The Wire Salon: An audience with Robert Wyatt

Robert Wyatt
Robert Wyatt, picture by Helena Dornellas

At Cafè Oto in London, Thursday April 12th year 2012, Robert Wyatt appeared on stage for a discussion to talk about selected tracks from his back catalogue. The discussion was chaired by The Wire’s Tony Herrington and the audience also got the opportunity to ask Robert questions.

Being there would’ve been wonderful, but now even those who spent their evenings elsewhere that fateful day can get to enjoy this talk. An MP3 featuring the evening’s dialogue has been made available on The Wire’s website. Check it out!

Link : The Wire Salon: An audience with Robert Wyatt

Favourite Jimmy Hastings Solos!

Jimmy Hastings (brother of Pye) may be one of the most underrated musicians from the Canterbury scene. He was an “unofficial member” of several of our favourite bands – Caravan, Soft Machine, Hatfield and the North, National Health – often credited, but generally not an official member. Although he’s contributed saxophone and clarinet, it is the wonderful addition of his flute which I personally enjoy the most. I just love the sound of the flute and Jimmy’s phrasing is always wonderful. What beautiful melodies!

So, I thought it’s time to celebrate this wonderful musician and so I would like to ask all you Canterbury fans out there. What is your favourite Jimmy Hastings recorded solo performance?

Join the discussion in our forum thread : What is your favourite performance by Jimmy Hastings?

Richard Sinclair plays with Maartin Allcock and Oak

This popped up on the Richard Sinclair Live info Facebook page so I thought I’d help spread the word by posting it here as well. It seems Richard will be playing a couple of concerts with Maartin Allcock and the band Oak. :)

 

Next Live Gigs coming up are a new project with Maartin Allcock and Jerry Cutillo’s OAK, we’ll be performing in Rome and also Umbria …

 

Dance of the Goodbyes available as digital download and LP

Dance of the goodbyes album cover

Alberto Villarroya from the Italian Canterbury inspired prog band Amoeba Split dropped by our forums to give us the following message.

 

Hi everyone!

Finally, since last week we have the new Amoeba Split Bandcamp page: http://amoebasplit.bandcamp.com/. Here you can download our first demo and our debut album “Dance of goodbyes” (Flac or 320Mp3), along with original booklet and artworks.

Also, its for sale the double vynil edition (high quality 180 grs) of “Dance of goodbyes”, nominated by italian web page “Progawards” as “Best debut album of 2010″, with original artwork all in a single folder. This is a very limited edition of 300 copies, only 150 left available at this moment, so hurry up!.

Thanks for your attention and support, best wishes to all,

Alberto Villarroya
Amoeba Split

 

So there you have it! I have yet to hear Dance of the Goodbyes, but I’ve been looking forward to it and so I’m very pleased. Those curious about Italian Canterbury prog should definetly check it out. The price is a mere 5 euro minimum with the option of donating a bit more if you feel charitable.

Thanks to Amoeba Split for sharing this :)

Happy Birthday, Mark!

Today we celebrate the birthday of the magnificent guitarist and adventurer Mark Hewins who is 57 today. As a musician, Mark got involved with the Canterbury scene in the mid-70s when he played in Polite Force alongside ex-flowers Graham Flight, Dave Sinclair and many other Canterburyan heroes who guested the stage with the band. Later on, he would befriend and collaborate with many other musicians from the scene like Elton Dean, Hugh Hopper and Richard Sinclair in projects like Going Going and Mashu.

Mark has also been a a great resource to many of us fans as he has happily shared with us both Canterbury-related music, pictures, videos and anecdotes, for example stories from when he was on the road with Soft Heap. He is always friendly, always approachable, and many of us owe him our personal thanks.

Some time ago, Mark sent me a video which is an interview with him while “on the road” – or perhaps “in the air” – and I’ve been waiting for the right moment to share it. Enjoy!

Also don’t forget to check out Mark’s account on Soundcloud where he shares his music, both his own solo works and collaborations with others. It is a treasure trove for any Canterbury enthusiast.

Happy birthday, Mark! :)

Mark and Hugh Interview

Mark Hewins has graciously shared with us a couple of interviews/talks between him and Hugh Hopper from 2007. I have embedded them here in this post for your viewing pleasure.

Hugh Hopper interview

This first one is a video of Mark interviewing Hugh and the two discuss subjects like experimental music, how Hugh first got into tape loops and a bit about how technology has changed music.

The Pedals (pedal heaven)

In the second one, Mark and Hugh talk about pedals. Among other thigs,  Hugh explains how he created his signature fuzzy bass sound that he used in Soft Machine.

Both videos should be rare and highly welcome treats to all fans out there. Thank you so much for sharing them with us, Mark! :)

Big in Japan – Part 2 : Sixnorth

Cover for Sixnorth's Prayer (2003)

Sixnorth or “Six North” depending on where you’re reading about them is a Japanese fusion/prog rock group led by talented bassist and composer Hideyuki Shima. As far as I know, the band has released two albums. The first, I’m Here in my Heart from 2000, features a lot of lovely composed and largely instrumental music which is a joy to listen to. Their second album, Prayer from 2003, is a worthy follow up and connoisseurs of the Canterbury scene will also be happy to hear that it features a guest performance by none other than keyboardist Dave Sinclair on the album’s final track which is named after his cousin Richard. Actually, both Dave and Richard Sinclair have performed with members of the band at a Canterbury festival in Asia in 2004, although I don’t know any specifics beyond that.

The band is slightly obscure here in the west, but those adventurous enough to check them should find them a rewarding listen. Not much is available on sites like youtube, but I did manage to find the song “Richard” from their second album which is the song previously mentioned, dedicated to Richard with a guest performance by Dave Sinclair. If you listen closely, you should also hear a musical reference to the Hatfield and the North song “Fitter Stoke has a Bath”.

Enjoy!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ntUQhRcLWzc

Canterbury Soundwaves March Episode

Canterbury Soundwaves, the Canterbury Scene podcast

The March episode of the Canterbury Soundwaves podcast came out a couple of days ago and is a little special as it features an interview with the great Mark Hewins. Don’t miss out!

 

Featuring an interview with guitarist Mark Hewins about his various collaborative work with Elton Dean, Pip Pyle, Hugh Hopper, John Greaves, the Miller brothers, the Sinclair cousins, Gong, Lol Coxhill, Lady June, etc., as well as his innovative guitar styles. Also, early B-sides from both Kevin Ayers and Gong, some Soft Heap, and more Canterbury-sourced hiphop (this time, Wu-Tang’s Ghostface Killah spitting over a ’68 Softs loop!)

 

Link : Check it out! 

Memories

You’ve probably heard the news already, popular singer Whitney Houston is sadly with us no more. For readers of this blog, I’d just like to share with you a piece of trivia. Whitney Houstons first recorded lead vocal song was actually a version of Hugh Hopper’s Memories, first recorded by the Wilde Flowers, and was done for the band Material on their 1982 album One Down.

You can find the song below. May her memory live forever!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i3CZPNT9GSs

Big in Japan – Part I : Ain Soph

The music of the Canterbury Scene reaches out to people through time and space and has far reaching influences on other musicians. Some of these influences travel across to the other side of the globe from where the music originated. Over the course of a few posts, I will take a brief look at a few Japanese bands inspired by the Canterbury scene. More than simple imitations, these bands feature highly skilled musicians with a deep respect for their inspirations.

Ain Soph - Hat and Field (1986)

Ain Soph is one of the most obviously Canterbury inspired bands from the Japanese prog rock scene. They started out as a prog band in the 70s and the earliest available recordings from them are late 70s live demos released in the early 90s in the release Ride On A Camel. Could it be a reference to the band Camel? In 1980, they released a highly acclaimed debut album called A Story of Mysterious Forest and in 1986, their even more acclaimed (I believe) Hat and Field which is an obvious reference to Hatfield and the North, both in title, album cover and to some extent the music they play. One of the album’s songs is called “Canterbury Tale (For Pye Hastings & Richard Sinclair)”. It makes me wonder if Pye or Richard ever heard it?

If you find these references obvious to the point of being a little painful, don’t let it turn you off their music which is surprisingly beautiful and “genuine” for a Canterbury band so far away from Canterbury.

For those curious enough to check it out, here’s a small sample, the album’s opening song “The Swan Lake”.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fKJ2y8qlkf8

Enjoy! :)