INTERVIEWS, REVIEWS & RELATED ARTICLES
"Craft is what enables you to be successful
when you're not inspired." - Brian Eno
Melody Maker AUGUST 23, 1975 - by Allan Jones
NOT FOR THE NERVOUS
Certainly being advertised very unassumingly and available at a modest price. Mainstream is probably the most invigorating record you're likely to hear this summer. Rush-recorded - most of the basic tracks are first takes - alongside Phil Manzanera's self-effacingly generous Diamond Head, Mainstream possesses in abundance qualities all too rarely expressed, let alone combined: inspired musicianship, total lack of compromise and, most importantly, a sense of feverish excitement and utter dedication.
Quiet Sun, who folded in early 1972 after two years spent struggling against complete indifference shown them by record and management companies alike, were Bill MacCormick [basses], Dave Jarrett [keyboards], Charles Hayward [drums, keyboards, vocals] and Phil Manzanera [guitars]. For the purposes of Mainstream itself, Eno helps out with assorted treatments and synthesizers.
There are seven cuts here, with everybody composing. There are those who have offhandedly suggested that this kind of music is "obsolete"; I'd reply that they're mistaken on several counts, mostly concerned with the aforementioned dynamism and essential freshness of this record, achievements a great deal more vital (and valid) than vacuous attempts at Musico-temporality, But, those who've wished to hear Manzanera in a more open, expansive context than Roxy Music will not be disappointed, his playing is throughout forceful and provocatively abrasive.
Group sound is co-operative, intricately meshed. Sol Caliente, Trot, and Mummy Was An Asteroid, Daddy Was A Small, Non-Stick Kitchen Utensil are perhaps the most immediate cuts, whilst and R.F.D. rely on Jarrett's lush, electronic textures. Trumpets With Motherhood and Rongwrong spotlight Hayward, being, respectively, a percussive interlude and an ingenuous vocal outing for him.
I think the only occasion I've been fortunate enough to hear music of comparable intensity and excellence was when seeing Lifetime in concert at Croydon some years back. However, you've the added bonus of being able to hear Mainstream as often as you like. All in all, it's an offer you can't and shouldn't refuse.