Rainy Day Relaxation Road Trip. Romantic Evening Sex All Themes. Features Interviews Lists. Streams Videos All Posts. Jefferson Ogata. Jean-Mathieu Meyer. Huw Roberts. Stephen Harper. Eric Benac. Tom Hasegawa. Chris van Eijnsbergen. The least we can say is that The Muffins were heavily biased to Canterbury-sounds as their album is a mix of Soft Hatfield Health crossed with Crimsonic RIO, even if the two don't entwine as much as interact.
Generally the two styles succeed each other and much of the greatness of this album is the transitions from one to the other. The first side of the album is made of three excellent tracks: Golden Eyes start as a gentle National North but ends quite abruptly, segueing directly into a free improv not unlike what Keith Tippett has done with Ovary Lodge of Hobart, before a Ratledgian electric piano pulls the track into Kent territory, with some of the wildest and most energetic moments of Canterbury ever, throwing chills down your spine as Scott and Newhouse just blow their lungs into their respective wind instruments.
Fantastic, terrific, but nothing compared with the min Amelia Earhart. Starting out on an incredibly low percussion intro much like Crimson's LTIA , the track constantly rolls back and forth between Canterbury, even pulling a spacey Gong interlude midway through.
And this is even without having heard the min opus on the flipside. However for some reasons The Muffins cannot equal the perfect transitions and balance that they had achieved on the other wax slab. The band would then meet one of the major influences Fred Frith of Henry Cow fame once he moved to New York and they backed him up in his solo album Gravity and in turn would produce their second album. It was actually a song off their "Bandwidth" record, but I thought I would start here, from the beginning.
What I enjoy most about this band is listening to all the different sounds they produce. The woodwind and brass instruments, whistles, piano, organ, aboe, percussion, xylophone, vibes and on and on. This song blends into "Hobart Got Burned" with it's all over the place drumming and different dissonant sounds. An outbreak 2 minutes in before returning to original soundscape. This is really cool as drums and horns dominate, including some screaming sax that comes and goes.
Horns join in too. Flute 2 minutes after that and light drums. The flute is a nice touch. The 1 minute intro is mellow as some beautiful sax melodies are followed with drums. The band shouts "Captain Boomerang" a couple of times after 5 minutes. The song settles down before 10 minutes. Some nice piano 12 minutes in as drums and horns join in. The song pretty much stops 15 minutes in and restarts with clarinet and piano, at which point as I write this, the big red sun is sinking below the mountains.
The sound is building including some scorching sax. Xylophone before 20 minutes as piano and drums come in a minute later, and we are cooking with an uptempo ending. Chris Cutler said that this band should be included with the great bands of the seventies.
These guys can play folks. This was long a highly anticipated release for me before finally getting my hands on it, and I can safely say that I wasn't disappointed at all from my first listen on it and until now.
The songs are long and adventurous and goes through several different climaxes and themes with a good melodic balance. Although the last two tracks goes well over the minute mark, they are never boring and bursts with charming, inspired and entertaining passages with few weaker moments. The musicianship is very good and the musicians never misses a beat although the music get's fairly challenging technically at times.
It would have definitely improved the album a bit with a fuller and warmer sound quality, but focusing on the excellent music only most likely makes you ignore that quite easily. Overall, I can safely say that this is a very charming and adventurous release that should easily appeal to fans of Henry Cow, Soft Machine or Hatfield and the North.
Musically complex with a good flow to it with well-thinked arrangements that is interesting to listen to all the way through with a nice typical humoristic touch to them. Other than a few weaker but not bad moments and a somewhat thin production quality, this is an essential for it's genre.
I said the expression "Canterbury-meets-RIO" in an earlier sentence, but the main fact is that The Muffins' guys are especially connected to the Canterbury trend and happen to be openly friendly with the sonic deconstructive strategies rooted in the RIO ideology: that is more accurate, all in all.
There are also traces of influences from Zappa's jazzier side, as well as classic items of 70s American fusion - Weather Report, a bit of Herbie Hancock, perhaps - but essentially, the band's sound is pretty much England-orientated.
As a result of this, the jazzy factor in The Muffins' quintessence becomes undeniably enhanced. The opener 'Monkey With The Golden Eyes' delivers 4 minutes of autumnal, minimalistic textures mostly based on eerie electric piano washes and dreamy lines performed on various woodwinds.
This contemplative introduction ends with a magical climax that sets an atmosphere of expectation for the remaining repertoire, whose graceful surprise starts with the free-form adventures that mark the beginning of 'Hobart Got Burned', a true celebration of chaos in a disjointed conjuncture. Once a more cohesive rhythm structure is settled in, things become vibrant and engaging while bearing a similar air to that of Soft Machine's fourth and fifth albums.
Next is 'Amelia Earhart', which starts with a brief excursion of tonal and concrete percussions, then shifts to a warm display of nostalgic ambiences that might as well sound to our ears like a hybrid of Gilgamesh and Weather Report. Bassist Billy Swan finds a couple of spaces to shine individually in a very Hopper-esque way among the explicitly playful vibe that the musicians are indulging into at the moment.
Somewhere in the middle there is a languid section that points at impending danger and silent immensity - clearly, an allusion to Mrs.
Earhart's tragedy. Lots of melodic developments and arrangements bear moods that are by now recognizable, but there are also signals of Zappa-esque Dadaistic tricks, which make the whole musical trip an enhanced adventure. Despite the relevance of the restless motif shifts, the band avoids the resource of dramatic contrast consistently - and that is a very clever thing, indeed. It is located miles kilometers southeast of Howland.
Radio transmissions on the frequency Earhart had been using were being broadcast sporadically from that area. The search was called off after two observation planes launched from the ship turned up no evidence of human life. Perhaps that would have been the end of the association between Earhart and the island, had it not been colonized by the British a year after her disappearance.
In , Gerald Gallagher, the lead official on the island, discovered evidence that a castaway had inhabited the island before it was colonized. Among the finds were the sole of a woman's shoe, a man's shoe, a liqueur bottle, a container for a sextant a navigational device , a human skull and bones [source: Thurman ]. These findings have led to many groups to see Nikumaroro as the key to unlocking the mystery of the disappearance of Amelia Earhart.
At an area on the island known as the Seven Site, something that appears to be a castaway camp was found. Giant clam shell fragments suggest a shell was smashed open. A cache of bones of turtles, fish and birds display evidence of having been exposed to fire. Also, the remains of woman's compact and a jar that once held a cream for lightening freckles, both from the s were found. In the remains of the village on Gardener which was left uninhabited once more in after a long drought , crafts made by residents out of aluminum aircraft metal were left behind [source: King ].
The idea that Earhart's airplane broke up upon contact with the ocean and ended up used piecemeal for island handicrafts hasn't deterred some explorers from searching for the plane in the depths of the Pacific. Expeditions using sonar have focused on areas around Howland Island looking for the plane.
But so far, neither the aircraft nor any pieces of it have been recovered. Why is that? If only they had emerged and released their intricate composiitons a mere five years earlier, perhaps they would've been considered in the same league as the greats. Also adopting the whimsical playful demeanor of their Canterbury idols, when the band were living in a farmhouse near Gaithersburg, Maryland, they gleefully adopted their missing band name after a friend brought over a tray of blueberry muffins.
After announcing that "The muffins are here! Some oboe? Later some marimba? Slowly some trippy organ enters the scene. The rest of the song is both dissonant and melodic. After a few minutes of that the music becomes more similar to Soft Machine with the electric piano figure and awesome fuzz-bass.
After the first two shorter songs comes the two epics of the album. Some random drums and other sounds can be heard before the music stops and then returns as great Canterbury jamming featuring great soloing on sax.
Then a great wah-bass solo. Later on some flute soloing. Afterwards some great fuzz-bass from a fuzz box that was malfunctioning I believe. The sounds of people making noises at one point. I love the phased electric piano after 8 minutes.
Goes through a few different sections; some very jazzy, some parts are reprised from earlier. After 11 minutes it gets spacey and minimalistic with a repeated bass note.
Some flute later. This part continues until the end. When the drums come in it goes into Canterbury style jazz-rock.
At one point you hear people shouting "Captain Boomerang! As to be expected, this epic changes a lot. Around 11 minutes is some awesome phased bass which plays a melody. There seems to be an edit right after that part where a modified organ sounds like a synth. Later on some wind sounds and flute in the distance. More wind sounds and a great altered wind instrument later on. More synth like soloing and great rhythm section towards the end.
This is some terrific Canterbury, although the next album which I haven't heard is supposed to be more avant-prog. What I believe is an oboe makes an appearance as well, dueting briefly with the flute before a whole host of different horns come in, slowly layering on top of one another until, in the final minute of the track, all the instruments come together to create a sedate, peaceful blend of sound.
Easily the most straightforward track on the album, "Monkey With The Golden Eyes" provides a nice, accessible opening for the album, though it doesn't really give a great representation about what's coming next.
That fact is made immediately apparent from the opening notes of "Hobart Got Burned," which dismisses the peaceful sounds of the opener in favor of a dissonant horn part, very reminiscent of Henry Cow's "Western Culture. Midway through the track, however, keyboards and bass enter, and the track enters a much more composed section, falling back into rhythmic normalcy and taking on a kind of demented carnival feel. The horn bursts don't stop, however, with plenty of howling solos wailing over the backbone the piano and bass are laying down.
A great, experimental track, "Hobart Got Burned" is much more interesting to me than "Monkey? Beginning with very minimalist blend of percussion and some very faint playing from the winds, the track really kicks off at about 2 minutes in, when the keyboard begins a rather cheerful chord progression. Horns add to the sound, playing an energetic repeating line over the keyboard and giving the track a very hopeful feel. Eventually the track drops back into a more improvisational mode, with really excellent drumming providing a background for a variety of instruments to solo over.
The winds and especially the flute give the track a very interesting sound, and provide a nice contrast when an electric guitar comes in and begins its own solo. A very cool low brass section follows this, followed itself by a huge variety of instruments, including something that sounds like a train whistle. With about four minutes left in the track the pace slows down a little bit; the solos stop and the track takes on a floaty, almost ambient quality.This is a re-release of The MUFFINS debut album from Their music is a blend of chamber music, experimental progressive rock, avant-garde, Canterbury and Jazz. The musicians are very skilled and they're throwing themselves between these genres with a big doze of humor and playfulness/5(19).