Exposé Online banner

Exposé Online

Not just outside the box, but denying the existence of boxes.
Covering music from the fringes since 1993.


Phil Manzanera — Diamond Head
(E.G. Records EGCD 19, 1975/1990, CD)

Quiet Sun — Mainstream
(Island Records HELP 19, 1975, LP)

by Jeff Melton, Published 2000-10-01

Diamond Head Cover artMainstream Cover art

Phil Manzanera's maiden UK project was Quiet Sun, which included gifted drummer Charles Hayward as well as monster bassist Bill MacCormack and keyboardist Dave Jarrett. From the band's outset, they were an English slice of Soft Machine mentality fused by aggressive guitar leads and inspired fuzz bass lines. The band split prior to releasing any albums and only re-convened upon Manzanera's short break from Roxy Music to complete Mainstream. The songwriting is split evenly among band members and also features Hayward on subdued lead vocal on a few tracks. Parallel with those sessions, Manzaner's solo album Diamond Head came into being due in part to an abundance of material to refine and re-arrange. The two albums can be seen as two sides of a distinct coin for the guitarist who spearheaded both projects with a varying cast of musical friends. Included on his "solo" album were Eno, John Wetton, and Robert Wyatt, who makes a notable Spanish lead vocal appearance on the disc's opener, "Frontera." The remainder of the album is tour de force of Spanish influences, outright infectious hooks, and first-rate individual performances. Wetton's bass, Mellotron, and lead vocal pairing with Doreen Chanter on "Same Time Next Week" works deceptively over a clever rhythmic figure. Eno's contributions came in even doses of lead vocal, as on "Big Day" and "Miss Shapiro," as well as textures and treatments on most of the album's tracks. Instrumental pieces are sandwiched in between main album tracks, partly as segues as with Eddie Jobson's clavinet on "The Flex". With the re-issues of these two classics on Manzanera's on own UK label, much deserved focus can be given to his stature as world-class guitarist and artist.

Filed under: New releases, Issue 20, 1990 releases, 1975 recordings

Related artist(s): Brian Eno, Charles Hayward, Phil Manzanera, Robert Wyatt, John Wetton, Quiet Sun, Eddie Jobson


What's new

These are the most recent changes made to artists, releases, and articles.