- WHAT'S RATTLIN' ?
:: The Weekly
Digest for Canterbury Music
Friday, April 14h,
WHAT'S RATTLIN'? - AN UPDATE
Let's start off with a very surprising, & for the most
part delightful, news item.
It has just been reported that there is a compilation of
Canterbury related music coming out on Eagle/BMG - a three CD set
with old and new recordings. The latter category includes a most
mouth-watering piece of music that was recorded recently by an
all-star line-up of which the least can be said is that it sounds
almost too good to be true.
The track in question will be a cover of the Soft Machine
song "As Long As He Lies Perfectly Still" (Wyatt & Ratledge's
tribute to Kevin Ayers from Softs' "Volume Two" album), and the
line-up will be...
Jakko Jakszyk - Vocals/Guitar
Dave Stewart - Keyboards
Hugh Hopper - Bass
Clive Brooks - Drums
The track features a new arrangement by Dave Stewart and a
new section at the end of the song specially composed by Jakko.
* * * *
Other than that, the main Canterbury-related event of late
is of course Gong's current tour of UK and European dates,
celebrating the release of their excellent new album "Zero To
Infinity". I was lucky enough to attend, in such prestigious
company as Steve Hillage, Steven Wilson (Porcupine Tree) and
Graham Clark (GongMaison, Shapeshifter-Gong etc.), the release
party at London's Subterania Club just off Portobello Road.
This was a limited access gig - a couple of hundred
people, I would say, including members of the press, assorted
friends and GAS members. This was also the UK debut of Gong's new
keyboard player Gwyo Zeprix. I am happy to report that not only is
Gwyo a very decent Tim Blake impersonator (Moog bubbles galore),
he is also a keyboard player of high calibre, very technically
accomplished (he duetted with Didier on the intro to "Oily Way"
for instance, a part usually played by the guitarist) and with a
great set of vintage and modern sounds.
The rest of the band was in excellent form, although I
found Gilli Smyth could have been featured a bit more prominently.
The rhythm section cooked, which led Daevid to comment that Chris
Taylor was the best Gong drummer ever - indeed he's magnificent,
although I like Pip Pyle and Pierre Moerlen's playing too much to
second his appreciation. Although he joined in an emergency during
last year's European tour, Chris is now a full member of the band,
and even sings lead on the chorus of "Bodilingus"!
Something I liked about this gig in particular was the
extended line-up - up to nine musicians on stage during the "OM
Riff", including an introverted looking Steffi Sharpstrings
playing a smoking guitar solo, Basil Brooks manipulating the synth
bubbles while Gwyo concentrated on keyboards, plus the full
current line-up - including both Didier Malherbe and Theo Travis
on saxes. Both were great - Didier played a doudouk solo in the
intro to "Magdalene" (already a live favourite!) and his usual
"flute salad", Theo played most of the sax solos, but both were
often together on stage - almost a "brass section"!
The show involved the usual costumes - Daevid in his
impossible to describe lunar outfit during "Oily Way", Gilli
dressed up as a cat in "I Am Your Pussy", and several members of
the band wearing sunglasses - but what was great was the perfect
mixture of old and new material. Material from the new album
amounted a good half of the performance, and even more could have
been played, "The Invisible Temple" for instance, which Gong
performed last autumn at the Nancy festival. All in all, this was
a great presentation, and I hope the netcast did justice to its
* * * *
While in London, I also took time to chat with Phil
Miller, who told me his new album will hopefully come out sometime
during the next couple of months. Although it features the whole
of In Cahoots (as well as Doug Boyle from Caravan) it is not an In
Cahoots album and will most probably be released under his own
name. It will consist of entirely new material, in a somewhat
"blues" vein although Phil declined to say more or play me any of
the music. Two other albums are on their way too - the second
Miller-Baker album is half-completed, with more material to be
written and some parts re-arranged; and Phil has a new MIDI
project on the way as well which involves Pip Pyle. Of course,
gigs are planned in support of the new album but no firm plans at
* * * *
Oh, and by the way... "What's Rattlin' Mike Doodlage?",
otherwise known as "What's Doing Mike Ratledge?". Well, a reliable
source informed me that he is currently writing a script for the
BBC, and in the past couple of years has conceived a couple of
CD-Roms about arts. In any case, definitely not doing anything
* * * *
On to the subscribers' contributions... Very few of them
I'm sorry to say, in spite of the time elapsed since the previous
issue. I count on your reports on Gong's current UK tour! At
From: Gary Davis <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Canterbury related news
Date: Mon, 10 Apr 2000 14:25:11 -0400
The latest Artist Shop newsletter is out and you'll find
it in its entirety at
<http://www.artist-shop.com/news.htm>. Here are some
excerpts of interest to Canterbury fans:
Now out on our Papabear Records page
Bruford Levin Upper Extremities/BLUE Nights - Having
recorded the Bruford
Levin Upper Extremities CD, the band toured Japan and the
U.S. recording all their shows. As you would expect from
these musicians, the live shows featured not only compositions
from the album, extended for live play, but wild improvs, jams
that turned into pieces, and compositions that turned into jams.
Far too many good pieces to squeeze into one CD, so it had to be a
double. If that's not enough, there's a bonus track - a remix by
engineer SplatterCell using elements of the live playing in an
unusual juxtaposition with techno remixing - perfect for this
band. The CD booklet contains Tony Levin's web road diaries
(and photos) from the tour, as well as some audience photos.
Coming Soon from Clearlight Music
Clearlight Symphony/Les Contes de Singe Fou - This grand
thematic and initiate piece features the Piano and synthesizers of
Cyrille Verdeaux, the virtuosity of violinist Didier Lockwood and
British vocalist Ian Bellamy's soulful voice. The result produced
an ambitious and eternal tale about humanity's spiritual quest for
higher perfection in the universe and the struggle to achieve this
illumination in a world that crushes such noble ambition.
Detailing the challenges, questions and dangers of such a quest
provided a work that spans over forty minutes in the same
tradition as Yes' "Close to the Edge", Genesis' " Suppers Ready"
and Nektar's "Remember the Future", all contemporaries of
Clearlight. Now available for the first time in CD format, this
eternally young music will satisfy old fans and impress new
converts to the Clearlight musical illumination.
Clearlight Symphony/Delired Cameleon Family - Recorded by
a crew of French progressive musicians including Clearlight
members as the soundtrack to the 1974 Pierre Clementi film Visa de
Censure n* X, this album demonstrates the inspired genius that can
occur when you combine talented musicians with a 'psychedelized'
mind and the freedom of six crazy days in a recording studio off
the clock. This is music that demands to be listened to with an
open mind and a strong visual imagination, as the listener is
transported to the next dimension. Featuring Cyrille
Verdeaux, Joel Durgenot, Gilbert Artman, Francois Jeanneau, Joe
Padovani, Yvan Coaquette, Ariel Kalma, Valerie Lagrange, Tim Blake
and other space travelers, the music is alternately hallucinatory,
soothing and 'nightmare' provoking. Featuring a cover with a
chameleon eating pot leaves the overall concept can only be
described as subversive surrealism. Great effort was taken during
mastering this first CD version to produce the highest sound
quality for tripping the light fantastique.
There are a few new releases on our Voiceprint page
<http://www.artist-shop.com/voiceprt> including the
Centipede/Septober Energy - Centipede's Septober Energy
was recorded in 1971 featuring an enormous jazz orchestra led by
pianist/composer Keith Tippett, and which included many luminaries
from the progressive and Canterbury scenes of the time.
Among the 50+ orchestra members were Robert Wyatt, Ian McDonald,
Julie Tippett, Elton Dean, Karl Jenkins, Nick Evans, John
Marshall, Gary Windo, Ian Carr, Mark Charig, Boz, Roy Babbington,
Brian Godding, Zoot Money, Jeff Clyne,Wilf Gibson and many more
with Robert Fripp handling production. Septober Energy is a
classic that has long been in demand for a CD reissue by
progressive fans. It is one massive work in four movements spread
over a double album and covers a wide variety of styles. A must
have for any progressive fan's collection!!!
Ovary Lodge/Ovary Lodge - For over twenty years Keith
Tippett has been at
the forefront of contemporary European Jazz and new music
as a solo pianist, composer, bandleader, band member and musical
educator. This recording was originally released in 1973 and
followed Tippet's critically acclaimed Centipede project, which
featured leading members of the English Jazz and Rock scene of the
early '70's. Ovary Lodge is a totally improvised recording,
featuring Keith Tippett on piano and zither. Roy Babbington is on
Bass and Frank Perry on percussion. Production is by Robert Fripp.
Coming in late April from Thirsty Ear
Matthew Shipp Quartet/Pastoral Composure - The Matthew
Pastoral Composure marks the debut of The Blue Series, an
exciting new jazz series from Thirsty Ear. Not coincidentally,
Shipp transcends his
well-defined status as one of the most daringly original
jazz pianists of recent times to lend his unique aesthetic to the
The Blue Series as its
curator and artistic director. Proudly, Thirsty Ear
persuaded Shipp to come out of a recent self-imposed retirement
from recording as a leader to contribute his own work for the
series. Hence, Pastoral Composure. On Pastoral
Composure Shipp departs from the drummer-less duo and trio
configurations on previous albums to embrace a classic jazz
quartet of piano (Shipp), bass (William Parker), drums (Gerald
Cleaver) and horns (Roy Campbell). Matt retains his
distinctive sonics and musical lexicon throughout, yet mixes those
elements in ways unlike previous efforts.
Matthew Ship is not really Canterbury related, however, I
thought it would be interesting to mention him as in an IRC chat
we hosted with Robert Wyatt not too long ago, Wyatt mentioned
Matthew Shipp as someone whose music he was paying a lot of
attention to lately. Having heard this album, I can see very
clearly why Shipp impresses Wyatt.
The Other Road
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Check out the latest
Artist Shop newsletter at
From: "Roger Farbey" <Roger@farbey.freeserve.co.uk>
Date: Tue, 28 Mar 2000 15:43:41 +0100
What's Rattlin' readers will no doubt be delighted to
learn that the double album 'Septober Energy' by Centipede has
just been re-released by BGO Records [BGOCD485]. This group,
though shortlived, was the brainchild of Keith Tippett and
consisted of a 50 piece (very) big band.
Amongst the players were several alumni from Soft Machine
(I counted 8 from various periods including Robert Wyatt and John
Marshall on drums), most of the original members of Nucleus and
such Canterbury-related and late-lamented stars such as Mongezi
Feza and Gary Windo. Originally released on RCA's Neon label in
1971, this album was produced by King Crimson's Robert Fripp (who
used Tippett's piano talents on some early Crimso albums).
The augmentation of the big band with a string section
makes for an eerie feel, sometimes reminiscent of The Beatles, and
at other times like Carla Bley's Escalator Over the Hill, and even
Never though is any of this magnum opus anything less than
It also features the vocals and lyrics of Julie Tippetts
(Keith Tippett's wife). The record is in four parts and just as
the original vinyl, is on two discs. Lots of solos abound
including some notable stuff from Gary Windo on tenor sax, soaring
above the clouds as does a haunting vocal section comprising the
aforementioned Tippetts along with Maggie Nichols, Boz Burrell,
Zoot Money and Mike Patto. Interestingly the Virgin Megastore I
obtained it from had it filed under 'Rock'. This is an arguable
definition because although, by virtue of the overwhelming number
of jazz musicians on the album, I would have categorised it as a
jazz recording, there are a few non-jazz musos too, and some who
came from groups that at the time were described as 'jazz-rock'.
It will now, thirty years on, be of immense interest to jazz fans,
progressive rock fans (with an open ear) and Canterbury
completists. This is a great and very important album, and BGO
have, yet again, proved themselves to be the saviours of 'lost'
treasures of contemporary music. Yes it still sounds contemporary
even after 30 years, so I guess it must be jazz!
Oh yes and one R.Wyatt wrote the liner notes.
From: "David Voci" <email@example.com>
Subject: 4 Sale
Date: 30 Mar 00 14:04:35 -0800
If any of you fine readers want to buy Egg-Self Titled and
Polite Force from me I will be glad to sell them.
I also have National Health/Missing Pieces and Man/Live
NB:The Eggs are mint, booklets are clean and sharp
cornered, original Japanese inserts are there and on one, the
japanese insert actually has a blown up copy of the back of the
Deram album cover in English.
$20.00 each for Egg's/post prepaid in U.S.A. $10.00 for
Missing Pieces and Man CD's/postpaid in USA.
Write me privately or call 408 747 6240.
BTW, if anyone wants to call just to bullshit music or
whatever, feel free.
From: "John Trickett"
Subject: Gong at the Canterbury festival
Date: Sat, 1 Apr 2000 12:07:39 +0100
Noticed that you have listed Gong at the Canterbury
festival at the end of July. I understood this was to be organised
by Caravan. Has the festival now been confirmed and are tickets
for sale and if so where from?
[I am sorry to say that I didn't receive any further
information about this festival since it was first announced. I
did however get confirmation from the Gong camp that Gong will be
appearing - AL]
From: chris cutler <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: my next
Date: Sat, 25 Mar 2000 21:03:09 +0000
14. NEW YORK. Tonic. Duo with KATO HIDEKI
5. BORDEAUX. Zoobizarre.
6. MARSEILLE,.Friche Belle de Mai.
Both with Jean Marc Montera, Tony Buck, Jean-Francois
Both with Palinckx project.
21. VICTORIAVILLE. With David Thomas - 'MIRROR MAN'
22. VICTORIAVILLE. Duo with Fred Frith
31st. NANCY. Centre Culturel Nancy Vandoeuvre.
'Le Signe de Trois'. Music theatre piece by Chris Cutler
and Stevan Tickmayer. With Marie Goyette, Eric houzelot, Christain
Director Philippe Tomine.
3rd TILBURG. Paradox. With Palinckx project.
4th. MUNSTER. With Palinckx project.
7th. WARWICK. University. With Peter Blegvad Trio.
From: "Barry Pollack" <email@example.com>
Subject: Subscribe to Whats Rattlin
Date: Sun, 9 Apr 2000 15:39:52 -0400
Please add my email to your list. As an internet
newcomer, I can't wait to learn more about the music I
have loved most for the past 8 years.
I want to give most deserved props to Bruce
Gallanter, owner of Downtown Music Gallery in NYC. More
than just being a great guy to chat music with, he represents
the heart of Canterbury in New York through his constant efforts
to publicize gigs and CDs
of many Canterbury/Progressive musicians.
Thanks for the great site!
Barry Pollack NYC
END OF ISSUE 153
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