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CANTERBURY SCENE

A Progressive Rock Sub-genre


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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 | 1204 ratings
IN THE LAND OF GREY AND PINK
Caravan
4.30 | 581 ratings
ROCK BOTTOM
Wyatt, Robert
4.28 | 519 ratings
HATFIELD AND THE NORTH
Hatfield And The North
4.25 | 701 ratings
RADIO GNOME INVISIBLE VOL. 3 - YOU
Gong
4.28 | 460 ratings
SPACE SHANTY
Khan
4.23 | 687 ratings
IF I COULD DO IT ALL OVER AGAIN, I'D DO IT ALL OVER YOU
Caravan
4.21 | 715 ratings
THIRD
Soft Machine, The
4.18 | 393 ratings
THE ROTTERS' CLUB
Hatfield And The North
4.15 | 524 ratings
FOR GIRLS WHO GROW PLUMP IN THE NIGHT
Caravan
4.22 | 271 ratings
OF QUEUES AND CURES
National Health
4.28 | 195 ratings
MAINSTREAM
Quiet Sun
4.10 | 483 ratings
RADIO GNOME INVISIBLE VOL. 2 - ANGEL'S EGG
Gong
4.13 | 303 ratings
FISH RISING
Hillage, Steve
4.23 | 156 ratings
TO THE HIGHEST BIDDER
Supersister
4.12 | 255 ratings
NATIONAL HEALTH
National Health
4.06 | 384 ratings
THE SOFT MACHINE
Soft Machine, The
4.23 | 141 ratings
VIVA BOMA
Cos
4.09 | 273 ratings
THE POLITE FORCE
Egg
4.01 | 338 ratings
VOLUME TWO
Soft Machine, The
4.05 | 208 ratings
PICCHIO DAL POZZO
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

BEFORE A WORD IS SAID
Gowen, Miller, Sinclair, Tomkins
SOFT HEAP
Soft Heap
ABBIAMO TUTTI I SUOI PROBLEMI
Picchio Dal Pozzo
GILGAMESH
Gilgamesh

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Latest Canterbury Scene Music Reviews


 Theatre Royal Drury Lane by WYATT, ROBERT album cover Live, 2005
4.02 | 48 ratings

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Theatre Royal Drury Lane
Robert Wyatt Canterbury Scene

Review by rusty

4 stars Yes, that hidden weird backwards then forwards coda (just 2 minutes of it) of looped Alifie, then a very angular guitar (surely fred frith?). what an oddity. the album is - yes I know the sound slips a little... ever been to a rock concert?... but the emotion is all there. Wonderful. Well, I just wnted to add that short piece of info, as I have had the album for 3 years and never heard that hidden track till tonight (after 3 minutes of clapping and 3 of silence... ) I did wonder what the 12 minute running time comprised. Maybe not every CD has this? Be interested to hear which ones do.
 In The Land Of Grey And Pink by CARAVAN album cover Studio Album, 1971
4.27 | 1204 ratings

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In The Land Of Grey And Pink
Caravan Canterbury Scene

Review by Horizons
Collaborator Post/Math Rock Team

3 stars Not as colorful as I imagined.

The Canterbury Scene as a genre really appealed to me early on during my explorations of the genres here on Prog Archives. It was light, quirky, playful, yet had wonderful musicianship mixing fusion into catchy pop-like songs. Every album I touched in the genre failed to disappoint and so I simply just ran down the list of artists and gave each of their higher rated albums a go. I was blown away by the experimentation of Soft Machine's Third, the virtuosity of National Health, the power behind Quiet Sun and so on as I continued looking into the bigger names of the genre.

Caravan was a slightly different experience. Now being one of my favorite Canterbury Scene band, I absolutely love their first 5 albums - except this one. I began with this album because it was, and still is, the highest rated Canterbury Scene album on Prog Archives. I was immediately annoyed by some of music on the album and was just quickly turned off by it. I continued to If I Could I'd Do It All Over Again..and just was in love. The stark difference in enjoyment between the two "masterpieces" of Canterbury Scene was just confusing. Even today, after more listens to In the Land of Grey and Pink, I just don't enjoy it nearly as much as any other Canterbury enthusiast. I find Caravan's other early work and other Canterbury Scene albums in general to simply be more successful and enjoyable.

For Side 1, we have shorter compositions and the pop-song qualities that Canterbury so often brings. Unfortunately we start off with the aggravating "Golf Girl". Richard Sinclair's vocals on this track and throughout the entire first half just are just grating on me. I find Pye's lead vocal contribution on "Love to Love You" not only tolerable but actually enjoyable. I've never disliked Sinclair's vocals prior, but I think when they're stuck in the middle of Golf Girl's weak, boring instrumentation and just lackluster lyricism they just are dragged down even further. I hate to come off so strongly, but even the ending piccolo solo and general outro can't save Golf Girls falling flat as a Canterbury pop song. "Winter Wine" brings things up a bit with more a more enjoyable delivery from Richard. His voice sounds airy and gentle. The extra two minutes we find on Winter Wine, compared to Golf Girl, really shows with a more tight composition with Pye's great lead guitar and other small, but noticeable offerings in passages leading up to the ending. "Love to Love You" is the shortest track on the album, just clocking over 3 minutes and somehow pulls off the bouncy, merry pop song more successfully than Golf Girl. Pye's lead vocals are great, the chorus is quick and catchy and we are given a wonderful flute solo for the outro. Overall this song takes Golf Girl's style and composition, compacts it and delivers a more enjoyable song. By the end of Side 1, we're given the title track, and by then I'm a little bored. Again we have a very simple, accented bouncy song with no edge, twists, or stand-out attributes. This song just embodies the first half overall unfortunately: a little too samey and far too weak especially when being compared to the brilliant album before this.

Now onto an interesting matter: Nine Feet Underground. Taking up the album's entire second side is a 22- minute epic by Caravan. This piece is a bit of a mixed bag for me. While it has some fantastic moments such as some great singing by both Richard Sinclair and Pye Hastings (to whom I prefer), fiery leads and solos, enjoyable keyboard textures, and some feel-good bass grooves, I just feel the song drags a bit sometimes. It has a hard time getting started, sure you can see it as coming out with some solos but I feel nothing is really being said by them and the structure comes off a little "by the numbers". Takes about 8 minutes for the rhythm section to really get an interesting pocket going and personally I think the song as a whole gets a little lost after it goes through some of the distinct phase changes. Enjoyable some of the time, though I feel that the ambition of the epic loses me.

In the Land of Grey and Pink just falls flat for me. Their previous album "If I Could I'd Do It All Over Again.." is a dignified masterpiece, and my favorite Canterbury album, but I just get a sense that a lot of the magical melodies and Canterbury flair was all used up around the time of this record. A Side 1 plagued by monotonous compositions and a surprisingly annoying sound while Side 2 just can't keep the heat it builds up every so often, ending up with a semi-enjoyable but obviously 22-minute long composition. In the end I would recommend any other album from Caravan from their '68-'73 period.

 Of Queues and Cures  by NATIONAL HEALTH album cover Studio Album, 1978
4.22 | 271 ratings

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Of Queues and Cures
National Health Canterbury Scene

Review by Thai Divone

5 stars I don't remember exactly when I first heard them, but to this day they are still with me. It's a band that is so unique, and so magnificent, that I don' really have the words to describe what I feel for them. Hearing their melodies make my smile uncontrollably, and for ages I hummed their melodies (and it ain't easy, mind ya). And yet, I don't think that I can leave them outside of my reviews list, even though the rating is clear from the first sentence.

"The Bryden 2-steps (for amphibians) part 1" opens the album, with some birds and a synth, with some soft organ sounds. Some keyboards-bass noes follow, and for the first 2 minutes nothing really happens. And then the song explodes, with a great guitar motive that just screams perfection. The rhythm in here is just magical, and the organs just complement the guitar beautifully. The song continues through a series of metamorphoses, before a little bit after the 4 minutes mark it changes again, and then again. At the 5 minutes mark begins a new short section that sounds like its coming from a fifties jazz show, before we get back to our variations on the motive, with a great solo guitar beginning at the 6 minutes mark. The keyboards-guitar duet in the closing section is no less than pure minimalist genius.

"The Collapso" is a different beast, with a great rhythm and a nice play on this unique style. The overdrive guitar is magnificent, and actually- every line, every instrument role in here, is just so demanding and complex that one can just listen to every instrument on its own and still be amazed, not to mention the combination. And even so, the percussions in here just steal the show for me.

"Squarer for Maud" opens with a great bass line, with some very dark and claustrophobic overtones. Over this repetitive line layers are added and instruments just try to top each other, without really breaking free or seeing some light at the end of the tunnel. After 2 and a half minutes the Henry Cow influence is finally taking the lead, with some avant-garde sounds and textures, joined by an amazing guitar solo. The saxophone answers greatly to the call, before the song changes back and the tempo is rising slowly but steadily. As we come closer to the 6 minutes mark layers are taken out, but the avant-garde factor rises at the speed of light. And then, a short silence before some spoken poetry takes center stage, and the guitar goes soloing a few seconds later. It still sounds dark and morbid, even though it is now carrying some more weight. Clarinet is added next, after the tempo rises again, and the keyboards do their usual magic. As we come towards the end, the piano, the drums and the cello take the stage, leading us closer and closer towards the unavoidable end. The entire song has a Henry Cow vibe to it, which is only fitting and a huge win for me.

Dreams Wide Awake opens with some of the craziest organ lines ever put on a vinyl, with the added beauty of a great bass and drums combination to complement it. Stewart here sounds like he took way too many drugs, 2 and a half minutes and the song changes completely, and the entire band just do some magic tricks in the recording studio. The mood and tempo change regularly and continuously, and the meter doesn't stay the same for more than a few seconds. The guitar starts soloing at the 6 minutes mark, before a change of pace and mood takes place. So the guitar just goes dueting with Stewart.

Binoculars opens with a Hammond, creating an atmosphere of loneliness. After a minute the bass joins in, and vocals kick in 20 seconds later. The drumming is quite, yet outstanding, and the short bridges are beautiful. A strange lament on the addiction to television, way to relevant to our days. The flute solo, beginning around the 3 minutes mark adds another layer of genius, and then the rest of the band join back in, slowly, really slowly, making them sound even more like a jazz ensemble than they sometimes sound. The drumming grows much more prevalent, and a nice keyboards solo comes next. Then we slow down for a dramatic interval, and then we get a little avant-garde bridge utilizing a few saxes and other wind instruments. Vocals come back at around the 8th minute mark. We get another wonderful guitar solo to close the song, with the bass and the drums playing melodies that are just as wonderful if not even more.

Phlakhaton is a quick change of pace before we get back to The Bryden Part 2, beginning with a great keyboards line with some great drumming and bass lines underneath, and then the guitar kicks in. the atmosphere here takes the center stage, with the variations on the first part taking the second, smaller one. What a great way to close a perfect album?

I guess that by now it is pretty clear- for me it a solid 5 stars. I can't imagine a collection without it.

 Live Herald by HILLAGE, STEVE album cover Live, 1978
3.74 | 52 ratings

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Live Herald
Steve Hillage Canterbury Scene

Review by steelyhead

4 stars I need to make something clear: I am in love of Genesis and Steve Hillage. In that order. I don't care what others reviewers are saying. This Live record is a MUST in any prog music collection.

I really think that if you look "underrated" on Wikipedia there will be a post on Steve Hillage, He is adventurous with his guitar playing and the phrasing is unique.

What happened to him? Where is He now? The whole collection of his CD's are on heavy rotation at home. And this one is the crown in the group.

A must for any fan of Vai, Satriani, Bonamassa to learn from the master.

 Toot by MOOM album cover Studio Album, 1995
3.13 | 9 ratings

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Toot
Moom Canterbury Scene

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars The story of this English band officially starts in 1992, when guitarist/singer Kristian Hartridge got back to Northampton, after spending sometime in Birmingham, to meet with old friends Andy Fairclough (keyboards), Greg Myles (drums) and Jim Patterson (bass), at the time playing with a band called Medicinal Compound.With Rob Falmer joining on guitar and Toby Kay on wibble noises they spent their saved money to the recordings of a cassette in 1993.They visited The Enid's Robert John Godfrey local studio and the cassette was titled ''Helicopter tortoise collection''.The band then made a gig in London, gaining some fame in magazines and drawing interest by the Delerium label.As a result their 93' cassette was relaunched in 1995 in CD and LP formats under the title ''Toot''.

Moom had desbribed themselves as a THE GRATEFUL DEAD meet THE SOFT MACHINE ensemble and they made quite a nice statement, as in ''Toot'' they combined some sweet psuchedelic and acid tunes with soft jams and lovely jazzy plays, which always have a certain 70's atmosphere.You wouldn't call them actually a full-blown Prog band, they were more of a Psychedelic Rock group with strong jazzy components, keeping tight links with the Canterbury scene and the smooth, jazzy lines of CARAVAN and HATFIELD AND THE NORTH.You should also add some strong Funk aesthetics in the process plus some of the late-60's Psych/Pop moods of the early Canterbury bands.The superb vintage attitude comes not only from the band's main influences, but also from Andy Fairclough's exclusively analog keyboard equipment, comprising of a clavinet, an organ, a Rhodes piano and a Moog synthesizer.First few tracks of the album are rather smooth with mixed funky, psychedelic, jazzy and poppy vibes, sweet melodies and a strong British flavor in vocals and sounds, occasionally becoming energetic through some sporadic interplays and jams, especially via Fairclough's great keyboard themes.After the half the album becomes very progressive with a pronounced jazzy and Fusion approach,, leading to long tracks with extended instrumental fests and a richer sound overall, while the band never moves away from the elaborate style of Canterbury/British Psych music.The two long cuts feature also some of the best guitar work executed by Kristian Hartridge in the album.

A must-have for all lovers of 70's British Psych-flavored music and the Canterbury scene.Sweet musicianship with intense vocals, soft interplays and endless moments of jamming and jazzy semi-masturbations.Recommended.

 Theatre Royal Drury Lane by WYATT, ROBERT album cover Live, 2005
4.02 | 48 ratings

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Theatre Royal Drury Lane
Robert Wyatt Canterbury Scene

Review by jazz2896

5 stars How this album hasn't gotten more attention is beyond me. Released from the archival tapes long thought missing, in my view this is easily one of the top five Canterbury albums ever released. The lineup is utterly mindblowing, including Hugh Hopper, Fred Frith, Mike Oldfield, Nick Mason, Dave Stewart, and of course Robert himself to name just a few. Based on this lineup alone I'm surprised this album isn't more popular, but such is life. On to the music. Rock Bottom itself is a masterpiece in every way imaginable, and every single track from that album is represented in this glorious live set. The beautiful, yet frail arrangements on the studio album would be impossible to reconstruct in a live setting, so a carbon copy of the studio tracks was never going to happen, but how these tracks are transformed is where the beauty of this album lies. The songs are all beefed up with the individual talents of each of the players, who are all able to stretch out during each piece, which adds a new flavor to songs. The largest deviation from the studio album would be in the track Little Red Riding Hood Hit the Road, where the trumpet loops are replaced with a jumpy guitar and bass riff, and the result is nothing short of astounding. Wyatt's voice in this live setting sounds as passionate and charged as ever, perhaps moreso than on the studio album. The non Rock Bottom tracks are excellent as well, representing various eras of Wyatt's musical career at that time. One of the largest complaints of this album has been the sound quality. The first 2/3's or so of the album has excellent sound quality, every instrument can be heard clearly. For 1974, the sound quality is excellent. While the last ⅓, yes the sound quality dips, but not to the point of being unbearable. I would say the sound is about on par with Welcome Back My Friends to the Show that Never Ends, which to these ears is a perfectly listenable album. Overall, this release is an easy 5/5, recommended for anyone interested in Wyatt's music, the Canterbury scene, and progressive rock in general. It may even be a good access point to Rock Bottom for those who find it to be too sparse and bleak. I cannot recommend this album enough.
 L by HILLAGE, STEVE album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.64 | 130 ratings

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L
Steve Hillage Canterbury Scene

Review by steelyhead

4 stars I don┤t care what other reviewers are saying. This is a fine example of a four stars CD: "Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection". Mine included, of course.

I know, I know, I have a soft spot for Hillage. Whenever I hear his guitar I am reminded of someone who is free, He is a gipsy after all, and I am very jealous of him.

The music here is infused in a Utopia enviroment (listen to the keyboards) but to hear Don Cherry on the trumpet against a layer of keyboard music is superb and the guitar playing, as I said, is just marvellous.

Sorry, this is just as good as the first one. Get It soon.

(marginal note) I really miss Didier Malherbe.

 Double Egg With Chips And Beans by ANTIQUE SEEKING NUNS album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2006
4.38 | 18 ratings

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Double Egg With Chips And Beans
Antique Seeking Nuns Canterbury Scene

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Wow, this is good stuff and I'm not talking about the plate of food on the album cover. This is all top notch music and it's a shame that all we got from this band were 3 E.Ps, but they are chock full of amazing music. Not only is there a Canterbury sound here, but the music is also tinged with the right amount of jazz and neo-prog. These are humorous songs with lyrics that could have come from 10cc but the musicianship is what I wish 10cc had, but for the most part, didn't. Then at least we would have had a lot more of this music to listen to. Another reviewer said that the best way to listen to these songs is to put all 3 E.P.s together on one disc so that you had a full album's worth of excellent music and I would agree wholeheartedly with this.

The first two tracks are complex progressive numbers with a full band, the 3rd is a nice soft piano-led instrumental and the 4th track a full-band FZ inspired instrumental. What you get here is a thimble-full of excellent prog music. When I saw this was considered Canterbury, I expected something akin to Blondel with acoustic instruments and folk-sounding vocals. That's a completely false idea. This music is mostly electric, probably closer to Spock's Beard but much better and more authentic, plus the vocals are not as annoying. How can it be that more people haven't discovered this?

Highly recommended music to all. There is nothing really difficult to grasp in this music, but it is conventional prog at it's finest. Well-done and these nuns are definitely worth seeking. 5 stars. Not too many E.P.s out there can have the distinction of being rated 5 stars. The only other one I can think of is from GY!BE. Find this now and let's form a revolution to get more music like this! I can't do this on my own people!

 Radio Gnome Invisible Vol. 3 - You by GONG album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.25 | 701 ratings

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Radio Gnome Invisible Vol. 3 - You
Gong Canterbury Scene

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars The end of the Radio Gnome Invisible concept and practically the dissolution of the classic Gong line-up comes in 1974 with the third part of the trilogy ''You''.Pierre Moerlen's younger brother Benoit joined the band on percussion and Daevid Allen decided that this would be more of a team effort.He recalls: ''...I was contributing a lot of the material, that it was too much my original creation. It was time we created something completely together, so we booked up a cottage in England...we connected so strongly together out of the improvisations, we just improvised and recorded it...''.The album was recorded at the Manor Studios in London in July 1974 and was released on Virgin in October.Simon Heyworth, who had collaborated with Mike Oldfield and Clearlight, was the producer of the album.

This was denitely the most intense of all Gong albums, extremely dense in sounds and sights and an amalgam of jazzy improvisations, spaced out experiments and psychedelic weirdness.Tim Blake offers some of his best synthesizer work to be delivered in a Gong album, very cosmic and cinematic with some nice guitar parts by Hillage and the occasional jazzy tastes as proposed by Didier Malherbe's elegant flute lines and powerful sax assaults.''Master builder'' is a masterpiece of the style with great sax work over the guitar and synth moves, while ''A sprinkling of clouds'' may sound a bit hypnotic with its extended synth soundscapes, but ends up to be another Gong weirdness with a full jazzy background and the flute/sax prevailing in the second half.Additionally the sweet vocal parts and the light interplays connect the band for the first time with the delicacy of the Canterbury scene.''The Isle of everywhere'' and ''You never blow yr trip forever'' are the two long cuts (over 10 minutes each) dominating the flipside of the original LP.You cannot blame Daevid Allen for carrying ''...some wonderful acid and we took this acid together as a group...'' back at the time, the result was a pair of cosmic, trippy and deeply psychedelic Jazz-oriented pieces with narcotic rhythms, some funky injections and excellent guitar work by Hillage, while the second cut contains some of the most complex themes executed by Gong in a combination of Heavy/Psych Rock, Fusion and Space Rock with ethereal female voices, flute-led soloing and intricate guitar/sax moves.

Epitomizing what Space Fusion is all about (along with Clearlight).Propably the best part of the Radio Gnome Invisible trilogy, the team effort had done good to the final result, which contains all of the Gong familiar elements: Psychedelic colors, jazzy interventions, poppy vocals and spacious landscapes.Strongly recommended...3.5 stars.

 Gazeuse! by GONG album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.92 | 291 ratings

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Gazeuse!
Gong Canterbury Scene

Review by steelyhead

5 stars Why to give 5 stars to this album? Because It is the perfect Jazz/Rock Fusion album. So far It is my favourite CD from this group.

It is a brand new group, different Gong, no Daevid Allen, no Steve Hillage but Holdsworth is different in a good way.

Sorry, this is not Canterbury, this is a group on fire with a fenomenal drummer at the helm (just listen to the first song It gives me chills everytime I listen to It).

A solid record from a group who has a lot to offer yet. No silly lyrics, in fact there is no lyrics at all but You will not need them. This is just perfect.

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Canterbury Scene bands/artists list

Bands/Artists Country
DAEVID ALLEN Australia
AMOEBA SPLIT Spain
ANTIQUE SEEKING NUNS United Kingdom
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
MILLER, SINCLAIR, TOMKINS GOWEN United Kingdom
JOHN GREAVES United Kingdom
NICHOLAS GREENWOOD United Kingdom
GRINGO United Kingdom
HATFIELD AND THE NORTH United Kingdom
STEVE HILLAGE United Kingdom
HOPPER DEAN TIPPETT GALLIVAN United Kingdom
HUGH HOPPER United Kingdom
JAKKO M. JAKSZYK United Kingdom
KHAN United Kingdom
THE LODGE United States
MASTER CYLINDER United States
MATCHING MOLE United Kingdom
MILLER & COXHILL United Kingdom
PHIL MILLER United Kingdom
MOOM United Kingdom
MOVING GELATINE PLATES France
MR. SIRIUS Japan
THE MUFFINS United States
NATIONAL HEALTH United Kingdom
PANTHEON Netherlands
PAZOP Belgium
JOHN G. PERRY United Kingdom
PICCHIO DAL POZZO Italy
PIP PYLE United Kingdom
QUANTUM JUMP United Kingdom
QUIET SUN United Kingdom
RICHARD SINCLAIR United Kingdom
SOFT HEAP United Kingdom
SOFT MACHINE LEGACY United Kingdom
THE SOFT MACHINE United Kingdom
SOFT MOUNTAIN Multi-National
SOFT WORKS United Kingdom
SUPERSISTER Netherlands
TORTILLA FLAT Germany
TRAVELLING France
VOLAR╔ United States
THE WILDE FLOWERS United Kingdom
ROBERT WYATT United Kingdom
ZYMA Germany

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