INTERVIEWS, REVIEWS & RELATED ARTICLES
Classic Rock MARCH 2011 - by Jo Kendall
PHIL MANZANERA / QUIET SUN
Rockin' solo and side-album nuggets from Roxy axe hero.
The latest additions to Manzanera's own-label collector revisions are a duo recorded on the same day at Island Studios in December 1974 in two sessions - Diamond Head (midday-6pm) and Quiet Sun's Mainstream (6pm-midnight). And these time slots certainly reflect the moods. Debut solo album Diamond Head is a waggish and chirpy fandangle; Quiet Sun represent Manzanera's pre-Roxy art-prog, their 1970 jazz rock vectors thrumming toward the late-night drift of the mind's eye.
Diamond Head leads with Frontera, the Robert Wyatt-sung Tropicalian nonsense nugget (Ruth Is Stranger Than Richard's Team Spirit reworked), before textbook Eno vignettes (Big Day and Miss Shapiro) intervene to break up Manzanera's Latino party/shameless guitar exhibitionism. John Wetton and Doreen Chanter also guest alongside the Roxy backbone to create whimsical - and sometimes extraordinarily complex - orbits.
A critical favourite at the time, Mainstream beguiles with instrumental krauty sorcery, Canterbury playfulness and Gong-ish twinklings a-go-go - particularly on tracks like Mummy Was An Asteroid, Daddy Was A Small Non-Stick Kitchen Utensil and Rongwrong featuring Charles Hayward's wonky Syd-style vox (later to surface on Manzanera and Friends' 801 Live, alongside tracks from Diamond Head, fact fans). Both releases carry demos (including some great Farfisa freak-outs from Quiet Sun 71) and a band interview, fold-out digipacks and photo-glorious luxe liner booklets.