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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:
(Edition 3, Aug 2009)

Current team members as at 19/4/2020:
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Canterbury Scene Top Albums

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

4.30 | 1855 ratings
4.30 | 938 ratings
Wyatt, Robert
4.28 | 842 ratings
Hatfield And The North
4.25 | 1073 ratings
4.28 | 771 ratings
4.24 | 1103 ratings
4.26 | 486 ratings
National Health
4.18 | 1072 ratings
Soft Machine, The
4.22 | 614 ratings
Hatfield And The North
4.17 | 805 ratings
4.14 | 727 ratings
4.25 | 297 ratings
4.13 | 449 ratings
4.12 | 429 ratings
National Health
4.29 | 172 ratings
Moving Gelatine Plates
4.10 | 468 ratings
Hillage, Steve
4.13 | 349 ratings
Quiet Sun
4.10 | 412 ratings
Soft Machine, The
4.05 | 544 ratings
Soft Machine, The
4.15 | 230 ratings

Canterbury Scene overlooked and obscure gems albums new

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

Muffins, The
National Health
Hopper, Hugh
Miller, Phil

Latest Canterbury Scene Music Reviews

 Pazop by PAZOP album cover Studio Album, 2016
2.94 | 9 ratings

Pazop Canterbury Scene

Review by Beautiful Scarlet

2 stars A short album alike other quirky jazzy progressive rock from the Netherlands/Belgium/France coming from the 70s. Pazop is pretty silly, I quite like the instrumental work, nice drumming/bass and impactful keyboard. On the other hand the vocals can be rather odd. Male vocals like Tom Walts and alot of jokey shouting/talking.

Bami, Lychee Si opens with what the instrumentals one can expect from this album, stellar e piano, squeaky violin, versatile flute and funky/driving bass/drums. The only female vocals on the album come in at around two minutes and remind me a lot of Pascale Son of Cos. Then one gets their first dosage of the albums carnival music. Then the music ends and French (?) comes in then wordsalad chanting "Bami Lychee Si Don't Call Me Chicano". This song does a good job summing up everything one will find on the album.

Harlequin Of Love is a very old sounding song, mid 60s? Vintage yet quite catchy, "I'm the HA-A~A-laquin of lOve! Of looove." The singer does a good job, there English is impeccable. The track also features some nice e piano and segues into the next song.

Can It Be Sin begins with ominous flute over distortion. The song gets calm after this with cymbals emulating waves as violin plays. After male vocals come in to croon "Can It Be Sin~". Then the song erupts and heads into a bombastic piece that quickly returns to the vocals. The bombast returns but this time the the singer sings along with it using equal grandeur.

And The Hermit Will Be The Master kicks off with piano then heads into the kind of instrumentals that colour this album. The vocals on this track are not as distinct as on the previous tracks. There is also saxophone with some kind of effects giving it a plastic quality, lovely. Towards the end of the track one is graced with the tracks title being shouted out and some laughter which does not kindle joy for me.

M. M. M is a pretty instrumental where the keyboard and flute really shine. There's even a bass lead part towards the end.

In The Army (Devil Likes Smoke) opens with shouting then enters a military March and talking. I hate this song, makes me feel like I'm watching a movie or listening to a musical.

Track 7 opens with a solid rhythm over which a tapestry of keyboard magic is weaved. Two minutes in the flute takes the lead in all its overblown glory. At four minutes the song has a chaotic breakdown and enters a spoken section, again atrocious.

It's the end is as the name says the closing track. It's pretty much echoey vocals bidding the listener goodbye, cute.

Overall If you like artists such as Kandahara, Frank Zappa or Supersister you should definitely check out Pazop. I for one find the vocals to be a massive obstacle on the album as when the human voice appears on Pazop it is usually quite ugly.

 Andiamo in Giro di Notte e ci Consumiamo nel Fuoco by HOMUNCULUS RES album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.93 | 77 ratings

Andiamo in Giro di Notte e ci Consumiamo nel Fuoco
Homunculus Res Canterbury Scene

Review by Beautiful Scarlet

4 stars 4/5*

Most of the songs are pretty good, though I find many to be in indistinct and forgettable. Generally speaking the songs are short, maxing out at 6:43 but this time is spent pretty well, the songs all have vocals, done in a manner reminiscent of Richard Sinclair without going so far as to be considered imitative.

Overall while this is a good album, I find if a few tracks had been removed, extended and some redone as instrumentals the album would be a lot better. If you like chill bands like Supersister or Hatfield And The North then give this a spin. Canterbury Sound Score 5/5

 Mild Profundities by ANTIQUE SEEKING NUNS album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2003
3.58 | 27 ratings

Mild Profundities
Antique Seeking Nuns Canterbury Scene

Review by Beautiful Scarlet

2 stars So ambient.

It's Pissing Don opens with percussion and is joined shortly by chill keyboards and bass. This song is very much so about building an atmosphere. There are some stops that ultimately return to the same mellow soundscape albeit seen through the eyes of different instrument sets. The song ends with tinkling, maybe water, maybe pee?

Little Machines opens with acoustic guitar and soft vocals. At around 3:30 some synths play lead which is probably the highlight of the EP for me.

M.O.D.A.R strikes me as really annoying, it's pretty much just five minutes of synth pad plus extremely distorted snare (you'll hear it and know what sound I'm talking about).

Keeny Woka Phoola is a brief track with a bit of vocals towards the end that start glitching out.

Earth Song With One Sugar opens with a staccato synth providing rhythm while other instruments slowly develop the song. At around 2:30 a full set of instruments join hands. This subsides pretty soon and the electronic ambient returns. The last minute has an argument added on plus "munchkin voices". Actually really annoying to me because the track till this point has done nothing to earn anything odd like this.

Overall this is a somewhat unpleasant release in my opinion due to all the ambient spacey moments and some of the moments of Earth Song With Sugar/MODAR are straight up agitating enough to move this down to 2* territory. One should come expecting a really strong post rock/electronic influence.

Canterbury Sound Score 2/5

 The Winstons by WINSTONS, THE album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.91 | 131 ratings

The Winstons
The Winstons Canterbury Scene

Review by Beautiful Scarlet

4 stars 4/5, absolutely no more and no less.

This album reminds me of Robert Wyatts whole career taken and blended up, then left to simmer in a barrel somewhere. Along the way some things break down, become ~indie rock~ and in 2016 you got The Winstons.

Nicotine Freak opens politely then becomes one of the more rocking tracks on the album with pretty catchy vocals (most of the vocals on here). It's a solid track but definitely one of the ones I like less due to the singing style on it. Diprotodon is sung in Japanese which pleases my ears and has some lovely Saxophone moments.For track three I don't really like the verse but I like the chorus and the bridge is a wonderfully distorted reward. On A Dark Cloud opens with sounds and builds to a powerful vocal section that climaxes, then floats for a bit, has a false end then closes with 1 minute of excellent instrumental work. She's My Face has an American lounge singer quality, it's a nice brief track. A Reason For Goodbye is the most Soft Machine track on the album, opening with what actually sounds like Joy Of A Toy. While it briefly has some vocals reminiscent of Nicotine Freak (albeit better) this track is mostly a dark instrumental with fun changes that really show why this album is filed under Canterbury Scene. Dancing In The Park With A Gun has nice delicate vocals and a bridge on par with the previous track. I have one minor fault with this song which is the vocals before the instrumental part strike me as unnecessary. Track 8 opens and closes with Italian talking. In between that is 2:30 of distorted keyboard playing. Tarmac closes the album, this one is a bit boring, I think the previous song would have made a better closer. Number Number is a bonus track that's like Diproton but a tad worse due to inferior instrumentation.

Overall this is a great album, I think fans of early Soft Machine/Robert Wyatt would get a kick out of this album. Definitely expect a strong Indie Rock influence though. Canterbury Sound Score 4/5

 Dogged By Dogma by GHOULIES, THE album cover Studio Album, 1982
3.21 | 11 ratings

Dogged By Dogma
The Ghoulies Canterbury Scene

Review by Beautiful Scarlet

3 stars Mostly 4 minute long tunes with a very 80s style.

It's like the Canterbury Scene version of 80s Jethro Tull.

Listening To My Neighbours Singing is a good opener as it shows the core of this album, new wave with a somewhat strong Hatfield And The North tinting and somewhat lengthy bridges.

Sexist Conversation is similar to the previous track but it has a neat little instrumental in it where the upbeat song gets real calm which gives it some nice contrast. Then it kicks into some shouting and back to the song.

Social Workers is also like the previous track although it has more focus on the vocals which is a negative in my eyes as the chorus is one of the albums weaker ones.

Hollow Cost this one starts with a distorted organ (?) and deeper singing mixed lower in the track alongside random background chatter. It then heads into a tune more alike the others of the album. The organ riff returns for a second and the track head into a nice instrumental workout led by keyboard then just ends.

Make Sure Your Garage Is Large Enough opens with e piano which is replaced by synths for a second then e piano returns alongside female scatting. Soon the scatting becomes actual singing and it's quite pretty, goes well with the instruments. The synth returns again for a second and the scatting returns then is replaced by a jam with the synth on lead. Honestly the warble (?) synth shouldn't have been used, should have just used the epiano or guitar.

Stabbing Cats this one right away opens with a stilted rhythm and Charlie Summers talk singing over it. There's a synth solo for a bridge, the song returns and boom, it's done.

CS's this one starts calmly with flute (might be flageolet) then the track begins and all is well until the refrain for me. Too silly for me, the vocals on this one are somewhat ugly and the lyrics are pretty lame. "Custard Slices theeere not the same, Custard Slices theeere not the same!" This one ends with a cool Tom part.

Look Mum No Hands is the longest song at about six minutes. Part one opens with bell like synth then heads into a bass lead instrumental section. After a stop which makes this not feel like one song, part two begins with an atmosphere recalling the first parts opening. Then boom keyboard led section (this might be the beginning of part three). After a nicely done dual keyboards workout the song ends on some calming epiano.

A Large Lounge And Yawn is horrible, not even two minutes long but wow. half of it is just treated vocals shouting no. The second half is organ over quirky percussion. Not a good closer in my eyes.

Overall this is a fine release, I think fans of 80s music could really enjoy the album. Canterbury Sound Score 4/5

 Manna/Mirage by MUFFINS, THE album cover Studio Album, 1978
4.14 | 103 ratings

The Muffins Canterbury Scene

Review by Beautiful Scarlet

3 stars I've waited some time to review this album, odd.

Monkey With Golden Eyes is a pretty opener to the album, nice e piano soft bass and gentle wood wind. Halfway through the song adds marimba trills and while repetitive the song slowly gets louder due to the addition of various instruments saxophone, violin etc. Effective opener.

Hobart Got Burned opens with the ending of Monkey With Golden Eyes but quickly becomes saxophone squonking. For me this is a risky sound to use as it can destroy what was built up or lead me to disappointment with what follows. Sadly, this track does not work for me. Fortunately the song does build into something more musical but the quality of it is not high enough to justify the earlier sounds. I don't like that the only difference is pretty much a thumping bass drone, the energy level is unchanged, the saxophone still squeaking about. To really rub salt in the wound one is granted seconds of organ, only for it to be taken away. Hobart Got Burned ultimately does not build up into something very good, just some bass gets added when I would have wanted keyboard shredding and thunderous percussion alongside popping bass.

Amelia Earhart opens slowly, with sparse percussion slowly moving towards something. Boom, drums bass and keyboard bring the volume up, lovely entrance. Saxophone joins in to, I believe there are two harmonizing? The song then gets a bit quieter and goes through some fast changes, nice. Screechy violin over bubbling bass and speedy cymbal hits then all of a sudden it goes quiet then it changes again with great attention to mixing a variety of moods, calm sections of flute, to loud crunchy lead lines to literal screams to instruments nobody uses, pennywhistle!? After going through some fast changes for quiet some time (very clean transitions btw) an ambient section begins and takes the song to its unsatisfactory fade out ending. This song is pleasant to listen to but I find it suffers hard from a lack of identity for me and that ending really hurts.

The Adventures Of Captain Boomerang opens quietly with flute and e piano forging a beautiful pastoral soundscape. Then the flowers are torn asunder as Saxophone takes over and drums shatter the ground while Bass burns shrubbery. From here one enters a world of fast changes like the previous track. It's mostly pretty good, engaging music but I'm left a bit heartbroken by the constant interruptions of high energy sections with moments of nothing. I wish the sections were chained together better, too broken, too many holes preventing the song from reaching the highest levels of ecstasy. I also wish it was paced better, the song just stays kind of constant for the first fifteen minutes, despite constantly changing the overall energy level is actually static and pretty low. Also at around fifteen minutes for a couple minutes there is more ambient filler [&*!#] like the previous song then saxophone over slow bass and drums, so still low energy. Honestly this "climax" could have been so much better if the rhythmic support was better, aka if it's was faster then turtle pace. Anyways as per usual this section ends for some seconds of silence then tinkling piano then it builds up again to some nice full band work then again drops the ball then just ends, beep. Slow section -> fast section x 10 -> ambient filler to make the songs real beefy then fast section -> slow section until tape runs out = Track 4

Overall this is a pretty solid debut that could use better organization of sections in my opinion.

 Transmission from Sogmore's Garden by MAGIC BUS album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.80 | 73 ratings

Transmission from Sogmore's Garden
Magic Bus Canterbury Scene

Review by Beautiful Scarlet

3 stars Get ready for a glass of sunshine, peace, love and good vibes~

So I'm just going to get this out of the way I hate the lyrics of Magic Bus and their singer has their own style of singing which unfortunately I despise as they sound like one singing while regurgitating ice cream. Additionally, the band indeed recalls the sound of pre Girls Who Grow? Caravan however, they also have a strong Psych pop influence so their music definitely puts a lot of focus on making songs. In simpler words this album is not very jazzy or avant garde.

Since others have already gone over the songs sound I'll just briefly go over the tracks so one can see my opinion on the components that make up this album.

Sunflower has a nice vocal harmony refrain, cute little opener. Ballad of lord sogmore opens nicely with a slight edge due to the organ and has some charming old times vocals. Cosmic rays of dawn is neat I like the vocals and there is wonderful medieval esque bridge. Three Days/Departure I somewhat dislike due to its chipper refrain. I like the instrumental that is departure so this track is okay. Jupiter 3Am mostly instrumental, it's a nice tune, could be bolder but still, I like it. Seven Wonders it's okay, kind of strikes as every song on the album blended into an average tune. Morning Mantra oh boy I hate this song. It consists of the most sickeningly syrupy lyrics I've ever heard. It isn't just the lyrics but the whole song that's just so happy. I'll be honest this song absolutely hurts the album for me, especially as it's one of the longer numbers. Earthpod is the most indie rock song on here, very chill acoustic led song. It's pleasant and ends the album well.

Overall I don't dislike this album but I don't like it largely due to the overwhelmingly positive lyrics and cheerful music. Canterbury Sound Score 4/5

 Voici la nuit tombée by TRAVELLING album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.52 | 32 ratings

Voici la nuit tombée
Travelling Canterbury Scene

Review by Beautiful Scarlet

3 stars Sometimes I wonder with these bands from the 70s if they listened to other 70s bands that would have only predated the by less then a handful of years. With this band I really hear authentic Canterbury Scene music absolutely in the vein of Egg with lovely sedated vocals.

The titular suite opens with up nicely with bass and gentle organ, everything is very promising. It's got a slight gothic pigmentation, especially when the fuzz organ breaks loose, unleashing a slow but ominous cacophony, supported by bass/piano/drums. Angular transition check. The song then gets jazzy with a smattering of piano chords in a higher register over a deep organ drain. Then one is greeted by singing au Francaise in a familiar Canterburian style. A sublime little organ solo over the same rhythm/piano chords kicks the lead away from the vocals. Singing returns for a moment to allow fuzzed out organ to take one by surprise as it howls. Different vocals come in which are quite beautiful. The distorted organ returns to play call/repeat with the singing. A stripped down interlude introduces faster bass and actual jazz piano. This fades out to ruin the song with ambient avant- garde sounds, sad. I think this part is unnecessary as the song had already gone to a chill section, what was needed was some high energy balls to the wall climaxing, not the complete evisceration of the song. Anyways after a few minutes the jazz section returns but with an organ solo, rather then piano. For a while the song goes through some fast changes of short little interludes. Finally it arrives at a piano conclusion, driven by a fast rhythmic backing. There is a tiny bit of scatting which lead to a reprisal of earlier vocal parts. Piano ends the song from here. This song loses my interest halfway through which is a shame as it's pretty good until then. The suite as a whole flows well but the quality just plummets for me after the piano drum bass section begins at around 9~ minutes.

Flamenco starts side two with piano chords plus bass plus drums plus scatting reminiscent of Robert Wyatt with a Romance language accent. Organ takes over halfway through, driving the song to its conclusion.

Side two is actually just two (maybe one) suite like side one but it's arbitrarily divided into different songs. Anyways Passo opens with fast piano arpeggios that go nonstop which is pretty good, lots of energy.

Soleil begins with piano chords and alternates between lead lines, arpeggios and block chords. It definitely is "brighter" then the Passo. (Some of Soleil is played on Organ)

Tout Compte Fait opens with wonderful piano strums and sparse but engaging bass work. The last has a somewhat definitive ending and there is some space in between Soleil and Tout Compte Fait so I don't think this song is connected to the previous three. Anyways this song is very calm peaceful music.

Shema starts where Tout Compte Fait left off and adds some drums, bass, organ drone and vocals (low in the mix deep scatting) to give the suite some meat. This track ends fading out, it's good.

Overall I find the songwriting to not be particularly great, I love the sound they were going for but the music is not outstanding enough. Solid debut, kind of a shame they didn't release 1-3 more albums to really develop into Travelling rather then a generic Canterbury Scene artist. Also there is actually not very much organ on this album rather there is ALOT of acoustic piano. Canterbury Sound Score 5/5.

 Cold Cuts by GREENWOOD, NICHOLAS album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.61 | 44 ratings

Cold Cuts
Nicholas Greenwood Canterbury Scene

Review by Beautiful Scarlet

3 stars Think not of Canterbury but of Crossover and straight up rock n roll if one track were to be done away with.

Track one opens nicely with piano then transitions to a non fuzz organ, organ solo. The final section is flute and some vocals that should please fans of Khan. It's a fine track, definitely the most memorable.

After this one gets rock music in the tradition of The Rolling Stones circa late sixties/seventies. There is some variety, piano ballads (Close The Doors) Realisation and Death builds up neatly for a good finish to the album. The lyrics are also pretty solid, very down to earth, no fantasy here.

Overall I think this is a fine album that would appeal to fans of Rock music more then one interested in the land between Jazz Fusion and Progressive Rock such as myself. Canterbury Sound Score 2/5

 Present from Nancy by SUPERSISTER album cover Studio Album, 1970
4.05 | 251 ratings

Present from Nancy
Supersister Canterbury Scene

Review by prog_traveller!!

4 stars The debut of Supersister offers pleasant, lively jazz rock, performed mostly by flute, bass, organ and drums, with occasional, rather reserved vocal interludes by Robert Jan Stips. The music is very reminiscent of Soft Machine (Hopper and Ratledge), especially when it comes to the bass and organ work. However, a piano is used here and there (in "Present From Nancy" for example) and through the singing (which is vaguely reminiscent of Richard Sinclair from Caravan) and Geest's excellent flute playing, this music gets a very special note.

There are rather wild passages, with a distorted organ and a grandiose, rumbling fuzz bass ("Memories Are New", "Metamorphosis") as well as lively, jazzy moments with brisk flute playing ("Present from Nancy", the Beginning of "Memories Are New") and relaxed, floating sections, with elegiac flute, soft keyboard carpets and the occasional use of vibraphones ("Dreaming Wheelwhile", "Dona Nobis Pacem"). The whole thing is very keyboard-heavy (organ-heavy), with certain classical influences (Bach), e.g. in "Metamorphosis" or in "Dona Nobis Pacem". But the 4 Dutch guys also have a sense of humor. This is proven, for example, by the bossa nova in "Coorporating Comboboys" (in which an electric guitar is briefly used), the 20 seconds "Eight Miles High" at the end of "Metamorphosis" and the end of "Dona Nobis Pacem" ( where the mysterious organ sound carpets dissolve into a lively interlude of fair organ and spinet).

"Present from Nancy" is a successful debut of a band that is now unjustifiably almost forgotten. Robert Jan Stips is an impressive keyboardist who can be placed next to Dave Stewart, Alan Gowen or Mike Ratledge. Geest's way of blowing the flute is also worth a positive mention! Anyone who appreciates Soft Machine and Caravan or generally the Canterbury sound should have no problems with this disc!

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Canterbury Scene bands/artists list

Bands/Artists Country
KEVIN AYERS United Kingdom
BIG HOGG 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
MANNA / MIRAGE United States
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
ZOPP United Kingdom
ZYMA Germany

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