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Thursday, April 9, 2015

Romantic Warriors III: A Progressive Music Saga - Canterbury Tales

In the words of Daevid Allen in wearing a knitted Teapot hat, "What is the legacy of Canterbury Bands to Future Generations? Thinky music in black shiny shoes." Adele Schmidt and Jose Zegarra Holder are for me, almost the Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson of filmmaking. And they have come a long way since with the releases of the first two Romantic Warriors documentary of the Progressive Music saga including one of my favorites covering the Rock in Opposition genre and have made my wish lists bigger every time I watch their documentaries. This year they are covering the Canterbury scene and it is a wonderful take of the genre that has the sounds of Jazz Fusion, Whimsical Lyrics, and odd time changes.

The documentary does a wonderful job on the history on the genre that started back in the 1960s with The Wilde Flowers and listening to rare demos and recordings that they did along with others, would start the scene off with a bang. And then, beginnings of bands including the Soft Machine and Caravan got the ball rolling in the swinging psychedelic-era. This was a challenge for Schmidt and Holder to cover the genre and explore what the scene was like and they have done their homework very well.

There is also interviews including Bill MacCormick (Quiet Sun, Matching Mole), Robert Jan Stips (Supersister), Phil Miller (Delivery, National Health, Hatfield and the North), Brian Hopper, Roy Babbington (Nucleus, Soft Machine), Didier Thibault (MGP), Richard Sinclair (Caravan and Hatfield and the North), Dirk “Mont” Campbell (Egg), Didier Malherbe (Gong), and the late great Daevid Allen in which appears to be his last interview on the documentary. Despite the condition he was in, he still has the great sense of humor and gave it 100% and almost welcoming the audience, by saying “Welcome my friends to planet Gong. My name is the Divided Alien.” “I was an Angel’s Egg which god ate for Breakfarts!”

You could tell Daevid still has the humor in him and it’s a wonderful and emotional tribute to him and knowing the legacy of the Pot Head Pixies will live on in future generations to come. There also experts that talk about the Canterbury scene including Aymeric Leroy (Canterbury Expert), Leonardo Pavkovic (Founder of MoonJune Records), and Bruce Lee Gallanter (Founder of Downtown Music Gallery) who help describe the history about the scene and the history.

There’s also some great bands that were mentioned including alongside Soft Machine, Gong, and Caravan, bands like: Hatfield and the North, Egg, Supersister, Delivery, Quiet Sun, Moving Gelatine Plates, The Muffins, and Gilgamesh to name a few. And they also covered the bands today that are carrying the torch of the Canterbury scene including: Planeta Imaginaro and Forgas Band Pheonomena in which they are part of the Cuneiform label, Syd Arthur, The Wrong Object, Soft Machine Legacy, and photos including Phlox (Estonia), Machine and the Synergetic Nuts (Japan), Fulano (Chile), and Anaid (France).

The new bands are carrying the spirit of Canterbury as if the torch is still lit and keeping the flaming fire burning forever into the near future. And the rare footage is a treat to dive deep in the waters to watch the bands including various line-ups of the Soft Machine from the ‘60s into the mid ‘70s, Caravan, Gong, Moving Gelatine Plates performing at the Le Bourget Pop Music Festival in 1970, and Hatfield performing on a French TV show in 1973 with Robert Wyatt as a guest vocalist that will get your wishlist bigger as the size of Mount Rushmore.

I have watched Romantic Warriors III about eight times now and I have to say that Jose and Adele have done an incredible research and it’s great to see how the bands pushed the boundaries of the Progressive genre. So if you are ready to enjoy and explore the music of the Canterbury sound, buckle your seat belt into the Flying Teapot and fly into the world of the Land of Grey and Pink meeting the Pot Head Pixies and being blown away of the Moon in June along with some National Health, then this is the documentary to explore.

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