This double disc more or less collects the entire recorded material of The Explorers. For the uninitiated, Explorers were a band project featuring Phil Manzanera and Andy Mackay of Roxy Music which surfaced after the disbanding of Roxy Music in 1983. Think of it as a Bryan Ferry-less Roxy. The trademark sax assault and classy oboe playing of Andy Mackay and the economic but always tasteful guitar textures of Phil Manzanera are there, but the emphasis is on songs. The vocalist/third member is James Wraith, whose voice is a stylish cross between Ferry and Saga's Michael Sadler(somewhat). They did two albums, 'The Explorers' and 'Manzanera & Mackay'. Musically it continues in the post-Avalon Roxy direction, and if you liked 'Flesh + Blood', this is your ticket: soulful and well-crafted pop songs with atmosphere and professionalism.
Diamond Head is the first solo album by Phil Manzanera, issued in 1975. It was originally issued in the UK on Island (who was handling all E.G. recordings) and in US on Atco. The sound quality on the US album left a lot to be desired, so the UK import was a popular seller in the speciality record shops who sold Roxy Music and other UK bands.
Phil Manzanera had no problem filling his mid-'70s downtime away from Roxy Music. His guitar graced some 20 albums, like John Cale's Fear, Eno's Here Come the Warm Jets, and Nico's The End. This outing from his all-star side group is slicker than his 1976 live debut album, but no less worthwhile; some 16 musicians are credited. The sound is sleek and sophisticated; even lyrics aren't exempt from creative twists, as shown on "Listen Now"'s glistening jazz-pop – which cleverly juxtaposes its title against a bouncy "now, now, listen" chorus.
Phil's wry sleevenotes disingenuously refer to his artistic freedom as being due to 'never being in fashion'. This from the guitarist of art rock's hippest band of 1973? Let's face it, he was always the coolest Roxy member after Eno, and 50 Minutes - made, in part, with Brian, Paul Thompson and Robert Wyatt - shows us how he's retained such status for 30 years.Manzanera's voice may not be too distinctive (except where he does a great Wyatt impersonation on ''Desparecido''!), yet this is a satisfying album compared with its lumpen predecessor, 6PM. His guitar playing was always the right side of avant garde and here it shines amidst arrangements that bounce between psychedelic rock and Argentinian ambience.
Recorded in the spring of 1978 at Yes bassist Chris Squire's home studio, K-Scope featured three founding members of the Split Enz/Crowded House: Eddie Rayner (keys), Tim Finn (lead vocal) and brother Neil Finn (backing vocal). Manzanera also enlists percussion heavyweight Simon Phillips, good buddies John Wetton and Bill MacCormick (both bassists and vocalists), and saxophonist Mel Collins, among several others. The band strong arms the solid pop/rock structures and approaches the instrumentals with the same verve. The literally "coolest" tune in the set is also Manzanera's personal favorite, the breezy "Gone Flying."
Recorded in the spring of 1978 at Yes bassist Chris Squire's home studio, K-Scope featured three founding members of the Split Enz/Crowded House: Eddie Rayner (keys), Tim Finn (lead vocal) and brother Neil Finn (backing vocal).