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MAGIC BUS

Canterbury Scene • United Kingdom


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Magic Bus biography
Hailing from the transition town of Totnes, Devonshire, England, MAGIC BUS are a band that freely admits that they think they are still producing music of the psychedelic era of the 1960s and early 1970s. Their sound definitely conjures up early psychedelic jazz of Canterbury Scene bands CARAVAN, SOFT MACHINE and STEVE HILLAGE though it also takes inspiration from the psychedelia coming from the West Coast of the USA in the late Sixties (specifically JEFFERSON AIRPLANE, THE GRATEFUL DEAD, CROSBY, STILLS & NASH).

The band features one time KULA SHAKER member and OASIS sideman, Jay DARLINGTON on vintage keyboards, singer-guitarist Paul EVANS, Terence Waldstradt on lead guitars, and Viv GOODWIN-DARKE on flute. In 2011 the band self-released their self-titled debut album and, in 2014, the follow-up,'Transmissions from 'Sogmore's Garden'.

::BrufordFreak::

Magic Bus official website

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Transmission From Sogmores GardenTransmission From Sogmores Garden
Import
Imports 2015
Audio CD$17.76
Magic BusMagic Bus
Import
Imports 2015
Audio CD$17.99
$15.29 (used)
Phillip The EggPhillip The Egg
Import
BACTG 2017
Audio CD$14.73
$29.99 (used)
Transmission From Sogmores GardenTransmission From Sogmores Garden
Import
BACTG 2017
Vinyl$31.96
Magic Bus by Magic BusMagic Bus by Magic Bus
Imports
Audio CD$48.39
Lost In CirclesLost In Circles
Bip Bip Records 2011
Audio CD$15.99
Baby BirdBaby Bird
Bip Bip Records 2010
Audio CD$15.99
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MAGIC BUS discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

MAGIC BUS top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.33 | 29 ratings
Magic Bus
2010
4.06 | 51 ratings
Transmission From Sogmore's Garden
2014
3.88 | 40 ratings
Phillip the Egg
2017

MAGIC BUS Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

MAGIC BUS Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

MAGIC BUS Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

MAGIC BUS Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

4.05 | 3 ratings
Seven Wonders / Eight Miles High
2015

MAGIC BUS Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Magic Bus by MAGIC BUS album cover Studio Album, 2010
4.33 | 29 ratings

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Magic Bus
Magic Bus Canterbury Scene

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars I had to track this one down after really enjoying their sophomore release "Transmission From Sogmore's Garden" and while I feel this is a step down from that one I still highly recommend this their self-titled debut. Love the cover art on this album by the way. Like the second album I thought of Canterbury with that distorted organ along with GONG and VIOLETA DE OUTONO.

"City Of Sand" opens with spacey atmosphere before a slow but catchy rhythm kicks in then the guitar starts to play over top before it kicks into a full sound with organ. Nice bass before 1 1/2 minutes then the song changes completely after 2 1/2 minutes as we get a calm with vocals and strummed guitar. It does build some with bass and drums but it's still laid back. I like his voice. Back to that catchy rhythm before 5 1/2 minutes then the vocals return.

"Magic Bus" is a song the kept getting stuck in my head this past week. We hear the sounds inside a bus before we get these CSNY-like vocals and harmonies that take over. Love the distorted organ, very Canterbury-like. What a feel good song this is when the vocals arrive along with the harmonies on the chorus. More distorted organ after 3 minutes followed by flute then guitar to the end.

"Gods Of The Mountain" is such a relaxed tune with almost spoken vocals to begin with. A slow beat, bass, keys and guitar in this slow moving start. It picks up after 2 minutes but then settles back with flute as the vocals step aside. It sounds like mellotron before 4 minutes followed by those almost spoken vocals. It picks up with flute then the guitar takes over. It becomes more passionate as well.

"Tucan Pyramid" opens with harp. Did I just say harp? Also relaxed vocals as harmonies and organ follow. It picks up 2 minutes in followed by distorted organ. It picks up even more then the guitar leads followed by organ as they continue to trade off. "Holy Road" is live and it does sound different as the sound quality isn't as good but it's fine. A folky tune with vocals and guitar leading the way.

"Milky Way" opens with nature sounds as this guitar melody arrives and rises in sound. GONG comes to mind with this song. Soon bass, flute and more join in but it's still mellow. It kicks into a fuller sound before 1 1/2 minutes. That guitar led melody from earlier is back and the vocals return as well. So good! Love the bass here too along with the flute. The tempo speeds up quite a bit surprisingly 5 1/2 minutes in but again check out the bass.

"Back To The Garden" is my favourite but the rest are all fairly consistent and well done so no top three this time. Birds can be heard in the intro as relaxed vocals and harp join in. Vocal melodies and organ follow then it kicks into gear before 2 minutes. Man this is amazing! Nice guitar 2 1/2 minutes in as the vocals step aside. Check out the bass 3 minutes in as the vocals return. Oh my! A nice instrumental section follows with organ before 4 1/2 minutes. A calm with vocals a minute later then it kicks back in again without vocals this time. Great tune!

Another solid album by these Brits and having heard they just released a new one, well I obviously need to track it down and get back on that hippy bus.

 Phillip the Egg by MAGIC BUS album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.88 | 40 ratings

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Phillip the Egg
Magic Bus Canterbury Scene

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Magic Bus have pretty strongly established their style in the two albums preceding new release Phillip the Egg, and they don't really deviate from it here - again, it's an intoxicated bland of Canterbury-esque whimsy (drawing largely on the warm humour of Caravan and the mystical interests of Gong) with West Coast hippy sensibilities, as well as tight jamming in the instrumental sections reminiscent of the overlap between Ozric Tentacles and You-era Gong. If that sounds like the sort of thing you'd enjoy, then you're in luck, because that's exactly what hatches out of this egg. If you've heard Magic Bus's preceding albums, you pretty much already know what to expect here and whether or not you'll like it.
 Phillip the Egg by MAGIC BUS album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.88 | 40 ratings

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Phillip the Egg
Magic Bus Canterbury Scene

Review by phil dud

4 stars Magic Bus' new album 'Phillip the Egg' starts with 'Mystical Mountain', a jaunty, infectious tune with a lovely burbling guitar sound, that bridges the gap between this offering and 2014s 'Sogmore'. However, the second (instrumental) part of the track heads us into a jazzier, spacier direction that gives a good indication of where the band seem to be progressing. There is great interplay between Darlington's impressive keyboard work and Waldstadt's nimble guitar. After the frenetic final section of Mystical Mountain, Fading Light comes as a period of blissful, pastoral calm. Trail to Canaa, to my ear, seems to combine an almost folky 'feel' with a chunkier keyboard sound, not unlike that used by some of the classic 70's Italian bands. Zeta and Distant Future possess almost 'Gong-like' riffs but are augmented by beautiful vocal harmonies. At the stage of writing, Kepler 22b is the standout track. It is, to my mind, the most 'progressive' track on the album and combines everything I love about Magic Bus. The band are fantastic musicians and this track showcases their talents from Mellorz' agile bass runs to Darlington's beautifully layered keyboard sounds, via Waldstadt's flawless guitar work and Goodwin-Darke's lovely flute figures. Paul Evans vocals are distinctive and beguiling and perfectly match his musical and lyrical vision. 'Phillip the Egg' is an outstanding album: brilliantly balanced, superbly recorded and musically rich. Put simply, it is the best album I have listened to in the last ten years and represents, for Magic Bus, a big step forward from their previous (excellent) albums.

Music, like all the Arts, is a reaction to and against what has gone before and it would be easy to simply compare the band to artists such as Gong and Hatfield and the North. There are obvious influences, but the band combine brilliantly to bring something fresh, vivid, new and exciting to the table. (4.5 stars)

Phil Dudman

 Phillip the Egg by MAGIC BUS album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.88 | 40 ratings

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Phillip the Egg
Magic Bus Canterbury Scene

Review by SteveConrad

4 stars Magic Bus 'Phillip the Egg' 'enter the astral porthole.

I was provided a preview copy of this album by the band.

MAGIC BUS is a Totnes, Devon-based band performing in the Canterbury Scene/West Coast vibe sub-genre within Progressive Rock Music. Current members: Paul Evans, Jay Darlington, Terence Waldstradt, Wihll Mellorz, Viv Goodwin- Darke, and Mitch Pike.

'Phillip the Egg' is their third album, set to be released May 1, 2017.

I'm no expert in the Canterbury Scene school of progressive music, let me be clear. I've learned a bit from reading an essay in Progarchives, the progressive rock 'bible'. I've heard some Caravan tracks, and a few of the names of the early musicians, like Steve Hillage, Robert Wyatt, Richard Sinclair have some resonance.

But my tastes lean more toward the symphonic and metal edges of progressive music and there's always plenty to discover and to hear.

I am, however, old enough to remember- and even to participate in to some degree- the free-love era of hippies, Woodstock, love, peace, and drugs.

In addition, I relate to this album by MAGIC BUS because although they don't explicitly say so, there's plenty to suggest that at least some members love fantasy and science fiction. The band logo itself suggests Tolkien-esque runes (Elvish, of course), and the titles of the 8 tracks on this album also suggest the sort of epic voyage found in the best of those genres of literature.

So I approach this album as a musician, writer, reader, and fan of progressive rock music, and find in it sophistication, subtlety, fine ensemble playing, thematic repetition that helps build and release tension and many layers of texture and sound.

The context of the album, the title, the band's name, the members and their appearance, and their statements in public places cause me to believe they have made some commitments to the same sort of hippie vibe in which I grew and for a time embraced.

I heard this album as an expression of the longing for a simple, clean, peaceful, loving world, that so often seems to contrast with current reality. Hippies had the dream of a counter-cultural revolution, fighting non-violently against 'the System' and 'the Man' who were emblematic of structure, rules, order, bureaucracy, conformity, and submission.

MAGIC BUS with 'Phillip the Egg' appears to push in that direction via a cosmic journey, utilizing throw-back musical forms and sounds that encourage reminiscence about the '60's and '70's. However, the format suggests these musicians don't see the revolution able to save what this society, this world, has become.

I generally review albums via headphones, and was impressed with the layered, subtle musicality, the depth of keyboard sounds, the use of the flute, the interplay of guitars from clean to driven sounds right and left and center, along with excellent vocal lines and harmonies. The rhythm section was never showy- crisp drums alongside the roots-y bass-lines that sometimes took the lead, but were worlds away from the kind of in-your-face playing of Chris Squire or Geddy Lee.

In fact what I appreciated was how varied, changing, evolving, and engaging each track became, using a multitude of instrumentation and sound- mellotrons, synths, vibes, flute, and piano, plus the already mentioned guitar layers. None of this was the focus however.

Rather, it seemed to be the ensemble, the totality, that was the focus here. I caught flavors of the Middle East, and perhaps some Spanish sounds, and the use of repetition, yet varying. There might be bombast, as in Kepler 22b, but it would then evolve into something else.

Phillip the Egg became escapist, in the way Tolkien was escapist, yet also provided some commentary on contemporary times.

I found this an engaging, enjoyable musical experience. On a ten point scale I'd rate it 8.5/10- pretty darned strong.

 Transmission From Sogmore's Garden by MAGIC BUS album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.06 | 51 ratings

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Transmission From Sogmore's Garden
Magic Bus Canterbury Scene

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars On their second album, Magic Bus continue their style of psychedelic-oriented, Canterbury-influenced music, once again producing material reminiscent of the angle that Land of Grey and Pink-era Caravan or Khan produced in the early 1970s. This time around, a bit more West Coast hippy folk rock influence is brought into the mix, with the album opener Sunflower in particular being rooted in that style, which makes this a bit more a mixed bag of an album. This isn't quite the amazing eye-opener that the band's debut was, but it's an interesting consolidation on the foundations laid there and I remain interested in seeing where the Magic Bus takes us next.
 Magic Bus by MAGIC BUS album cover Studio Album, 2010
4.33 | 29 ratings

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Magic Bus
Magic Bus Canterbury Scene

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Magic Bus' debut album is an absolutely delightful excursion into mildly Canterbury-flavoured hippie prog. Take Caravan at around the time of In the Land of Grey and Pink and imagine where they would have gone if, instead of taking their sound in a jazzier direction as on Waterloo Lily, they had instead looked back to their psychedelic roots and injected the fairytale tone of Grey and Pink with a bit of West Coast sunshine and maybe a slice of early Steve Hillage; the place you end up may well be along the Magic Bus's route.

This debut album is a charming excursion into a realm of warm, comfy, psychedelic Canterbury-flavoured prog whose benign nature conceals some really neat instrumental chops. It's fantastic to hear some new musicians taking up the baton of this side of prog, and I can only hope there are many more stops for the Magic Bus along its journey.

 Magic Bus by MAGIC BUS album cover Studio Album, 2010
4.33 | 29 ratings

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Magic Bus
Magic Bus Canterbury Scene

Review by NickArvas

4 stars I first came across one of their songs, the dream-like 'Gods Of The Mountain' while I was on this very site. As soon as it was done, I looked up the song, the album and the band, disappointed that so few know about them! The songs on this album move silkily after one another, and for a debut, the result is simply brilliant. The band themselves have said that their music is influenced by bands from the psychedelic era, and this is seen throughout the album. Their mix of folk, psychadelia and prog works, and works very well, at that.

Through their debut album, Magic Bus certainly showed that the Canterbury Scene is alive and kicking. From smooth, velvety rockers, to calm, silent little numbers, their music is quite exquisite. If you are into more of a hard rock styled Prog (a la Jethro Tull), you might not be into their albums, and their lyrics aren't top notch (good, but not great), but this is a band that one comes to love through their simplicity.

This band is no innovator, nor can they be called revolutionary, but this does not take away the fact that is one great band. Give them a try and I assure you, you will not regret it.

 Transmission From Sogmore's Garden by MAGIC BUS album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.06 | 51 ratings

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Transmission From Sogmore's Garden
Magic Bus Canterbury Scene

Review by Hailemon

4 stars I stumbled upon this release by sheer accident (a review on the home page) and it's one of those rare occasions, when an album grabbed me from the get-go. I cannot stress this enough: this is a record that no fan of Caravan Mk1 can afford to miss. Now, I love my Caravan, however, I've always regretted that they never tried to recapture the stunning beauty and timelessness of the Grey and Pink sound. That 1971 album is for me the pinnacle of the prog genre and to be fair it would probably be impossible for the band themselves to achieve that unique atmosphere once again, even if Dave S. hadn't left (as can be witnessed on Back to Front , that last LP - which I love and feel is unjustly forgotten btw - by the original lineup) . Must have been one of those right place-right time things (plus a fair deal of punkweed fumes in the air).

Well, with this album my dream has been fulfilled, as Magic Bus recreates that folk-pop-prog sound of the third Caravan LP perfectly. The singer sounds remarkably like Richard Sinclair, the organist plays with the "Dave Sinclair 1971 Sound" dial turned to 11, and there's a fair deal of Jimmy Hasings-like flute parts (and also some Khan-like parts - man, these guys really know what's best in Canterbury). Pure bliss! And while Magic Bus' songwriting skills don't quite reach the dizzy heights of their heroes', there are no duds here and each track offers something memorable. I just wish some of them would go on for a bit longer. It seems as if they were afraid of extended instrumental jams (give me more of that delicious organ sound please!), or maybe it's just symptomatic of the album quality, when you feel that almost every song is over too soon.

Now to the score. Reading what I wrote above I feel like I'm doing injustice to the band. I mean, they do show some originality and the overall vibe, while surely an intentional recreation of that familiar Caravan sound, is much more pastoral than that of our favourite Canterbury combo (and the guitar is much more prominent). Don't get me wrong it's a great album in its own right, but I feel that those of you who are into Caravan will find the most to enjoy here, so up the rating to 4.5 stars, if like me you've always longed for Grey and Pink Part 2. Anyway this is 2015 and in these post-post-modern times, hypertextuality is the order of the day. So let us embrace this Canterbury sound of the 21st century.

 Transmission From Sogmore's Garden by MAGIC BUS album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.06 | 51 ratings

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Transmission From Sogmore's Garden
Magic Bus Canterbury Scene

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars I feel lately that i'm always one step behind BrufordFreak when it comes to reviews of releases from the last couple of years, and i've also become aware of new bands because of his reviews as in the case of this group MAGIC BUS. These guys are from the UK and are listed here under Canterbury. The band they most remind me of is SMELL OF INCENSE, in fact i'd put them under Psychedelic/ Folk if we had that as a sub-genre. I do get the Canterbury tag, especially with the distorted organ that brings CARAVAN and other like bands quickly to mind but this is Hippy music all the way. My youngest daughter who i'm so proud of is a Hippy and she would completely agree with the lyrics here. If you don't agree with the lyrics you might find them a little corny but I like them. VIOLETO DI OUTONO also came to mind with the floating organ here and also GONG at times.

"Sunflower" is just too happy with plenty of floating organ as the Hippies sing about the sunflower sitting outside their window. We get a flute solo half way through and check out that distorted organ before 3 minutes, so good! That's followed by a guitar solo as the organ floats. "Ballad Of Lord Sogmore" does sound like KHAN as BrufordFreak mentions. Some nice organ, flute and guitar early on. A change after 1 1/2 minutes as these Grabriel-like vocals with strummed guitar and flute take over. Man this is so uplifting as the organ floats along. An Eastern vibe arrives after 2 1/2 minutes with some relaxed flute then back to that earlier full sound before 4 minutes. I like the guitar solo as well.

"Cosmic Rays Of Dawn" has some very psychedelic lyrics and intricate sounds. Every time the vocals stop the flute takes over. There's even a Celtic flavour before 2 1/2 minutes then it picks up. Great sound. "Three Days" opens with floating organ before it picks up with vocals. Steve Hillage comes to mind here. This is one of my favs and it's quite catchy with some nice flute. A change after 2 minutes with processed vocals then back to that earlier sound. Another change after 4 minutes as melancholic flute with piano lead the way before it kicks back in. The uplifting guitar after 5 minutes is a treat then we get flute and a jazzy vibe a minute later. Ahhh there's that distorted organ again before 7 minutes.

"Jupiter 3AM" is another favourite of mine and it has this spacey intro that gives way to reserved vocals, strummed guitar and flute. Organ too and then electric piano(nice) joins in with some intricate guitar as a beat arrives with bass. The melancholic flute before 3 minutes reminds me of SINKADUS. The mood then suddenly brightens, so uplifting. The melancholic flute is back as these contrasts continue. Great track! "Seven Wonders" is spacey with some harp before it settles in with vocals, a slow beat and more. Some cool vocal harmonies 3 minutes in and the distorted organ after 4 1/2 minutes is so CARAVAN-like.

"Morning Mantra" opens with a very BEATLES-like "love, love, love, love..." vocal part before the vocals start to sing the lyrics that are just so happy, especially the chorus. I can just see my daughter and fellow Hippies saying these words in the morning before they start the day. Lots of flute in this one and the drums and bass standout more than usual after 2 minutes. Themes are repeated. "Earthpod" has an impressive mellotron intro before strummed guitar takes over and reserved vocals also join in. Pleasant flute comes in after the vocals stop in this laid back number.

Probably closer to 4.5 stars and it's so cool to hear a modern band play in this late sixties to early seventies style.

 Seven Wonders / Eight Miles High by MAGIC BUS album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2015
4.05 | 3 ratings

BUY
Seven Wonders / Eight Miles High
Magic Bus Canterbury Scene

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars UK band MAGIC BUS first came to some prominence when they released their debut album back in 2010. This album was followed by a single release the following year, and then a second album followed in 2014. "Seven Wonders" is their second single release, and was released through UK label Fruits de Mer Records' sublabel Regal Crabomophone in 2015 on an old fashioned 7 inch vinyl single, with a cover of The Byrds classic Eight Miles High as the B side track.

The original composition Seven Wonders is the kind of composition that most likely will have a fairly broad appeal among those with a taste and affection for progressive rock first and foremost. It's a creation that mainly operates within what one might describe as a pastoral context, a slow paced creation with relaxed lead vocals, some nifty vocal harmonies here and there, with an acoustic guitar and organ combination that ebbs and flows in intensity and some flute details added in on occasion. A touch of Caravan with a slight side dish of Jethro Tull if you like, with a more energetic midsection sporting a stronger organ emphasis and a sound reminding more of mid to late 70's Eloy.

The cover of Eight Miles High opens with a drone and vocals sequence that smoothly segues into a vocals and organ combination, slow paced and deliberate, with a smooth transition by way of cosmic sounds into a more familiar acoustic guitars and vocals driven take on this classic song, alternating with subtly more intense instrumental interludes with dampened, funky guitar riffs and the flute given more room. Again with some associations in terms of the Canterbury scene as a distinct but subtle rather than dominant presence.

While the Fruits de Mer label is best known for their release of music within a psychedelic rock context, this particular single is one that, at least to my ears, would be more of interest to a progressive rock oriented audience. This goes especially towards the A side track obviously, as the B side cover of The Byrds is a piece that most likely will attract a stronger interest from a psychedelic rock interested audience. But whether you belong in one camp or the other - or both, this is yet another solid release from this label, by what comes across as a solid and refined band.

Thanks to historian9 for the artist addition. and to E&O Team for the last updates

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