Thursday, July 3, 2008

Phil Manzanera - Quiet Sun

Quiet Sun was Phil Manzanera's pre-Roxy Music endeavor. (Few people realize that he was originally Roxy Music's sound person. He joined Roxy Music when their original guitarist--David O'List, formerly of the Nice--was not working out.). Quiet Sun came perilously close to gaining their own record contract in 1971, but their complexity and radical style did not gel with the appetites of the record execs they auditioned for. They broke up in 1972, and when Manzanera had money and studio time, they reformed.

The Soft Machine influence is obvious, but in execution Quiet Sun created something completely different. Phil Manzanera simply sears on guitar here, leading a Canterbury-style jazz-rock band with all the edge of "Red"-era King Crimson, AND the Latin passion of Santana. The production and mastering on this are amazingly hot, so the highs do tizzle a bit at times, still - the compositions are interesting and diverse, and the performance is brimming with spontaneity and band chemistry.

It is a shame that the album was a one-shot deal--they apparently have other material from the sessions--as the playing and intensity are awe-inspiring. You'll never look at Phil Manzanera the same way again; I guarantee it.

As a fan of the edgier sorts of progrock, this qualifies as one of my prize possessions. This OOP beauty is a magical album, too bad they didn't do another--but it's doubtful they could have topped THIS sizzling slab of raw beauty. Do yourself a favor and get it.

1. Sol Caliente 2. Trumpets With Motherhood 3. Bargain Classics
4. R.F.D. 5. Mummy Was an Asteroid, Daddy Was a Small Non-Stick Kitchen Utensil
6. Trot 7. Rongwrong


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