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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

4.28 | 1579 ratings
IN THE LAND OF GREY AND PINK
Caravan
4.30 | 784 ratings
ROCK BOTTOM
Wyatt, Robert
4.25 | 934 ratings
IF I COULD DO IT ALL OVER AGAIN, I'D DO IT ALL OVER YOU
Caravan
4.26 | 713 ratings
HATFIELD AND THE NORTH
Hatfield And The North
4.24 | 919 ratings
RADIO GNOME INVISIBLE VOL. 3 - YOU
Gong
4.27 | 640 ratings
SPACE SHANTY
Khan
4.23 | 897 ratings
THIRD
Soft Machine, The
4.26 | 379 ratings
OF QUEUES AND CURES
National Health
4.20 | 508 ratings
THE ROTTERS' CLUB
Hatfield And The North
4.16 | 666 ratings
FOR GIRLS WHO GROW PLUMP IN THE NIGHT
Caravan
4.24 | 284 ratings
MAINSTREAM
Quiet Sun
4.12 | 610 ratings
RADIO GNOME INVISIBLE VOL. 2 - ANGEL'S EGG
Gong
4.25 | 228 ratings
TO THE HIGHEST BIDDER
Supersister
4.15 | 378 ratings
THE POLITE FORCE
Egg
4.13 | 387 ratings
FISH RISING
Hillage, Steve
4.12 | 346 ratings
NATIONAL HEALTH
National Health
4.23 | 194 ratings
VIVA BOMA
Cos
4.35 | 125 ratings
THE WORLD OF GENIUS HANS
Moving Gelatine Plates
4.07 | 441 ratings
VOLUME TWO
Soft Machine, The
4.03 | 499 ratings
THE SOFT MACHINE
Soft Machine, The

Canterbury Scene overlooked and obscure gems albums new


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

GILGAMESH
Gilgamesh
HOPPER TUNITY BOX
Hopper, Hugh
CHRONOMETERS
Muffins, The
SPLIT SECONDS
Miller, Phil

Latest Canterbury Scene Music Reviews


 Karl Jenkins: Rubber Riff by SOFT MACHINE, THE album cover Studio Album, 1976
2.01 | 59 ratings

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Karl Jenkins: Rubber Riff
The Soft Machine Canterbury Scene

Review by WFV

3 stars It's inevitable this album is trashed on a prog site. Progressive rock was never made to be incidental music - the foundation of the earliest progressive rock was making a loud, landscape altering sweeping statement. Therefore, this made for background "library music" doesn't really fit the billing.

If approached with open ears, this can be a worthwhile experience for sure if used for its intended purpose. There's some riffs and some floating, and after I put this on while I'm stretching or making a salad I'm in a good mood.

I don't think the appeal would be as strong for me if this was labeled a Karl Jenkins solo record. He's magnificently talented but always seemed like an interloper and I don't much care for his solo records I've tried.

I really like the tunes "A Little Floating Music" and "Splot". "Melina" is a low point, and "Gentle Turn" isn't far behind - both sound like weak theme songs to a poor 1970's US television sitcom.

Two stars for the prog recommendation, four stars in my catalogue, three it is overall. I feel exactly the same about this album as I do similar albums on here "Codename Wildgeese" by Eloy, "Blitz" by Thirsty Moon and "Visa" by Duncan Mackay good activity music and mild instrumental prog curiosities.

 Elsewhere by MASTER CYLINDER album cover Studio Album, 1981
3.68 | 18 ratings

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Elsewhere
Master Cylinder Canterbury Scene

Review by Progfan97402
Prog Reviewer

4 stars I've been aware of Master Cylinder since 1996. I certainly regretted not trying them earlier because I was truly amazed! Given their sole album Elsewhere came out in 1981 and this band hailed from Texas, I didn't expect them to be remarkable, or the music simply too '80s sounding for my liking. When I think Texas, I think of blues-based rockers like ZZ Top and Stevie Ray Vaughan. Master Cylinder is totally unbelievable: a Fort Worth band playing Canterbury music that's not a million miles from the likes of Hatfield & the North, Soft Machine, Gilgamesh, even the Muffins. Like the Muffins the group is all-instrumental. What blows me aware other than all that, is this group not only managed this in 1981 but can hold its own with the likes of the Muffins as well as the UK bands of the '70s. The tragedy is this was only released on vinyl on the Inner City label and never reissued in any capacity whatsoever (I could see this on Cuneiform Records). This has everything I came to love of this kind of music, very creative jazzy passages, nice use of analog keyboards, all '70s, even the music sounds like it made in the 1970s, not the beginning of the '80s. The music is often complex and challenging. The cover depicting, which I guess to be chaos at a New York City intersection, gives no clues what amazing music you'll be getting within. How did these guys pull this off in Texas? Especially in Fort Worth. Regardless a huge surprise for me, and clearly one of the best albums from the early '80s I've heard.
 ReMoving by MOVING GELATINE PLATES album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.87 | 31 ratings

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ReMoving
Moving Gelatine Plates Canterbury Scene

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars MOVING GELATINE PLATES created two essential albums in the early seventies that every fan of adventerous music should own. Bassist Didier Thibault decided to keep that spirit alive with an album in 1980 called "Moving" along with this particular record called "ReMoving" released in 2006. Thank you Sagi for your review here but also for mentioning this album many times over the years. No this isn't of the caliber of the two originals but like "Moving" it's a great listen and a solid 4 stars in my opinion. Didier is the driving force here of course and the only original member but this is a great sounding 7 piece band with cello, trombone, violin, trumpet, sax, flute and the usual "rock" instruments. Guests add oboe, sax, viola and choirs.

"Removing" is the 2 1/2 minute opener that opens with someone starting a vehicle and taking off in it before fuzzed out bass kicks in then drums. It lightens as horns arrive almost pulsating at times. The guitar then solos over top then more horns. It all stops as we hear birds chirping as the vehicle pulls up and the person gets out. This blends into "Like A Flower" a top three song for me. Oboe and bass take over as reserved vocals join in. I like this. Violin arrives when the vocals stop briefly. Keys join the vocals then horns after 1 1/2 minutes as the vocals stop again. More oboe then the guitar replaces the oboe before 2 1/2 minutes. Great sound and this is such a feel good track until the tempo picks up after 3 minutes. Still good though. Themes are repeated.

"Enigme" opens with the sound of a person walking before keys than a full sound take over with cello, bass, drums and more. Soprano sax after a minute then flute a minute later takes the lead. It calms down as the guitar plays in a relaxed manner over top. Horns around 4 1/2 minutes. "Comme Avant" opens with an old record being played static and all before drums, bass, violin and more takes over. This is a happy sounding tune where horns also help out. Guitar before 2 1/2 minutes until the horns return. Not bad but one of my least favourites.

"Breakdown" is another top three. Piano and violin to start before fuzzed out bass takes over but the piano, horns, drums and more join in as the violin plays over top. Soon the piano leads but the violin is back quickly. Vocals after 1 1/2 minutes then guitar a minute later as the vocals continue to come and go. "Nico" opens with some humour with someone talking on the phone. Soon the violin and piano lead the way as drums and bass join in. It picks up 2 minutes in then tenor sax arrives. Nice sound here. Guitar replaces the sax before 3 1/2 minutes then the horns replace the guitar before 5 minutes.

"Bellidor" is another one that's not bad but one of my least favs. A classical sound to start with horns and strings but soon it kicks in with a full sound as the violin plays over top. It settles back around 2 minutes with piano, drums, bass and horns as the violin comes and goes. "Waiting For The Rain" is my final top three. Love the melancholy and the intro with the sound of rain and thunder. Quite majestic is God. Keys and atmosphere take over before a minute then this guitar melody is repeated s the sax comes in at 1 1/2 minutes. Vocals follow and I like the lyrics and melancholy. It does pick up though around 2 1/2 minutes, violin too.

"Theo" ends it and it is quite interesting the way the live crowd is mixed in with the instrumental work of course all done with samples in studio for that live affect. An excellent closer overall and I like the humour again here as the pretend concert ends with the singer saying "Thank you, thank you all for coming. MOVING GELATINE PLATES! We hope to see you soon. By the way if some of you could help us put the equipment away? Thank you again" Haha.

It would seem a lot of love and time went into this. I love the samples sprinkled in as well. A really enjoyable listen.

 Pentanine by GONG album cover Studio Album, 2004
2.95 | 53 ratings

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Pentanine
Gong Canterbury Scene

Review by WFV

3 stars Definitely underrated and sorely underheard.

Of course the fusiony material of Pierre Moerlen's Gong is compared to the unfusiony space cadet Gong. Often, I find, in the negative.

I love both and wish this ensemble would have put out more contemporary records. I acquired this beauty several years ago and after many listens gave it a high three star. After revisitation a few years later it gained half a star. Third revisit it gets 4.5 in my collection.

Not for the average rock oriented proghead, this fusiony record is mostly melodic with some new age flavoring. Moerlen lines up with unknown Russkies behind him who are obviously fabulous musicians.

One wishes this lineup did three or four outings together. The opener, Lacheur, and Blue Nuit standout for me.

As I said, not for the average proghead, so while I may give it high marks if taking everything into account here this gets three from me.

 To The Highest Bidder by SUPERSISTER album cover Studio Album, 1971
4.25 | 228 ratings

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To The Highest Bidder
Supersister Canterbury Scene

Review by WFV

5 stars Supersister's sophomore release expands upon the incredible sound of the debut into the realms of the all time classic progressive rock recordings. I love In the Land of Grey and Pink but this album may just inch above it for me. Classic opener, stupendous second song (No Tree Will Grow is one of recorded musics finest 7:40) and the third and fourth tracks only expand upon the awesomeness. An all time progressive rock classic at the top of the Canterbury style. This album belongs in the collection of every prog fan.

The bonus tracks on the CD reissues are interesting novelties, but add nothing to the final result

 Third by SOFT MACHINE, THE album cover Studio Album, 1970
4.23 | 897 ratings

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Third
The Soft Machine Canterbury Scene

Review by Eric_T

5 stars This is one of my all-time top five albums and certainly my favourite "Prog" item. It consists of four side-long pieces (on the original vinyl) which are each in a distinctive style but share the basic structural approach of having striking melodic themes linked by passages of improvisation. "Facelift" is brash and powerful, driven along by Hopper's springy bass lines and Wyatt's chopping drums. Mike Ratledge's first solo is his most exciting on the album. "Slightly All The Time" is more contemplative and features Elton Dean at his most lyrical. "Moon In June" is a Wyatt masterpiece which many feel is worth the price of the album on its own. "Out Bloody Rageous" is the most overtly jazz-oriented piece and also (in shortened form) served as my introduction to the Soft Machine when included on a 1970 CBS sampler.

This is an album that simply could not have been made now. It comes from a time when groups were allowed to record adventurous music. I am grateful to have been around to pick up on it. There's not a weak passage on the album - 5 stars for sure.

 Thoughts by ZYMA album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.95 | 57 ratings

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Thoughts
Zyma Canterbury Scene

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars There's all sorts of reasons offered why the idea of the "Canterbury" scene may be a bit of a misnomer, and one of them is how a range of groups who never even had much connection to the Kentish town managed to nail the style. A sprinkling of European outfits produced compelling work in the style, and to those ranks we can add Zyma, whose debut album teases out the jazzier and folkier aspects of the Canterbury sound. Imagine Hatfield and the North if they were less rock-oriented and one of the Northettes stepped up to become lead singer and you wouldn't be too far away.
 Première Vision De L'Étrange  by OCARINAH album cover Studio Album, 1978
2.13 | 4 ratings

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Première Vision De L'Étrange
Ocarinah Canterbury Scene

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

2 stars I'm sure there will be many positive reviews for this one eventually as it seems to be highly thought of by most reviewers who have rated this one. They were a trio from France who released this sole album in 1978. We get a drummer, bassist and synth/guitarist. All three had a hand in composing these five instrumentals. I must say that I've owned this one for at least 8 years and it's not a legit copy as it was released by Tachika Records back then. My only option at the time.

I have to pat myself on the back here because I really don't like the sound of the synths on this album yet I spun this one over and over and over again, many times. And the synths have the same tone throughout and it's very prominent. Relentless might be a better word I suppose. He does play some guitar too but yeah synths dominate here and the album comes off as being samey. Honestly I just don't like it and so I won't be doing a detailed review as I just can't bring myself to go through it one more time.

As far as the Zeuhl designation goes I have a hard time agreeing with it, but then I'm not sure where else you would put it. The bass while prominent at times isn't fuzzed out or in the Zeuhl style. No chanting of course either or Fender Rhodes. It comes off as a melancholic synth driven album that fails to capture my appreciation in any way. I'm glad I finally spent some time with it if only to know I'm not into it(haha). I tried.

 Fourth by SOFT MACHINE, THE album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.49 | 305 ratings

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Fourth
The Soft Machine Canterbury Scene

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

4 stars Although they had only formed a mere five years prior from the ashes of the Wilde Flowers, THE SOFT MACHINE had transmogrified from a beat inspired 60s psychedelic pop and proto-prog entity into a fully fledged jazz-fusion behemoth after adding Elton Dean to the roster for their epic 1970 double length album "Third" which found the trio turned quartet not only dropping the definite article "THE" from their moniker but also found the role of founding member Robert Wyatt's input quickly diminishing from the overall scenario. On the first two SOFT MACHINE albums, Wyatt's role was the main feature with his unmistakably unique vocals showcasing the music but with the addition of Dean along with an additional cast of guest musicians mostly out of the jazz circuits, Wyatt found himself ever more estranged from the creative direction that his fellow band mates were conjuring up around him and by the time "Third" came out he had to fight tooth and nail just to get the one vocal song to be sandwiched into the jazzy skronk wonderland of all things free form jazz surging with psychedelic overtones.

On the logically yet uncreatively titled 4 (pronounced FOURTH), the SOFTS had all but jettisoned their Canterbury influences and psychedelic vocal whimsy in favor of an all out instrumental jazz-fusion attack set on sizzling with Elton Dean casting his weight based off his recent solo album "Just Us" of the same year. The result is the beginning of the classic jazz-fusion era of SOFT MACHINE and on FOURTH they followed Dean's lead who developed his fierce alto sax and saxello playing skills in his days with Keith Tippett. While the avant-garde Ornette Coleman styled free-for-all sax solos whizzing around at light speed play a central part of the overall sound of FOURTH, the psychedelic 60s hadn't been totally erased from memory as Mike Ratledge finds the perfect way to engage his complementary Lowrey organ and Hohner piano riffs into the jazz-rock paradigm that hearken back to the swinging 60s so close yet so suddenly so very far away. Likewise Hugh Hopper's grounding and stabilizing bass lines rein in the loose-wire horn sections augmented by Dean's frenetic sax attacks along with guest musicians Mark Charig (cornet player also of Keith Tippett fame), Nick Evans (trombonist of Keith Tippett fame), Jimmy Hastings (alto flute / bass clarinet of Caravan) and Alan Skidmore (tenor sax also of Keith Tippett fame).

The result of the heft of this brass heavy congregation steered the SOFT MACHINE sound into extreme avant-garde jazz-rock fusion territory which even added yet one more guest musician: Roy Babbington of Delivery to contribute his double bass. The tracks run the gamut of chilled to frenetic. The moderately improvised nine minute opening track "Teeth" takes influences ranging from the bop fueled epics of John Coltrane to the fuzzed out surrealism of Miles Davis' "Bitches Brew" era. The track exhibits the perfect compromise between the structured hard bop chord patterns and sophisticated harmonic idioms with the unstructured improvisational soloing of Dean's hyperactive sax runs. "Kings And Queens" offers a completely chilled out contrast, a bass groove dominated Hopper contribution in between the more frenetic constructs created by Ratledge and Dean.

"Fletcher's Blemish" on the other hand is a Dean written piece that takes the free form avant-garde schizoid madness of crazed masters such as Sun Ra and Cecil Taylor and channels their unhinged tendencies through a flurry of tortured jagged sax attacks in a style that is directly lifted from Dean's solo debut. On the original album the second side of FOURTH was completely consumed by the four part suite "Virtually" which are treated as separate tracks but thematically connected and constructed out of a more collective approach of various extended themes that keep enough structure in the mix to allow individual members to go off on musical tangents all the while finding the perfect tension between composition and improvisation although like most of the running time of FOURTH, Dean does seem to get more than the lion's share of soloing time.

While utterly musically ostracized in the very band he helped create, Robert Wyatt may be silent and sitting in the back corner like a castigated child misbehaving on the playground but he is in fact on the album and it would be his last one with SOFT MACHINE before permanently solidifying his newly found Matching Mole (which as is commonly known a parody of SOFT MACHINE from the French translation "Machine molle.") However despite any demotion in creative input to the band's musical selections, Wyatt performs like a pro easily pounding out the heavy duty hardcore jazz drumming skills required of a seasoned veteran to handle when playing in a jazz-fusion ensemble of such magnitude and while he may have suffered a terrible accident which would rob him of his talents, on FOURTH his talents are eked out in a most satisfying way as he effortlessly and impeccably morphs his stylistic approach between the fuzzy psychedelic Gong inspired brume into the punishing freneticism of Dean's sax abuse segments in full hard bop mode.

SOFT MACHINE's FOURTH has been chastised and kicked around since it was released and to this very day remains substantially less revered than its predecessors as well as later releases with some even calling it the absolute nadir of the SOFT's vast and overarching career and i for one am quite disconcerted with how Wyatt's bandmates treated him and subjugated him to the role of a circus chimp who merely went through the motions of what he was told to perform, however at the same time i'm rating the music itself and as a lover of free form jazz and all things musically extreme, i have to fall on the side of loving this one with the caveat of agreeing with the almost universal consensus that it is indeed a step down from the SOFT's first three classics. One of the problems results of course from the obvious overreach of Elton Dean's influence which affects Ratledge's ability to stand out for much of the album despite his warm and inviting key runs filling every nook, cranny and cadence. Taken as a representative album of the Canterbury Scene, this one will surely disappoint but if accepted as a unique slice of early 70s jazz-fusion that happens to have a little of what came before in the mix with an emphasis on free form improv passages, then i have to say that this album easily achieves the "excellent" seal of approval.

 Blue Dogs by MANNA / MIRAGE album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.98 | 4 ratings

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Blue Dogs
Manna / Mirage Canterbury Scene

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars 4.5 stars. A must for anyone into THE MUFFINS as Dave Newhouse spear-headed this project bringing along fellow MUFFINS Billy Swann and Paul Sears. Dave's son George also plays drums along with Paul Sears. We also get a guitarist and French horn player. The music is Canterbury in nature and I like how they give a nod to the past at times plus the humour on display. The album is named after the cover art, a painting by Gonzalo Fuentos Riquelme who happens to be a big fan of Rio/Canterbury.

"Canterbury Bells" is a top three and man what a feel good song this is for me. Like being home really, especially the Canterbury-like keyboards. Bass and a beat support and horns arrive around 1 1/2 minutes. A toe-tapper and head-bobber for sure. A calm 3 minutes in with piano only but soon the drums and keys join in. Horns again after 4 minutes as it stays relaxed. Keyboards end it.

"Duke Street" opens with keys that create a catchy melody before the horns join in. Back to the piano and some percussion before a bass horn or is that clarinet joins in playing a melody over top. Soon horns are blasting. It ends with a sample of a classy man speaking about music and theatre. It's funny.

"Muffin Man Redux" features blasting horns but they are restrained some are taken over by drums, an upright bass, guitar and horns. So much going on. This great sound goes on and on then the intro returns with drums this time. I like when it turns melancholic with a bass horn, percussion, other horns and atmosphere. A darker mood here. The drums signal a change as horns arrive in an upbeat and lighter mood, silly in fact. A change with dark piano lines and melancholic horns, drums and more. So good. Love the sound late too with the distorted keys, piano and drums before that sample of the original Muffin Man song ends it.

"Lost In A Photograph" opens with horns that drone before a beat and bass join in. This is laid back but it does turn louder with keys and horns before settling back again with a lazy horn over top. Themes are repeated.

"Blind Eye" is a top three although I'm not sure how "Muffin Man Redux" isn't in my top three but this is a really good album. This was my favourite right from the very first listen. That dark sounding organ to start sounds amazing before it kicks in with drums. So good! Electric piano only then it kicks back in with horns this time and some inventive guitar as the organ runs. Horns and drums to the fore as it changes then settles back with electric piano, horns and more. A dissonant horn starts to make some noise late.

"Shaving Time" brought HATFIELD & THE NORTH to mind right away. Bass and drums to start and they create this catchy rhythm. Soon horns and more join the fun. The tempo picks up as things get even more lively. Drums only before the clarinet joins in. Horns start to blast as it builds. Here we go! A lot of fun!

"Rovian Cue" is my final top three and maybe my favourite along with "Blind Eye". Man that piano is so uplifting to me as the horns and percussion join in. So beautiful when the flute arrives. Keyboards and piano impress here too. Why am I so moved? Tasteful horns are back then that catchy beat returns with horns then flute as themes are repeated.

Man this was too much fun and so well played and composed of course. Makes it inside my top 20 for 2015 so yeah this was one of the ones I missed a few years ago.

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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
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
GOWEN - MILLER - SINCLAIR - TOMKINS 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
MAGIC BUS United Kingdom
MANNA / MIRAGE 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
OCARINAH France
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
SHORT WAVE 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
STUBBS Japan
SUPERSISTER Netherlands
TORTILLA FLAT Germany
TRAVELLING France
VOLARÉ United States
THE WILDE FLOWERS United Kingdom
THE WINSTONS Italy
ROBERT WYATT United Kingdom
ZYMA Germany

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