kingdom
GRINGO United Kingdom
STEVE HILLAGE United Kingdom
HUGH HOPPER United Kingdom
JAKKO M. JAKSZYK United Kingdom
KHAN United Kingdom
THE LODGE United States
MAGIC BUS United Kingdom
MATCHING MOLE United Kingdom
MILLER & COXHILL United Kingdom
PHIL MILLER United Kingdom
MOOM United Kingdom
THE MUFFINS United States
PANTHEON Netherlands
PAZOP Belgium
JOHN G. PERRY United Kingdom
PIP PYLE United Kingdom
QUANTUM JUMP United Kingdom
QUIET SUN United Kingdom
SHORT WAVE United Kingdom
SOFT HEAP United Kingdom
SOFT MOUNTAIN Multi-National
SOFT WORKS United Kingdom
VOLARÉ United States
ROBERT WYATT United Kingdom
ZYMA Germany

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | 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: 0.11 seconds