::                                                              ::
  ::                     - WHAT'S RATTLIN'? -                     ::
  ::     The "Periodical" Digest for Canterbury Music Addicts     ::
  ::                         Issue # 197                          ::
  ::                  Sunday, October 10th, 2002                  ::
  ::                                                              ::


Dear Rattlers,

I wasn't expecting to take so much time following up last issue, but it has proved difficult finding the time to do everything I had planned to do. Anyway, here it is. In the meantime, this has been a busy month, Canterbury-wise, with lots of exciting shows here in Paris - Daevid Allen's University of Errors, two sold-out nights of the 'Tribute to Soft Machine' show with Hugh Hopper and special guest Elton Dean, a magnificent John Greaves 'jazz songs' concert with Sophia Domancich on piano and Vincent Courtois on cello... I'm sorry I'm not able to review these in detail. Suffice it to say that our heroes are on top form and this music is still vibrant and vital to a lot of people.

Which leads me to a brief apparte - I have heard, as some of you probably did, from Jonny Greene of GAS, that the London show by University Of Errors with Richard Sinclair opening, next Tuesday, was in danger of being cancelled because of unsufficient ticket sales (read Jonny's message further below). Having seen UofE twice in the last month, and enjoyed these concerts very much indeed, I urge everyone within travelling distance of London to try and make it. With the added bonus of Richard playing a fine duo set with the excellent David Rees-Williams on piano this is not to be missed.

Last but not least, you may be aware that a new live Matching Mole CD, "March", has recently come out on Cuneiform. This is a fantastic live set, I urge everyone to check it out (I didn't write any liner notes for it, so there is no amount of self-promotion in there), and I hope to get reviews of it for inclusion in the next WR.




This second evening concluded with the festival headliner, then known as Soft Ware. I understand this name has now changed to Soft Works, but the members of this Canterbury supergroup remain the same - Elton Dean, Allan Holdsworth, Hugh Hopper and John Marshall. Although they have already recorded their debut album in London in June, this was their first-ever live performance together.

Given the low amount of time they've actually spent together, it is impressive how this band has quickly found its feet and risen above being merely the sum of its parts, creating its own musical identity. In a way this was to be expected, with four such strong personalities. This is precisely what made classic Soft Machine so great - each member being a unique exponent of his instrument, with an instantly recognisable style and sound.

Soft Ware/Works create their music from a rather sparse musical framework, using themes, chord sequences and bass riffs as a platform for individual and collective improvisation. The opening number was exemplary in this respect, being a reworking of Elton Dean's classic "Seven For Lee", retitled "Seven Formerly", from which only the 7/4 bass motif remained - yet it effortlessly extended to 16 minutes of intense interplay. What struck me immediately was the amazing strength and authority of John Marshall's drumming, from the first drum roll. I have since seen John perform with the classic John Surman Quartet (sadly, John told me ECM show no interest in recording a new album) and these qualities were demonstrated even more impressively.

Of course the key element in the band's chemistry was going to be Elton and Allan's ability to establish a fruitful dialogue as soloists. At first they seemed to follow the jazz rule of soloing one after the other, although there was more than just that going on, as Allan laid down some very beautiful harmonic layers behind Elton's soloing; but there was a moment at the end of "Abrakadabra" (a Hopper tune formerly known as "Spans") when they seemed to reach a level of almost telepathic interplay. Hugh's bass playing, creating as it does a lot of space, was the perfect catalyst for that to happen.

The band played almost all of the material from their forthcoming album, omitting only Elton's funky "Willie The Knee", and adding as encore the only Soft Machine classic played that night, a very spontaneous version of "Facelift", which Elton and Hugh launched into at Allan's visible surprise and puzzlement. It turned out that Allan had never played that tune (and possibly never heard it!), yet he pulled out one of his amazing, lightning-fast solos during the middle part. Elton did a great job alternating between alto (mainly), saxello (occasionally) and Fender Rhodes piano. The arrangement worked better than I would have thought; the overall sound was always full, thanks to both Allan's support job (something he doesn't do very often but is actually very good at) and Elton's comping; and the changes in instrumentation didn't seem forced, they just made for a greater variety.

All in all, a performance that did not disappoint, and suggested even greater things for the future.


In Cahoots

Phil Miller's band, which celebrates its twentieth anniversary this year, had never performed in the US before. So it was somewhat logical that the setlist for this appearance should resemble a 'best-of' of its career to date. It included one or two tracks from each album, with the notable exception of "Recent Discoveries", which seems to have grown out of favour with its composer since its release.

Some of the pieces dated back to the very early days of In Cahoots - "Above And Below" (with, as introduction, a guitar/piano duo version of Alan Gowen's "Arriving Twice", an affectionate nod at the late keyboard player), "Your Root 2" and "Second Sight" - all performed on the band's 1983/84 BBC sessions - were supplemented by the amazing "Green & Purple Extract" / "Hic Haec Hoc" / "A Simple Man" medley, clocking in at almost 20 minutes, which was a sort of dream choice as opener as far as I'm concerned - I'd been dying to see InCa perform this one day!

The last two albums were represented with the intimistic "ED Or Ian" from "Parallel", and a surprising sextet arrangement of "Delta Borderline" from "Out Of The Blue" - one of the two pieces of that album which didn't have horns on them. This served to show Phil's compositions' malleability, as did the enriched arrangements of "Above And Below" and "Hic Haec Hoc".

Old stuff, then (I understand Phil has a substantial backlog of material waiting to be rehearsed and recorded, though), but a major element of novelty too - for the first time ever, In Cahoots performed with a drummer other than Pip Pyle. Earlier this year, Phil and Pip decided to go their separate ways for a while and concentrate on their respective projects, so Mark Fletcher has now filled the spot. Mark is an experienced player in various fields (his main Canterbury credentials being previous collaborations with guitarist John Etheridge), and he did an awesome job considering he'd (1) never heard the music before rehearsing it; (2) begun band rehearsals two days before the show; (3) was still sight-reading charts during the performance !! On a couple of occasions, I found his playing not entirely adequate (you can't beat Pip on "Above And Below", for instance), but I heard no mistakes, and Mark even had the guts to embark on an impromptu battle with Pete Lemer's synth on the intro and outro to "Your Root 2" - to Phil's visibile hilarity ! Mark proved himself an immaculate musician, a great performer and all-around great guy (he and Jim Dvorak certainly make up a great comic duo !). We'll surely miss Pip but Mr. Fletcher is as good a replacement as we could possibly hope for.

Daevid Allen's University of Errors

The succession of In Cahoots and UoE on that final evening of the festival served to illustrate the amazing variety of musical idioms contained within the "Canterbury school" tag. With University Of Errors, there was an aspect of "back to the roots", with a very rock'n'roll energy and the inclusion of a number of classic early Soft Machine songs, plus the presence of Kevin Ayers for the final third of the set. Having seen UoE again in Paris three weeks after Seattle, I must however say that this group is in no way a nostalgia trip. There is a very modern energy and attitude to the band, and old and new material is combined into a very coherent and consistent whole.

University Of Errors is in many ways a rockier, less spacy version of Gong, as demonstrated with the new version of "Pothead Pixies", which is played almost twice as fast and with incredible energy. Josh Pollock is an incredible guitarist, with a very distinctive personality, playing with the apparent disregard for technique of a punk musician, yet delivering some pretty complex work with great precision. The Seattle gig added an extra element to his show since he broke two strings, and made the process of replacing them an integral part of the event !! Jason Mills, although he looks like a 15-year-old kid, was similarly impressive, a great combination of strength and subtlety. Finally, Michael Clare (who doubles as the group's road manager) is a very solid bass player, an anchor, exactly what the music requires.

UoE played a large selection of numbers from their new album "Ugly Music For Monica", including a re-vamped "So What?", the classic Miles Davis theme that Daevid had already covered on his 'jazz' album "Eat Me Baby, I'm A Jellybean". One of the best and funniest moments in the performance came when Josh introduced a cover of King Crimson's progrock masterpiece "21st Century Schizoid Man", with suitably altered lyrics. The parody was seemingly aimed at what presented itself as a "prog" festival, but was only partly appropriate since Progman Cometh featured very little of the overblown, pompous side of prog which the song aimed at deflating.

The last third of the set was very special since the quartet were joined by Kevin Ayers on vocals and rhythm guitar for a few songs. This turned out to be a very nice moment, albeit rather short. Kevin began proceedings with a new song, which surprised many of us, but a new album does seem to be on the way for the not-too-distant future… Classic songs followed - the beautiful "Hymn", once co-sung by Robert Wyatt, and a few old Soft Machine songs like "Clarence In Wonderland", "Feelin' Reelin' Squealin'" (Kevin and Daevid sharing lead vocals - a great sight!) and "Jet Propelled Photographs". It was nice to see this sort-of Canterbury festival end on a reference to where, and with whom, it all began.

There were a couple of footnotes to this final evening - first, University Of Errors were joined by Richard Sinclair for a rendition of "O Caroline". I thought this would be unique to the festival, but UoE re-did it (without Richard of course) on the Paris concert. Finally, what had been planned as a one-hour jam between all participating musicians was reduced, due to time restrictions, to a 10-minute blow by an ad-hoc group of Elton Dean, Jim Dvorak, Patrice Meyer (using Kevin Ayers' guitar!) and Fred Baker with, on drums, the man who has to be thanked for those three days of musical delight, Jerry Cook. The jam was energetic and intense and all participants visibly enjoyed the occasion. One amusing sight was to see some of the technical crew add additional cymbals and toms to the drum kit throughout the brief performance - Jerry was playing Jason Mills' rather simple kit, and this was apparently far below Jerry's requirements as a drummer!!

Thus ended the first edition of Progman Cometh, hopefully to be followed by many others. Obviously the word-of-mouth from those in attendence has been excellent, and hopefully in the future there will not only be excellent music from talented musicians, but also the attendance level such an event deserves. There is only this far to go to reach (near) perfection. Keep up the good work, lads!!


From: "Christopher Clow" <cosmocasablanca@earthlink.net>
Subject: Progman Cometh
Date: Fri, 30 Aug 2002 23:59:55 -0700

Hello, Aymeric,

I'm really pleased that you were able to experience the show. Our personal views were very different, for many reasons. I'm just a fan who saw SOFT MACHINE open for THE JIMI HENDRIX EXPERIENCE on Aug. 28, 1968, and became a fan of the Canterbury genre, but I've recently learned that I missed a lot of the development of the scene in the last couple decades. Here's my brief review of the festival:

Fri: 8/16/02,7 PM

GLASS Well, I guess they were great, but I was astonished by the appearance during the 2nd song by Elton Dean, who played the best solo of the festival by my ears, probably because it was unexpected. I think they used the mellotron on one song, then it disappeared for the rest of the fest. What's that all about?

HUGHSCORE: Why couldn't we have had them for a while longer? Elaine de Falco was wonderful singing Robert Wyatt, I was just getting warmed up when Hugh said "We're going to do a short set because Pip Pyle needs a lot of space". The best band of the night, absolutely.

PIP PYLE''S BASH: I'd never heard of Patrice Myer before. People warned me that he would change my concept of guitar-playing, and they were right. I really have no other strong memories of this set. Just that he was like a science-fiction creation of man/guitar machine.  Bsically, the first night was great. The sound was fine, if you had the brains to sit in the right part of the theatre. I sat in the first row a lot, so the sound was overbearing, but I moved around alot, and found all the usual differences. Of course, if you sit underneath the balcony, it's all compressed; move up 3 rows and it sounds great.

Sat. Afternoon, HAMSTER THEATRE,  I overslept and missed @ 20 minutes of this set. Big Mistake. This band is brilliant. "We've been together for 10 years and this is the 1st time we've ever played together outside of Colorado". A listener said: "You don't expect to hear this sort of music live, You expect this to be constructed in the studio". I spoke with Jon Stubbs, the keyboard guy, and he said it was the first time he didn't have to "drive to the gig", instead he went to the airport. What a triumph!

Then Gordon Beck didn't play, instead RICHARD SINCLAIR did a solo impromptu set, which has been maligned in other reviews, but it was the highlight of the entire festival for me.. He noodled around with several songs, completing none, and it was like hanging out in his living-room listening to him screw around with ideas, some worked, some didn't. He brought tears to my eyes when he toyed with "OH CAROLINE' and "OH WHAT A LONELY LIFETIME".  I considered staying home and missing the afternoon show; I would've missed my fave set of the fest. Seems like a lot of reviewers just don't like singing; well, guess what, most listeners prefer singing to instrumentals. I know, I'm a singer. I still listen to Robert Wyatt, but Soft Machine became boring after RW left.

Then Phreeworld.  Any band that spells an "f" sound with a ""ph" is bullshit up front to me. Then they started playing, and talking @ Tarot cards, and I left, as did a bunch of other folks.

Sat. Eve., after visiting the Virginia Inn down the street, KOPECKY  played. Did someone say "posing"?I wasted my buzz on this band.

Then more RICHARD SINCLAIR  w/ DAVID REES-WILLIAMS, just fine, but I actually preferred the disjointed solo set.

SOFTWARE: Stunning, all around.

Sun. Afternoon:

STINKHORN: Sorry, guys, I slept in.  Arrived to hear David Rees-Williams playing "Blues Rondo ala Turk", which was just wonderful, a nice surprise.

Then AZIGZA. Very interesting, but I'm not rushing out to buy albums. You folks need hooks, if ya get my drift.

PHIL MILLER'S IN CAHOOTS: Great playing, but again, where are the hooks? Maybe I was just tired of listening to brilliant music.

UNIVERSITY OF ERRORS: Daevid Allen pulls out all stops, finishing with excellent ending. His whole band is superb. Josh Pollock rocks no end!!! Then Kevin Ayers comes out to put us all to bed. Finally everybody comes down to do the "Oh Caroline" ending. I go home happy and silly. Thanks, Jerry and everyone...

Christopher Clow


From: GHodges223@aol.com
Subject: Seattle Festival
Date: Sat, 31 Aug 2002 14:01:13 EDT

Fine music in the Northwest- I drove up from California-

My favorites (though all were enjoyable), were In Cahoots (positively brilliant), Pip Pyle's Bash (Patrice Meyer is very skilled, Fred Baker and Pip Pyle an enourmous force, and Alex McGuire muscular keyboard work with plenty of body language), Hughscore (melancholic complex, yet repetitive riffs - beautiful), and Software (fine playing - Allan Holdsworth's playing was imbued with his unique style, Marshall destroyed his kit, Elton Dean's playing was solid, as I knew it would be, Hugh Hopper played very differently in this band - truly versatile).

The local and US bands were interesting - Hamster Theatre was brilliant, Stinkhorn and Glass were very interesting and skilled, Kopecky were enjoyable  in their complicated heavy metal and off-the-wall comments, Azigza with their burning bundles of incense and Eastern sounding modes/ colorful robes and exotic dancing were very amusing (it was hilarious when the lights came up, to compare the radical stage scene with the straight looking audience - kind of like Neil Young rocking out in long hair and torn jeans in front of an audience of stock market traders in suits... keep on rockin' in the free world. I missed Phreeworld, incidentally. Figuring out Seattle's downtown crowds, one-way streets and parking garage prices were a bit much.

Richard Sinclair provided the much needed soft melody to counteract the hard aggression of the younger (with some exceptions) bands. His work with David Rees-Williams on piano was great. (Rees-Williams played a solo set handling Dave Brubeck and Freddie Hubbard tunes - impressive playing). Nice to hear Richard Sinclair on bass too.

Daevid Allen and University of Errors (with and without Kevin Ayers) was very interesting as well - a new song from Kevin Ayers (so new he had a note to guide him).  The band was solid and pointed lyrically. Very different from some of the more abstract and purely musical of the Canterbury groups. Sarcastic and funny/energetic... different.

In Cahoots was absolutely amazing-  Phil Miller's playing is stunning - from very complex, unique chord changes pushing/driving the big band thru the well-composed charts, to brilliant solos all over the fretboard - he really flew.  The band was great, the new drummer had "BUGGER" on his T-shirt and played with anchoring energy.

The sense of humor was a joy - at one point Elton Dean and Jim Dvorak (seated in front of Pete Lemer on keyboards) between songs, were joking about (I could only catch a bit of it) "what if everyone in the world was smarter than you", sort of implying that situation to Pete, who dropped his sheet music... He picked it up and put it back on the music stand, paused with a look like (now watch this...), then aligned the pages, shuffling exactly and moved them a centimeter to the right, until they were in the new perfect position.  All the time the two critics would never look at Lemer, and Lemer would never look directly at them.  This was enormously funny. Later at the end, when flowers were given to Phil Miller at the end of the set, Dvorak threatened to water them by blowing out his trumpet spittle on them. Phil Miller had to warn him that he'd better not.These people are true characters... and serious musicians. Fred Baker's playing was all over the stage... supportive at all times. I was very glad to be able to see In Cahoots in the US.

Pip Pyle's Bash was equally great - Patrice Meyer's playing was solidly musical - building solos so logically, yet free in his loosening up of his  musical instinct. It was like watching a finely-meshed gear-shifting throughout the whole set - He could step up or step back and support- going thru all the chord changes and rhythms with great skill and genuine love of the music-a very valuable player in the finest of the Canterbury ways. The whole band was great- I hope they record- Pip Pyle and Fred Baker are a true force. Alex MacGuire (whom I had never heard of ) was impressive on the organ.

All in all a great festival- though exhausting.  Strange that the Canterbury Festival has none of these musicians... though probably not that surprising with the UK government mimicking US at every step - it must be very difficult for these musicians in the 21st century. Hopefully they will be able to push for healthier world behaviors through their artistic constructions. A lot of the music at this festival contributes greatly to make life worthwhile.


From: Jonny Greene <jonny@planetgong.co.uk>
Subject: Go Fifth and Errorize!
Date: Thu, 3 Oct 2002 11:26:36 +0100

Okay here are the facts of the matter. The promoter of the London University of Errors gig is getting cold feet because in his opinion there are not enough tickets being booked and is seriously considering cancelling the gig. Which would be a disaster for everyone - not least the London audience which will almost certainly never get the chance to see this most wonderful of bands again.

Now we all know that Gong and related bands do get healthy audiences, it's just that they don't necessarily book in advance. So if you are toying with the idea of seeing the band in London - book a ticket NOW/TODAY or there may be nothing to see on Tuesday 8th at the Garage in Islington.

Telephone booking: 020 7344 0044
Online booking: http://www.meanfiddler.com

If you live too far away to go to this gig (Siberia for example) but have a friend in or near London who you think would like it then please e-mail them. I have seen the band 3 times now - it is great - totally unlike any other Daevid show you will have ever seen - (except just maybe if you saw the original Soft Machine at the Middle Earth in 66/67 or the first Floating Anarchy tour in 77 - perhaps). I despair at the thought that one of the most exciting Gong related bands for years may cease to exist  - everybody who sees them totally loves it!

If you need further proof the band's sheer power to amaze then please read the totally unsolicited e-mail below which I received this morning from original Here & Now/Planet Gong  drummer Kif Kif .

Hi jonny,

Just mailing to say that the UofE gig at Glastonbury Assembly Rooms was sensational! It was one of the very best gigs I've ever seen, and I've seen some  dam fine ones over the last 30 years.

message to all humans - what ever you do GET TO A UNIVERSITY OF  ERRORS GIG BEFORE THE CURRENT TOUR ENDS!!! or wait another half  decade or so before the chance to experience raw musical excitement  this powerful comes round again. man, it was so hot! strong and streamin' mate, or what!?

Thankyou boys,

I leave it in your hands - t'will be what t'will be


url: http://www.planetgong.co.uk


* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
*               FORTHCOMING CANTERBURY-RELATED CONCERTS                 *
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

        [for more info : check out the 'Concerts' page of CALYX]

==> Daevid ALLEN & UNIVERSITY OF ERRORS <================================

Oct 06 - WOLVERHAMPTON, Robin 2 [also: The Electric Prunes] / Oct 07 - BRIGHTON, Concorde 2 [also: The Electric Prunes] / Oct 08 - LONDON, The Garage [also: Richard Sinclair]

==> Daevid ALLEN & Graham CLARK <========================================

Nov 06 - BUXTON, Old Clubhouse [not UoE, just DA & Graham Clark] / Nov 07 - MANCHESTER, Night & Day [not UoE, just DA & Graham Clark] / Nov 08 - LEICESTER, International Art Centre [not UoE, just DA & Graham Clark]

==> Kevin AYERS <========================================================

Oct 22 - SHEFFIELD, Boardwalk / Oct 23 - BRIERLY HILL, Robin Hood / Oct 25 - POOLE, Mr. Kyps / Oct 26 - SOUTHAMPTON, The Brook / Oct 27 - LEEDS, The Roscoe / Nov 02 - LONDON, The Borderline / Nov 05 - CHESTER, Telfords Warehouse

==> CARAVAN <============================================================

Nov 02 - ROTHERHAM, Oakwood Technical College / Nov 03 - CREWE, The Limelight / Nov 07 - SOUTHAMPTON, The Brook / Nov 09 - GREAT MALVERN, The Fringe Theatre / Nov 13 - BRISTOL, Fleece & Firkin / Nov 14 - WOLVERHAMPTON, Robin 2 / Nov 28 - LONDON, Astoria [support: Focus]

Nov 23-27 - EUROPEAN DATES (tba)

Line-up: Pye Hastings, Dave Sinclair, Richard Coughlan, Geoff Richardson,
         Doug Boyle, Jim Leverton, Simon Bentall

==> John GREAVES <=======================================================

Nov 08 - ARGENTEUIL [nr Paris] (France), Cave Dimiere

"ROXONGS" trio with Jeff Morin (guitar) & Manuel Denizet (drums)


* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
*                        AND OTHER GOOD GIGS...                         *
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

==> MAGMA <==============================================================

Oct 11 - FRIBOURG (Switzerland), Le Fri-Son / Oct 12 - GENEVA (Switzerland), Le Mad / Oct 14 - WARSAW (Poland), tbc / Oct 17 - TOULOUSE (France), tbc / Oct 18 - MONTAUBAN or BERGERAC (France), tbc / Oct 25 - RIS-ORANGIS [nr Paris] (France), Le Plan / Oct 28 - TROYES (France), Nuit Champagne (tbc) / Nov 05-06 - COUSTELET (France), La Gare / Nov 07 - MONTPELLIER (France), Victoire 2 / Nov 08 - TOULON (France), tbc / Nov 09 - NICE (France), Théatre Lino Ventura / Nov 15 - MAGNY-LES-HAMEAUX (France), Estaminet / Nov 16 - ALENCON (France), La Luciole / Nov 22 - FESTIVAL DE LA COTE D'OPALE (France) / Nov 23 - MAGNY-LE-HONGRE (France), File 7 / Nov 27 - PRAGUE (Czech Rep.), tbc / Dec 04 - ST.ETIENNE (France), Halle C / Dec 05 - LYON (France), venue tba / Dec 06 - ANNECY (France), Le Brise-Glace / Dec 08 - QUIMPER (France), Festival Aprem Jazz (tbc) / Dec 20 - ST.NAZAIRE (France), venue tba / Dec 21 - RENNES (France), Salle de la Cité

Line-up: Christian Vander, Stella Vander, Emmanuel Borghi,
         Philippe Bussonnett, James McGaw, Isabelle Feuillebois,
         Antoine Paganotti, Himiko Paganotti


And many more on the CALYX website's concerts page


                          END OF ISSUE 197

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