Monday, 25 March 2013

new podcast: Canterbury Sans Frontières

Today sees the launch of my new podcast, Canterbury Sans Frontières. As with Canterbury Soundwaves, a new three-hour episode will be released with each full moon.

I decided to wind down Canterbury Soundwaves so that I didn't end up (i) repeating myself, (ii) scraping the bottom of the Canterbury barrel, or (iii) becoming increasingly tangential.

This new podcast broadens the musical remit, so it'll be about one-third 'Canterbury sound', together with progressive/psychedelic/experimental music from the Canterbury of today, the remainder being a mix of music from various times and places which I feel to be in a similar spirit of creative adventurousness. I'll be doing a lot less talking, and the programme will be less expository – so no interviews, barely-listenable bootlegs, etc.

I also plan to include guest one-hour mixes from various musicians from the current music scene in Canterbury (Episode 2 will feature a mix from Neil Sullivan from Lapis Lazuli). This episode, however, is dedicated to Kevin Ayers who passed away less than two weeks after the final episode of Canterbury Soundwaves went out, so there's an hour of his finest work embedded in the middle of the programme:

Canterbury Sans Frontières: Episode 1


p.s. Those of you who use social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter: any help spreading the word about this series would be greatly appreciated...thanks!

Friday, 15 March 2013

More thoughts on Kevin

This appeared on the Planet Gong website:

Kevin Ayers died on the 18th February at his home in Montolieu, France. He was 68. He was a dear friend of Daevid and Gilli, well, forever. His life both musical and personal intertwined closely with theirs particularly in the 60's and 70's. They lived together, made music together, had adventures and just experienced it all together in those days. Despite some of the many obituaries denying the fact, Kevin was to all intents and purposes a member of Gong in 1971 when the band first toured the UK. He also played an instrumental role in Steve Hillage appearing in Gong's Universe in 1972 while Steve was touring France as a member of Kevin's band. Daevid told me on hearing the news of Kevin's passing he and Gilli thought, 'If the situation was reversed what would Kevin do?' Easy, a bottle of the best red wine affordable was purchased, Kevin's music went on heavy rotation and stories of the good times, full of good thoughts were shared with close friends and family in Australia. When all is said and done they simply loved him.'

And here is what appears on the official Caravan website:

It was with great sadness to hear that Kevin Ayers, a legend of the Canterbury scene has passed away aged 68. Kevin was a founder member of Soft Machine and played on their first two albums. He had a varied and prolific solo career producing memorable LPs such as 'Joy Of A Toy' and 'Shooting At The Moon'. His backing band included Mike Oldfield and Andy Summers. Kevin was very well known and a friend of Caravan during their early years and he will be greatly missed.

One commentator has pointed out that Kevin's contribution to two Soft Machine albums is an error unless Jet Propelled Photographs is considered an official Soft Machine release. Also "No mention on the Caravan site that it was Kevin who taught Pye Hastings his first guitar chords. Where But For Kevin...".

Stuart Maconie had a lovely chat over the phone with Robert Wyatt about Kevin as part of his BBC Radio 6 "Freak Zone" programme (click on image to stream):

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Kevin Ayers RIP

The Web and (more surprisingly) the UK media have been awash with coverage of Kevin Ayers' recent passing (he died at home in southern France on 18th February, seemingly peacefully in his sleep). I don't think there's much I can add to what's already been said, apart from noting that with all the discussion of his character, voice, lyrical quirkiness, lifestyle, Englishness, etc., it's largely been overlooked that he was a fantastic bass player with the early Soft Machine. Live material from that era (especially the 1968 American tour when the trio were truly on fire) is sadly quite limited, but some excellent examples can be found if you search through the various episodes of Canterbury Soundwaves.

excerpts from Graham Bennett's Out-Bloody-Rageous, pp. 121 and 145

I was tempted to put together an extra episode of the podcast as a tribute to his music (despite having announced Episode 28 to be the final one)...but, no, I've decided to stick with my original decision and instead dedicate the first episode of the forthcoming Canterbury Sans Frontières podcast to him — that should be out in late March and will be announced here.

RIP Kev and...thank you...very...much!

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Episode 28

the final episode: a day out with Daevid Allen in the Canterbury area!

Listen Here

1. Daevid Allen and Euterpe — "Wise Man In Your Heart" (from Good Morning, 1976)

2. Daevid Allen Trio — "Love Is a Careless Sea" (from Live 1963, recorded at the Marquee Club, London, 1963-06-03)

3. Daevid Allen — "Madame Zero" (poem read in the chapel of Our Lady of the Undercroft, Canterbury Cathedral crypt, 2012-09-11)

4. Robert Wyatt — spoken excerpt (from "The Voices of Robert Wyatt", BBC radio documentary, 2012)

5. Soft Machine — "A Certain Kind" (from The Soft Machine, 1968)

6. The Magick Brothers — "Garden Song" (live at St. Mary's Arts Centre, Sandwich, 2012-09-21)

7. Gong — "Voix Lactée" → "Outer Vision" → "Inner Vision" (from Live on TV 1990, recorded Central TV studios, Nottingham 1990-04-24, released 1993)

8. Luke Smith and The Feelings — "Canterbury Girls" [excerpts] (live at the Cherry Tree, Canterbury, 2012-10-03)

9. Beggars Farm — "You Forever" [excerpt] (from With Brian Hopper, recorded 1969 or '70, Coach and Horses pub, Whitstable, Kent, released 1997)

10. Spirogyra — "Cogwheels, Crutches and Cyanide" (from St. Radigunds, 1971)

11. Khan — "The Cobalt Sequence" → "March of the Sine Squadrons" (from Space Shanty, 1972)

12. Steve Hillage Band — "Salmon Song" (live at University of Kent, Canterbury, 1979-02-28)

13. Daevid Allen and Nicoletta Stephanz — "Unriddle Me This" (from Live @ The Knit NYC, 2004, recorded at The Knitting Factory, New York, date unknown)

14. Gong — "Isle of Everywhere" [excerpt] (from You, 1974)

15. Caravan — "Feelin' Reelin' Squealin'" (from Green Bottles For Marjorie, recorded at BBC studios, London, 1968-12-31)

16. University of Errors — "Feelin' Reelin' Squealin'" (from Jet-Propelled Photographs, 2004)

17. Gong — "I Am Your Pussy" [excerpt] (live on French TV programme Rockenstock, 1973-09-18)

18. Gong — "Tropical Fish" → "Selene" (live at New Morning, Paris, 2012-10-15)

19. Robert Graves — "To Juan at the Winter Solstice" (origin unknown)

20. Soft Machine — "As Long As He Lies Perfectly Still" (from Volume Two, 1969)

21. The Wilde Flowers — "Parchman Farm" (from the 1994 The Wilde Flowers compilation, recorded 1965-03-16)

22. Soft Machine — "Memories" (from Jet-Propelled Photographs, recorded April 1967, released 1976)

23. Daevid Allen — "Stoned-Innocent Frankenstein...And His Adventures in the Land of Flip" [brief excerpt] (from Banana Moon, 1971)

24. Gong — "The Pot Head Pixies" (from Flying Teapot, 1973)

25. Robert Wyatt (feat. Ivor Cutler) — "Little Red Robin Hood Hit the Road" (from Rock Bottom, 1974)

26. Gong — "Inner Temple" [brief excerpt] (from Live, etc., 1977, recorded at BBC studios, London, 1974-01-15)

27. Duke Ellington — "Madam Zzaj" → "Ballet of the Flying Saucers" (from A Drum Is A Woman, 1956)

28. Thelonius Monk — "Brilliant Corners" (from Brilliant Corners, 1957)

29. Sonny Rollins — "Way Out West" (from Way Out West, 1957)

30. Daevid Allen Trio — "The Song of the Jazzman" [excerpt] (from Live 1963, recorded at the Marquee Club, London, 1963-06-03)

31. Robert Wyatt — spoken excerpt (from "The Voices of Robert Wyatt", BBC radio documentary, 2012)

32. Terry Riley — "In C" [excerpt] (from In C, 1964)

33. Arlet — "Medway Services" (live at Stepping Stones, Maidstone, Kent, 2013-01-18)

34. Daevid Allen — "Yum Yum Tree" (sung unaccompanied in Rev. Beverage's car while driving around Sturry, near Canterbury, 2012-09-11)

35. Soft Machine — "Dedicated to You But You Weren't Listening" (from The Peel Sessions, 1991, recorded at BBC studios 1971-06-01)

36. Acid Mothers Gong — "Bellyful of Telephone/Why Do?" (from Live in Nagoya, 2006, recorded Tokuzo, Nagoya, Japan, 2003-04-09)

37. Gong — "Magick Mother Invocation" → "Master Builder" (live at Canterbury Fayre, Mount Ephraim Gardens, Kent, 2000-07-30)

38. Gong — "Occupy" (live at New Morning, Paris, 2012-10-15)

39. Brainville — "Hope For Happiness" (from Live In The UK, 2004, recorded at The Lanterns, Ashburton, Devon 1998-06-18)

40. Gong — "Isle of Everywhere" [excerpt] (live at Lounge on the Farm festival, 2009-07-10)

41. Gong — "You Never Blow Yr Trip Forever" (from You, 1974)

42. Kevin Ayers — "Joy of a Toy Continued" (from Joy of a Toy, 1969)

[voiceover ambience: Daevid Allen and Euterpe — "Wise Man In Your Heart" (from Good Morning, 1976)]

clarifications/errata: I mistakenly gave the name of Duke Ellington's "Ballet of the Flying Saucers" as "Flying Saucer Ballet". The French TV recording of Gong which Daevid mentioned over lunch appears to have been autumn 1973 rather than 1974.

Daevid Allen — Love Is A Careless Sea

Stewy's Robert Wyatt stencils



Not the one Daevid and I encountered, but another impressive tag by Canterbury graffitista Eliza/Elisa/ELISR/ELIZR/LISR

Another in the Wincheap roundabout subway – lovely flow


An early piece(?) on the Causeway bridge

Gong Live on TV 1990 (1)
Gong Live on TV 1990 (2)
Gong Live on TV 1990 (3)

Ernie Henry (sax player on Brilliant Corners)

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Episode 27

Listen Here

0. current events sound collage

1. Ivor Cutler — "Women of the World" (BBC Radio One session, 1983-03-23) → Ivor Cutler and Linda Hirst — "Women of the World" (7" single, 1983)

2. Gilli Smyth and Gong — Great Mother Goddess invocation (live at Koncorde2, Brighton, 2012-11-01)

3. Henry Cow — "Living in the Heart of the Beast" (recorded live for Swiss TV's Kaleidospop, Vevey, 1976-09-25, available on Anniversary Box Set, Vol. 9, released 2009)

4. Humi [Hugh Hopper and Yumi Hara Cawkwell] — "Wind that Divides" (live at Club Integral, London, 2007-11-01)

5. Robert Wyatt and Karen Mantler — "Beware" (from Cuckooland, 2003)

6. The Carla Bley Band — "Wrong Key Donkey" (from European Tour 1977, 1978)

7. Hugh Hopper and Lisa S. Kloessner — "Red Poppies in the Corn" [excerpt] (from Parabolic Versions, 2000)

8. Hatfield and the North [feat. "The Northettes"] — "Son of 'There's No Place Like Homerton" [excerpt] (from Hatfield and the North, 1974)

9. National Health [feat. Amanda Parsons] — "Clocks and Clouds" (recorded 1976-09-21, released on Missing Pieces, 1996)

10. News From Babel — "Arcades (of Glass)" (from Work Resumed on the Tower, 1984)

11. Lindsay Cooper and the Gold Diggers — "Plate Dance" [excerpt] (recorded at Taktlos Festival, Zürich, 1985-03-09)

12. The Raincoats — "Dancing in My Head" (from Odyshape, 1981)

13. Professor Georgina Born speaking on "The Arts and Humanities" (Cambridge University, 2011-02-25)

14. Lady June — "Some Day Silly Twenty Three" (from Lady June's Linguistic Leprosy, 1974)

15. Gong — "Zero the Hero and the Orgasm Witch" [excerpt] (BBC Radio One session 1973-05-29, released on Pre-Modern Wireless, 1995)

16. Kevin Ayers and Bridget St. John — "Jolie Madame" (recorded 11/1970, released on Odd Ditties, 1976)

17. Slapp Happy/Henry Cow — "In the Sickbay" (from Desperate Straights, 1975)

18. Arlet — "Para Lucia" (from Arlet EP, forthcoming)

19. Miquette Giraudy with Steve Hillage — "Garden of Earthly Delights" (from Rainbow Dome Musick, 1979)

20. Lady June — "To Whom it May Not Concern" (from Lady June's Linguistic Leprosy, 1974)

21. Lady June — "Optimism" (from Lady June's Linguistic Leprosy, 1974)

22. Feminist Improvising Group — "The Seventh Kisser Sisters"(?) (improvising live on NDR Radio, Hamburg 1980-10-03)

23. Lady June [feat. Cathy Berberian] — "Reflections" (Neville Harson remix — listener submission)

24. Robert Wyatt — excerpts from Wire salon, London, 2012-04-12

25. Annie Whitehead's Soupsongs [feat. Julie Tippetts] — "The Sight of the Wind" (from Soupsongs Live, recorded at Live and Direct Festival, Newark-on-Trent, 1999-10-10)

26. Annie Whitehead interview excerpt (from Canterbury Soundwaves episode 13)

27. National Health [feat. Barbara Gaskin] — "Starlight on Seaweed" (recorded 1995, released on Missing Pieces, 1996)

28. Spirogyra — "Time Will Tell" (from St. Radigunds, 1971)

29. unknown harmonium player [feat. Lila] — "Women of the World" (uploaded to YouTube 2010-10-16)

[voiceover ambience: Gong [feat. Mireille Bauer] — "Percolations" (from Angel's Egg, 1973)]

clarifications/errata: I should have mentioned the fact that Michael Mantler (Karen's father) was part of the Carla Bley Band which we heard, as was Gary Windo. I should also have mentioned the (unrecorded) Ottawa Music Company which involved members of Egg, Henry Cow, Steve Hillage and the Northettes.

Feminist Improvising Group [Wikipedia article]

Feminist Improvising Group [Women's Liberation Music Archive — scroll down]

Georgina Born [Wikipedia article]

Breaking Convention 2013: interdisciplinary conference on psychedelic consciousness

Cathy Berberian [Wikipedia article]

British Library's "Oral history of jazz in Britain" series: Val Wilmer interviews Lindsay Cooper [1]  [2]  [3] (requires UK higher education login for access).

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Episode 26

a tribute to Pip Pyle (1950—2006)

Listen Here

1. Lady June (and friends) — "Bars" (from Lady June's Linguistic Leprosy, 1974)

2. Delivery (feat. Carol Grimes) — "Miserable Man" (from Fools Meeting, 1970)

3. Gong — "Blues for Findlay (instrumental)" (from Continental Circus, 1971)

4. National Health — "Tenemos Roads" (from National Health, 1977)

5. Khan — "Stargazer" (from Space Shanty, 1972)

6. Dashiell Hedayat — "Cielo Drive, 17" [excerpt] (from Obsolete, 1971)

7. Daevid Allen — "It's the Time of Your Life" (from Banana Moon, 1971)

8. Kevin Ayers — "Strange Song" (from Rainbow Takeaway, 1978)

9. Robert Wyatt — "'Round Midnight" (from the Shipbuilding EP, 1982)

10. Caravan — "For Richard" (from If I Could Do It All Over Again, I'd Do It All Over You, 1970)

11. Hatfield and the North — "Nan's True Hole" (recorded live in Nancy, France 1975-07-02)

12. Short Wave — "Nan's True Hole" (recorded live at The Forum, London, 1994-10-08)

13. Brainville — "Shadow" (recorded live at The Lanterns, Ashburton, 1998-06-18, released on Live in the UK, 2004)

14. Pip Pyle's Equipe'Out — "Hanello" (from Pip Pyle's Equipe'Out, 1987)

15. Gong — "Tried So Hard" (from Camembert Electrique, 1971)

16. National Health — "Squarer For Maud (part one)" (live in Bryn Mawr, PA, 1979-11-26, released on Playtime, 2011)

17. Hatfield and the North — "To Mum and The Gongs" → "Brandy As In Benji" → "Going Up To People And Tinkling" → "Calyx" (recorded live at Birmingham Town Hall, 1974-04-24)

19. Soft Heap — "Petit 3's" (from Soft Heap, 1978)

20. Soft Heap — "A Flap" (recorded live at A L'Ouest de la Grosne, Bresse-sur-Grosne, France, March 1982, released on A Veritable Centaur, 1995)

21. Soft Machine — "Neo-Caliban Grides" → "Out-Bloody-Rageous" (live in Høvikodden, Norway, 1971-02-28, released on Live at Henie Onstad Arts Centre, 2009)

22. Gilli Smyth — "I Am a Fool" → "Back to the Womb" (from Mother, 1978)

23. Hatfield and the North — "Big Jobs" → "Calyx" (live at the Bowery Poetry Club, NYC, 2006-06-26)

24. Delta Sleep — "Dust" (from forthcoming EP)

25. National Health — "Phlákatön" (from Of Queues and Cures, 1978)

26. some Canadian National Health audience members — "Phlákatön" (recorded somewhere in Canada, 1979, released on National Health's Missing Pieces 1996)

27. Adam, Matthew and Matt — "Phlákatön" (undisclosed location near Barham, Kent, 2012-11-22)

[voiceover ambience: Centipede — "Septober Energy — Part 1" (from Septober Energy, 1971)]

Errata/clarifications: The drummer with Khan on that album track was Eric Peachy — what became of him? I mentioned that I was going to "focus on" Gong's Continental Circus album, but only played one track — I'd originally intended to include "What Do You Want?" (a version of "Fohat Digs Holes in Space") as well, but had to cut that due to time constraints. Dashiell Hedayat's real name appears to have been Jack-Alain Léger. The first Soft Heap track is called "Petit 3's", not "Petit"

There wasn't time to mention a number of Pip's other projects:

  • All Wet and Dripping (a shortlived "Canterbury-influenced band in which he replaced Charles Hayward")
  • The Weightwatchers (unrecorded touring band with Elton Dean and Keith Tippett)
  • Phil Miller's In Cahoots (Pip was the drummer for many years)
  • Rapid Eye Movement (with Dave Stewart, Jakko Jakszyk and Rick Biddulph)
  • T-Mit (with Mark Hewins, Richards Sinclair and Vince Clarke)
  • Absolute Zero
  • Pip Pyle's Bash!

Also Pip's composition/songwriting with Hatfield, etc. should have got a mention, as drummers who can write music are few and far between.

Calyx website biography of Pip

Dave Stewart's "In Memoriam" piece

Wikipedia entry for Pip

Guardian obituary

If you want to try recording or performing your own version of "Phlákatön", here are the lyrics!

phlakka phlakka
phlakaton cash!
ker-chaffa, ker-chaffa
oum-ka-ka oum-er-ka-kaf-dof
flibbet, flibbet, flibbet, flibbet
raka-taka raka-taka

Some YouTube comments have questioned the thinking behind putting the following footage from Pip's funeral in the public domain, but it appears to have been cleared by his family. The general feeling seems to be that he would have wanted people to have enjoyed themselves at the event.

[from the Pip Pyle homepage, 2006-09-11]: "Pip's funeral will be held in England in a week or so (the date has not been fixed yet). Pip's children are planning to decorate Pip's coffin with the type of stickers he had on his drum cases, and have asked that if anyone has any Hatfield and the North, National Health, Gong, Chicken Shack, L'Equipe Out, Soft Heap, Bash!, Musicians' Union or 'Keep Music Live' (etc.) stickers they would like to donate, could they kindly send them now to the Funeral Directors...

Alternatively, bearing in mind that these stickers are often treasured possessions, you can scan them and send the image to Sam Ellidge and Sam will make them into stickers. All submissions are welcome. Please feel free to send anything that tickles your fancy, however daft or irreverent — Pip had a wicked sense of humour and would have liked the idea of people having a bit of a laugh at his funeral."

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Episode 25

a tribute to Lol Coxhill (1934—2012) and Steven Miller (1943—1998)

Listen Here

1. Delivery — "Is It Really The Same" (from Fools Meeting, 1970)

2. Lol Coxhill — "Piccadilly With Goofs" (from Ear of the Beholder, 1971)

3. Kevin Ayers — "Shooting at the Moon" (from Shooting at the Moon, 1970)

4. Caravan — "Songs and Signs" (from Waterloo Lily, 1972)

5. Steve Miller and Lol Coxhill — "Chocolate Field" (from Coxhill/Miller/Miller/Coxhill, 1973)

6. Gong — "Tropical Fish" → "Selene" (from Camembert Electrique, 1971)

7. Hugh Hopper — "Miniluv Reprise" (from 1984, 1973)

8. Lindsay Cooper — "Horse Waltz" (from The Golddiggers soundtrack, 1982)

9. Steve Miller — "G Song" (from "The Story So Far..."/"...Oh Really?", 1974)

10. Fred Frith and Lol Coxhill — "Limoges 2" (recorded Limoges, France in October 1978, from French Gigs, 1983)

11. Caravan — "Any Advance on Carpet" (outtake, recorded 1972-03-01, released on The World Is Yours, 2010)

12. Delivery [proto-Hatfield] — "Betty (You Pays Your Money, You Takes Your Chances)" (recorded live at Playhouse Theatre, London, 1972-11-23)

13. Clear Frame (feat. Robert Wyatt on cornet) — "High Rate" (from Clear Frame, 2007)

14. Lob (feat. Lol Coxhill) — "04S-14 S-110-095" (from Geography, 2002)

15. Lol Coxhill (feat. Robert Wyatt, Kevin Ayers, David Bedford, et al.) — "A Collective Improvisation" (from Ear of the Beholder, 1971)

16. Kevin Ayers — "Reinhardt and Geraldine" (BBC session for Alan Black Show, 1970-05-20)

17. Robert Wyatt — "Was a Friend" [Pmff remix] (remixed 1997, from eps, released 1999)

18. Banco de Gaia — "Harvey and the Old Ones" (from The Magical Sounds of Banco de Gaia, 1999)

19. Loop Guru — "Bangdad" (from Duniya, 1994)

20. Loop Guru — "Gianyar" [excerpts] (from Amrita (...All These And The Japanese Soup Warriors), 1995)

21. Terry Riley — unknown piece (live somewhere in the 1970s)

22. Lol Coxhill — "Oh, DO I Like to Be Beside the Seaside?" (from "The Story So Far..."/"...Oh Really?", 1974)

23. Tim Blake — "Last Ride of the Boogie Child" (from Crystal Machine, 1977, recorded live at Seasalter Free Festival 1976-06-21)

24. Soft Machine — "We Did It Again" (recorded at Middle Earth, London 1967-09-16, from Middle Earth Masters, released 2006)

25. System 7 — live at Boom Festival, 2010-08-25

26. System 7 — interview (Glade Festival 2012)

27. Steve Miller — "God Song" (recorded live Nijmegen, Holland, 1972-10-21)

28. Speakers Corner Quartet — "Afro" (recorded live in a woodland location near Canterbury, 2012-10-07)

28. Lol Coxhill — "A Series of Superbly Played Mellotron Codas" (from Heart of the Beholder, 1971)

[voiceover ambience: Lol Coxhill — "Maggots" (from Miller/Coxhill/Coxhil/Miller, 1973)]

Errata/clarifications: Steven Miller died December 9th, 1998. I said The Whole World was Lol Coxhill's first outing into the world of rock music, completely overlooking Delivery, with whom I started the programme...d'oh! "Was a Friend" is indeed from Robert Wyatt's 1997 Shleep album. Banco de Gaia is Toby Marks. I forgot to mention that Pye Hastings played (very unusual) guitar on Hopper's "Miniluv Reprise", another Coxhill—Caravan crossover. I also failed to mention a number of other notable and innovative projects Lol was involved in, e.g. Brotherhood of Breath, AMM, Dedication Orchestra and Welfare State.

The Delivery piece "Betty" features just Roy Babbington on bass. Richard Sinclair supplied vocals at that gig, but not on that track. Coxhill and Babbington left soon after and Sinclair took over on bass, resulting in that proto-Hatfield lineup who played at The Tower of London in July '72 (see Episode 11).

Gong 2012 tour dates