Author Topic: Canterbury schnizzle  (Read 3599 times)

Canterbury schnizzle
« on: July 08, 2019, 07:56:05 PM »
I want to know more about the Canterbury scene. I am currently listening to a Matching Mole (stop calling them Modest Mouse by mistake) LP and think half of it is gorgeous and half vile. I have one Kevin Ayers album and think some of it is gorgeous and some vile. I like Robert Wyatt. I've heard some Caravan and thought it ok. What should I do?

Angrew Lloyg Wegger

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Re: Canterbury schnizzle
« Reply #1 on: July 08, 2019, 08:22:40 PM »
I much prefer Little Red Record to the first Matching Mole album, which one was the one you listened to?

I sort of see what you mean about 'half gorgeous and half vile', even though personally I like a whole load of the stuff. I mean there is a pretty head on clash between noodly jazz rock and whimsical psychedelic pop shiz, I imagine most people would favour one over the other.

I think my favourite of the main Canterbury lot is Hatfield and the North, both of their albums hit pretty much the perfect balance between jazz and whimsy, plus Richard Sinclair's voice is bloody loveliness.

purlieu

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Re: Canterbury schnizzle
« Reply #2 on: July 08, 2019, 09:16:36 PM »
What Caravan have you heard? If it's not In the Land of Grey and Pink, get your ears around that pronto. The two albums before it and the two after have some lovely moments, but that one is a minor masterpiece (ignore everything after that).

The first two Soft Machine albums are about as far as I go otherwise, neither of which is dramatically proggy, so definitely worth a shot if you prefer the psych/pop/whimsy aspect to the noodly prog jazz. If it's the other way around, you might not be in the right place.

Absorb the anus burn

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Re: Canterbury schnizzle
« Reply #3 on: July 08, 2019, 10:01:23 PM »
Gong: You.

Crazy as fuck Canterbury prog.

Khan: Space Shanty.

Hard posturing Canterbury prog.

Picchio dal Pozzo: Picchio dal Pozzo

Italian electronic Canterbury prog.

BlodwynPig

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Re: Canterbury schnizzle
« Reply #4 on: July 08, 2019, 11:02:08 PM »
Echo the two posts above

Discovering Caravan was an epoch moment

Hatfield and the North, Egg and National Health are all bands to dig into their slight but fulsome catalogues

BlodwynPig

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Re: Canterbury schnizzle
« Reply #5 on: July 08, 2019, 11:05:37 PM »
What Caravan have you heard? If it's not In the Land of Grey and Pink, get your ears around that pronto. The two albums before it and the two after have some lovely moments, but that one is a minor masterpiece (ignore everything after that).

The first two Soft Machine albums are about as far as I go otherwise, neither of which is dramatically proggy, so definitely worth a shot if you prefer the psych/pop/whimsy aspect to the noodly prog jazz. If it's the other way around, you might not be in the right place.

The stuff after has its moments. Not as pleasing as Grey and Pink, but i like pretty much every Caravan album - and their recent output is not bad.

For a great associated album, check out John G. Perry’s Sunset Wading

Maurice Yeatman

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Re: Canterbury schnizzle
« Reply #6 on: July 09, 2019, 03:05:38 AM »
Canterbury Watford band 25 Views of Worthing might appeal to fans of Caravan and Hatfield.

They recorded one album that never got released, but there seems to be some interest in resurrecting them.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NzOlVSXrshY  Nice vintage film of them rehearsing. Nearly half a century ago, by kraken.

BlodwynPig

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Re: Canterbury schnizzle
« Reply #7 on: July 09, 2019, 08:30:32 AM »
Canterbury Watford band 25 Views of Worthing might appeal to fans of Caravan and Hatfield.

They recorded one album that never got released, but there seems to be some interest in resurrecting them.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NzOlVSXrshY  Nice vintage film of them rehearsing. Nearly half a century ago, by kraken.

BOOM! A band I wasn't aware of...will dig into this later, thanks Maurice Greatman

Re: Canterbury schnizzle
« Reply #8 on: July 09, 2019, 08:41:46 AM »
Why are the Soft Machine and Egg LPs so expensive? Are there rights issues?

NoSleep

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Re: Canterbury schnizzle
« Reply #9 on: July 09, 2019, 08:53:47 AM »
Classic old school website dedicated to the Canterbury scene here: https://www.calyx-canterbury.fr

Soft Machine are the starting point, innovating many of the defining aspects of the Canterbury sound. And yet Hatfield & The North have the definitive sound. The greatest Canterbury album has to be Rock Bottom, by Robert Wyatt. Huge love for Egg and Daevid Allen/Gong, too. I believe Daevid Allen is the catalyst for the whole scene.

I planned to do a CaB Radio special on the Canterbury scene which never saw the light of day (apart from prologue chapter for the years 1958-1966), but I dug out loads of stuff on Canterbury, especially the core members of Soft Machine, in the process.

NoSleep

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Re: Canterbury schnizzle
« Reply #10 on: July 09, 2019, 08:57:07 AM »
Why are the Soft Machine and Egg LPs so expensive? Are there rights issues?

Probably because they are being re-released with a little bit of care in collaboration with the artists, if not by the artists themselves. A lot of cheap CDs probably don't have the same connection with the artists and they may not even make any money from them such is the music biz.

BlodwynPig

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Re: Canterbury schnizzle
« Reply #11 on: July 09, 2019, 09:15:04 AM »
Classic old school website dedicated to the Canterbury scene here: https://www.calyx-canterbury.fr

Soft Machine are the starting point, innovating many of the defining aspects of the Canterbury sound. And yet Hatfield & The North have the definitive sound. The greatest Canterbury album has to be Rock Bottom, by Robert Wyatt. Huge love for Egg and Daevid Allen/Gong, too. I believe Daevid Allen is the catalyst for the whole scene.

I planned to do a CaB Radio special on the Canterbury scene which never saw the light of day (apart from prologue chapter for the years 1958-1966), but I dug out loads of stuff on Canterbury, especially the core members of Soft Machine, in the process.

Sadly not much of a Robert Wyatt fan, but then again I need to listen to Rock Bottom again to be sure. Not a fan of singer/songwriter stuff, organ solos and jazzy tinges for me. I do like Henry Cow, but that is still a challenge, even their most accessible Leg End album.

NoSleep

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Re: Canterbury schnizzle
« Reply #12 on: July 09, 2019, 09:27:28 AM »
The jazz element in Canterbury is essential, it's what makes the Canterbury sound distinctive from other prog rock. Soft Machine Third came out the same year as Miles Davis' Bitches Brew and the two albums represent musicians from two camps heading to a new place from opposite directions. And Keith Tippett's Septober Energy (well, also the earlier "Dedicated To You But You Weren't Listening") represented a collaboration of the two camps.
Of course Zeuhl is equally founded in jazz, maybe even stronger (Magma' roots can be traced back to My Favourite Things by Coltrane).

Re: Canterbury schnizzle
« Reply #13 on: July 09, 2019, 10:56:34 AM »
Time for my monthly de-lurk. 100% agree with those who point to Hatfield and the North as the high water mark of the Canterbury Scene. The self-titled first album is a beautiful, hazy meander through lush meadows of jazzy nonsense with a sprinkling of whimsical fairy dust - perfect late-Summer listening. The Rotters' Club is a punchier, more dynamic affair - the jazzy bits are jazzier, the noisy bits are noisier and the mad bits are madder. It is a strong contender for my favourite album of all time.

Favourite albums by Canterbury folks:

  • Kevin Ayers - Whatevershebringswesing. His best album. Great catchy songs, a few weird freakout moments, beautiful guest vocals from Robert Wyatt on the title track.
  • Caravan - In the Land of the Grey and Pink is the obvious choice, but For Girls Who Grow Plump in the Night is my favourite by the tiniest of smidges. Everything from If I Could... to Cunning Stunts is worth a go if you like their sound.
  • Egg - They put out three gems of early Canterbury, of which The Polite Force is my personal favourite.
  • Gong - Classic Gong stands apart from typical Canterbury, as the backbone of their sound is tripped out space rock, with a bunch of jazzy noodling and cup-of-tea whimsy layered on top. You is probably their best, but Angel's Egg and Camembert Electrique are a good warm-up. There's so much to explore with Gong and it's many splinter group that it's practically a "scene" in its own right.
  • Matching Mole - I agree with ALW - Little Red Record is better, but honestly there's not much between their original two studio albums.
  • National Health - I feel like this group was Canterbury on "Advanced" mode. The whimsy's still there, but the emphasis is on wild knotty avant-jazz compositions. It could come across a little chinstrokey were it not so evident that everyone involved is having enormous fun. I honestly can't pick between their first two albums. Not for beginners, but essential for fans of the scene.
  • Soft Machine - Vol's 1 and 2 are where it's at, obviously, but Third is an interesting experiment (a double album consisting of four sidelong pieces, two by Ratledge, one by Hopper and one by Wyatt). Worth checking out if you have the patience for long instrumental experiments. If not just stick on Moon in June (Robert Wyatt's piece) and be done with it.
  • Robert Wyatt - Rock Bottom is undoubtedly one the crown jewels of Canterbury, so you can't really go wrong there. Of his later albums, Shleep is his finest, IMO.

And a few international/contemporary (and thus arguably not "proper" Canterbury) recommendations:

  • Picchio dal Pozzo - Aforementioned Italian group. Their debut is a masterpiece.
  • The Muffins - US Canterbury-influenced prog/fusion band. I only have Manna/Mirage, which is so good that I honestly keep forgetting to ever listen to the rest of their albums.
  • Supersister - Dutch prog group with strong Canterbury/Zappa influences. All their albums are solid, but Present From Nancy and Pudding en Gisteren are the ones I return to most often.
  • Samla Mammas Manna - A Swedish band associated with the Rock In Opposition movement (which has close ties to Canterbury). Maltid is the best starting point - a jagged collage of jazz-rock slapstick. They morphed over the years into Zamla Mammaz Manna, then Von Zamla, hardening their sound a little every time. Lars Hollmer, the keyboardist and accordionist and de-facto band leader also has a wonderful solo discography, and is one of my all-time favourite composers.
  • Antique Seeking Nuns - A modern group that managed to hew to the spirit of Canterbury whilst feeling contemporary rather than just aping the classics. They put out three EPs (the best being Double Egg with Chips and Beans) before morphing into the also very good but much less Canterbury-esque neo-prog band Sanguine Hum.
  • King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard - This could be a controversial pick, but the first time I heard Sketches of Brunswick East I immediately detected a Canterbury flavour to it, albeit probably by accident rather than design as I've never heard the lads namecheck Soft Machine or Hatfield and the North in interviews. Either way, this album definitely has that same kind of hazy psych-jazz flavour that I get from early Softs and Hatfield's debut. It's lovely stuff.
« Last Edit: July 09, 2019, 11:12:03 AM by Hemulen »

NoSleep

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Re: Canterbury schnizzle
« Reply #14 on: July 09, 2019, 11:06:48 AM »
I'd add Tortoise to that list of bands influenced by Canterbury. Their 2nd album, TNT is a Canterbury classic in my head, even managing on the closer track (Jetty) to sound like a drum'n'bass version of Hatfield & The North.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WaXSHE54XLg

Quote
Gong - Classic Gong stands apart from typical Canterbury, as the backbone of their sound is tripped out space rock, with a bunch of jazzy noodling and cup-of-tea whimsy layered on top. You is probably their best, but Angel's Egg and Camembert Electrique are a good warm-up. There's so much to explore with Gong and it's many splinter group that it's practically a "scene" in its own right.

Add Flying Teapot as a stone cold classic; produced by Giorgio Gomelsky, too.

Quote
Soft Machine - Vol's 1 and 2 are where it's at, obviously, but Third is an interesting experiment (a double album consisting of four sidelong pieces, two by Ratledge, one by Hopper and one by Wyatt). Worth checking out if you have the patience for long instrumental experiments. If not just stick on Moon in June (Robert Wyatt's piece) and be done with it.

Volume Two is my fave, but Third is probably the most "important" album. Apparently Ornette Coleman was even a fan.
Regarding Volume One, I never quite clicked with this, but when "Middle Earth Masters" was released, we finally had a document of what that earlier trio was truly capable of.
« Last Edit: July 09, 2019, 11:17:20 AM by NoSleep »

BlodwynPig

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Re: Canterbury schnizzle
« Reply #15 on: July 09, 2019, 11:09:02 AM »
Not forgetting France's answer to Canterbury - Moving Gelatine Plates <<<

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7v8G9hcSU9s

NoSleep

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Re: Canterbury schnizzle
« Reply #16 on: July 09, 2019, 11:13:08 AM »
Finland's Wigwam, also.

BlodwynPig

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Re: Canterbury schnizzle
« Reply #17 on: July 09, 2019, 11:39:34 AM »
Guinea Bissau's Journeys By Barge, also

NoSleep

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Re: Canterbury schnizzle
« Reply #18 on: July 09, 2019, 11:56:48 AM »
What are they an answer to?

BlodwynPig

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Re: Canterbury schnizzle
« Reply #19 on: July 09, 2019, 12:22:20 PM »
What are they an answer to?

Moldova's Sunset Cottages

Re: Canterbury schnizzle
« Reply #20 on: July 09, 2019, 02:42:19 PM »
Thanks everyone, I'm going to be really fucking skint for a while now. I've only listened to the white Matching Mole LP and If I Could Do... by Caravan so good to know there is 'better' out there by both. Can't believe the price of the Egg records, some don't ever seem to have been repressed on vinyl, hopefully that may change soon. Think I'm going to start with Grey and Pink, first two Soft Machine, t'other Matching Mole and first two H&tN.

Gorkys are a contemporary Canterbury kind of band, aren't they?

NoSleep

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Re: Canterbury schnizzle
« Reply #21 on: July 09, 2019, 03:10:15 PM »
I think they're fans of Kevin Ayers, maybe one specific album at that (one of the Whole World ones).

purlieu

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Re: Canterbury schnizzle
« Reply #22 on: July 09, 2019, 03:37:51 PM »
I've only listened to the white Matching Mole LP and If I Could Do... by Caravan [...] Think I'm going to start with Grey and Pink
If I Could... is a lot more rambling than Grey and Pink, so hopefully you'll enjoy the much more concise latter. That said, I don't think there's anything on it quite as good as For Richard / Warlock. But yes, you're in for a treat.

Re: Canterbury schnizzle
« Reply #23 on: July 09, 2019, 04:04:23 PM »
Yeah, the jazz thing - listening to the Rotters Club or Matching Mole, it's amazing how good these guys are - their playing's up there with what Miles or Herbie Hancock were doing at the same time, but it's almost as if they're embarassed by their own proficiency, being white middle class English guys, so you get these whimsical lyrics and titles and twee vocals.

NoSleep

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Re: Canterbury schnizzle
« Reply #24 on: July 09, 2019, 04:27:35 PM »
I think the whimsical lyrics all stem from Robert Wyatt's original musings while in Soft Machine, which read back like a blog or a diary. A good example is the Moon In June where the lyrics seem to change from performance to performance, so that the one they did for a Peel session is talking about how they had to cut their songs down to little bits the last time they did a session for the BBC, but now they can play as loud and as long as they want; as well as a mention for the tea machine in the hall. His lyrics seemed to set the tone for the whole scene.

Sin Agog

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Re: Canterbury schnizzle
« Reply #25 on: July 09, 2019, 06:42:46 PM »
The Quiet Sun album's really nice. Weird, melancholic mash-up between post-Roxy Manzanera and the earliest blossomings of This Heat.  Some people prefer the live version sans Charles Hayward 'cause Eno confidently steps into his place, but they're both good.

NoSleep

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Re: Canterbury schnizzle
« Reply #26 on: July 09, 2019, 08:01:11 PM »
Brian Eno played drums? nah, it was Simon Phillips. You can have CH's singing.

Phil Manzanera was apparently an early witness to Soft Machine. Bill McCormick went on to join Matching Mole.

Which reminds me that another important early band was Delivery (Carol Grimes, Phil Miller, Steve Miller, Roy Babbington & Pip Pyle: a proto-Canterbury supergroup), whose album, Fools Meeting, has the occasional hint of the Matching Mole sound:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j9sExaD0NJ4&feature=youtu.be&t=306

As well as This Heat (aside from CH being in Quiet Sun and Gong, Charles Bullen was playing with Geoff Leigh after he left Henry Cow) and Roxy Music being part of the greater Canterbury family tree, you can add Police, as Andy Summers was an early member of Soft Machine briefly.

chveik

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Re: Canterbury schnizzle
« Reply #27 on: July 09, 2019, 08:19:11 PM »
Art Bears. they don't really belong to this scene, but they're great.

Art Bears

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EHO64WTf5pk

edit: and there's also a woman screaming, Sin Agog

Flouncer

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Re: Canterbury schnizzle
« Reply #28 on: July 09, 2019, 08:44:25 PM »
As well as This Heat (aside from CH being in Quiet Sun and Gong, Charles Bullen was playing with Geoff Leigh after he left Henry Cow) and Roxy Music being part of the greater Canterbury family tree, you can add Police, as Andy Summers was an early member of Soft Machine briefly.

I didn't know that about Andy Summers. There is another Canterbury connection with The Police: Mike Howlett from Gong was in Strontium 90, a short-lived band with two bass players which consisted of him, Summers, Copeland and Sting. They performed at Gong's 1977 reunion in Paris.

Re: Canterbury schnizzle
« Reply #29 on: July 09, 2019, 08:59:11 PM »
See, all that stuff really puts me off. I fucking hate The Police. I like Robert Wyatt's voice and the thought of loads of weird young men pootling around Canterbury making records. I don't want to think of the fucking Police.