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Soft Machine remasters


Guy Berger
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Apparently Sony/BMG is releasing remasters of Third, Fourth, Fifth, Six and Seven. Third will have a bonus live disc. I'm guessing that these are UK or Europe-only, but perhaps I am wrong.

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I will have to check out 6 & 7 one of these days.

Guy, this is great news as these works are way overdue for a good remaster. The live CD included with Third is of course potentialy intriguing, but there is a LOT of live Soft Machine on the market, so we'll see if it is noteworthy. Six is well worth having for the live material which makes up half of it (it was a two record set in the day and for the blistering "Stanley Stamps Gibbons Album", one of the most exciting cuts they ever did and the last great moment on a Softs record for the wondeful Michael Ratledge. Seven is OK, worth having, but was always an anticlimax to me. It didn't reach the heights of Six, which came before it, or the wonderful Bundles (THE great Alan Holdsworth performance, to me, is the "Hazard Profile" suite from that album) which came after it. Third and Fourth, of course, belong in every collection. Third was the breakthrough work for their jazz style, and Fourth is the best album they ever did.

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Good to hear about this.

Got all of these already

(including the BBC date which is just under 40 minutes),

But it's nice that they will probably have better sound.

I still like 7 - actually, a bit more than Bundles,

but yes, there's not much challenge there - some nice

delicate pieces without being "new agey".

Thanks for this update!

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I still like 7 - actually, a bit more than Bundles,

but yes, there's not much challenge there - some nice

delicate pieces without being "new agey".

They are very different albums, very different sounds. 7, as you state, is very delicate. Bundles rocks out with Holdsworth's guitar front and center. Preference of either over the other will maybe have as much to do with musical tastes as with the relative merits of the two albums. Me, I really like Holdsworth, and think he was a much needed boost to the group. But I can see where someone else would disagree if they don't like guitar in Soft Machine,

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Six is well worth having for the live material which makes up half of it (it was a two record set in the day and for the blistering "Stanley Stamps Gibbons Album", one of the most exciting cuts they ever did and the last great moment on a Softs record for the wondeful Michael Ratledge. Seven is OK, worth having, but was always an anticlimax to me. It didn't reach the heights of Six, which came before it, or the wonderful Bundles (THE great Alan Holdsworth performance, to me, is the "Hazard Profile" suite from that album) which came after it. Third and Fourth, of course, belong in every collection. Third was the breakthrough work for their jazz style, and Fourth is the best album they ever did.

I was somewhat disappointed with 5 in comparison to 3 and 4 which is probably why I've avoided 6. But perhaps it's time for me to re-evaluate 5.

Guy

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I really hope the remastered 'Third' is a big improvement sound-wise, the sound quality wasn't all too great on the original cd.

Agreed. For that matter, I haven't heard a good-sounding Soft Machine CD. Hopefully whoever it is that has the rights will do 1 and 2 someday. I personally don't have any use for anything after 4, but a lot of people seem to like the later stuff. I prefer Wyatt's solo albums to the later Soft Machine.

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The Soft Machine catalog on Epic ( 3 to 7 ) was done in 2005 by Sony Japan in excellent DSD sound. It's doubtful that these are an improvement, they may very well be the same remastering (if lucky). Unfortunately, 3 is still not really great sounding - the story is that the masters are actually long lost. The first Soft Machine was redone last year in Japan with simply outstanding results and is also a great record.

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Guest the mommy

the half of 5 with phil howard is dope.

there was a live soft machine release of some 6-era stuff last year. it is really good. pre-6, since jenkins is brand new to the group and obviously fluffs during the intro tune.

there was also a live post-bundles release with john ethereidge already in for holdsworth and it smokes. much better than the dumpy live recent release w. holdsworth where hazard profile is faded out right at the beginning. why use that show? jeez.

guye, 6 is much different than the preceding albums. i suspect you might like it more.

the second BBC live double disc is also cool if people don't have it. it has some live 4/5 and bundles era stuff on it.

also the song hazard profile is the same as song for the bearded lady which nucleus did on both live and studio albums and might be interesting to check out for people like felser as both marshall and jenkins were in nucleus at the time.

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also the song hazard profile is the same as song for the bearded lady which nucleus did on both live and studio albums and might be interesting to check out for people like felser as both marshall and jenkins were in nucleus at the time.

can you point me towards some specific Nucleus albums to check out with Marshall and Jenkins on them? Thanks for the tip. I know who Nucleus is, but haven't really heard them much.

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Look what we got here recently. I...er... forgot to go.......................................

The Marlowe Theatre

Dates and times

Fri 20 Oct, 7.30pm (M20)

Tickets

£18

The Canterbury Sound

Hatfield and the North

Brainville / Hugh Hopper Band

Caravan musicians Jim Leverton & Geoff Richardson

Definition: A term used to loosely describe a group of progressive rock musicians based around Canterbury during the late 1960s and early ’70s, who rotated into different bands, united by a touch of psychedelia.

Sharing a concert platform for the first time in decades, don’t miss the chance to relive the glory days with Richard Sinclair, Hugh Hopper, Daevid Allen and friends in this special one-off concert.

Statement from the Festival Office 5 September:

The Canterbury Sound concert in this year’s Canterbury Festival (Marlowe Theatre, Friday 20 October) will be going ahead despite the tragic death of Hatfield and the North’s drummer Pip Pyle.

Caravan’s drummer – Richard Coughlan has withdrawn due to illness, and the band Caravan will be replaced by a new line up of Canterbury musicians led by musical legends Jim Leverton and Geoff Richardson.

Brainville/Hugh Hopper Band will be appearing as billed.

Rosie Turner (Festival Director) says “Having spoken to a number of the musicians including Richard Sinclair and Hugh Hopper, we are determined that the Canterbury Sound will live on in tribute to Pip. He will be greatly missed but we feel he would be happy that other musicians have the chance to join the concert, and keep the Canterbury Sound alive.”

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Remember seeing that Live at the Proms when it was first aired on BBC, it had been much heralded and some of us got Frenchy the Bar man at the late ,lamented Duke of Abercorn pub in Enfield, to let us watch it in the public bar, scared off the other regulars if I remember rightly. Aside, Frenchy, never knew his real name, a Canadian who had had a severe car accident and fallen on hard times, had played trumpet with Ambrose, and legend would have it, Glen Miller, before the war, DTs got him in the end, but he turned more than a few of us Dead heads on to Jazz and the classics.

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Short measure, bad sound, findable for a fiver in HMV. Only for the enthusiast. Info © me.

Soft Machine Kings of Canterbury (Recall/Snapper SMDCD 456)

Disc One

1. Hulloder (Hopper) 0.25

2. Dada Was Here (Hopper) 8.21

3. Thank You Pierrot Lunaire (Hopper/Wyatt) 0.45

4. Have You Even Bean Green? (Hopper/Wyatt) 0.57

5. Pataphysical Introduction Pt. II (Wyatt) 1.00

6. As Long As He Lies Perfectly Still (Wyatt/Ratledge) 1.55

7. Fire Engine Passing With Bells Clanging (Ratledge) 2.17

8. Hibou, Anemone And Bear (Wyatt/Ratledge) 4.18

9. Fire Engine Passing With Bells Clanging (Reprise) (Ratledge) 3.21

From Live at the Paradiso

29th March 1969

Paradiso, Amsterdam

Mike Ratledge / electric piano, organ

Hugh Hopper / bass

Robert Wyatt / drums, vocals

10 Facelift (excerpt) (Hopper) 5:03

11 Moon In June (Wyatt) 5:58

From Live 1970

Feb/Mar 1970

Robert Wyatt / drums

Mike Ratledge / keyboards

Hugh Hopper / bass

Lyn Dobson / saxes

Disc Two

1. Slightly all the Time ( Ratledge ) 5:22

2. Mousetrap ( Hopper ) 6:27

3. Noisette ( Hopper ) 0:36

4. Backwards ( Ratledge ) 3:50

5. Mousetrap - reprise ( Hopper ) 0:16

6. Eamonn Andrews ( Ratledge ) 12:10

7. Esthers Nose Job ( Ratledge ) 6:50

8. Pigling Bland (Ratledge ) 3:52

9. I Should've Known ( Hopper ) 4:46

10. Esthers Nose Job - reprise ( Ratledge ) 1:36

From Facelift

26th April 1970

Fairfield Hall, Croydon

Mike Ratledge / organ and electric piano

Hugh Hopper / bass guitar

Robert Wyatt / drums and vocals

Elton Dean / alto sax, saxello and electric piano

11. Pig (Ratledge) 2.57

12. Orange Skin Food/A Door Opens And Closes /10.30 Returns to the Bedroom (Ratledge) 12.41

From Live 1970

13th August 1970

Royal Albert Hall

Robert Wyatt / drums

Mike Ratledge / keyboards

Hugh Hopper / bass

Elton Dean / saxes

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also the song hazard profile is the same as song for the bearded lady which nucleus did on both live and studio albums and might be interesting to check out for people like felser as both marshall and jenkins were in nucleus at the time.

can you point me towards some specific Nucleus albums to check out with Marshall and Jenkins on them? Thanks for the tip. I know who Nucleus is, but haven't really heard them much.

Felser, yeh, the first three Nucleus album all have Marshall and Jenkins on; 'Elastic Rock', 'We'll Talk About it Later' and my personal favourite, 'Solar Plexus' which also features Kenny Wheeler and Harry Beckett amongst others. You can now buy these as two-fers and very good they are too. Check out the full details (discos etc) on the Nucleus website here:

http://www.geocities.com/icnucleus/

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Guest the mommy

felsoiss-also on the recently released "hemispheres" which has live stuff from 70 and 71. that too has a version of song for the bearded lady/hazard profile....

also, roger-i have to apologize because that 1976 live nucleus recent release has really been growing on me. especially geoff castle's accompaniments....

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  • 2 months later...

Slightly off topic - any thoughts about Matching Mole?

It's good. Just spinning the first LP on UK CBS this weekend and can recommend it to all Wyatt fans. Not sure about 'Little Red Book' though, not heard that one.

I started a thread about Little Record a while back. I don't think it's a very good album. I haven't heard the other MM album.

Guy

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So did any buy/hear these yet? What's the verdict??

Slightly off topic - any thoughts about Matching Mole?

I ordered them from deepdiscount.com a while ago, haven't received them yet. Under $10 each and free shipping from there. Matching Mole was interesting at times, a vehicle for Robert Wyatt's whimsy to be more out front than Soft Machine became. I prefer Soft Machine, though.

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Matching Mole was interesting at times, a vehicle for Robert Wyatt's whimsy to be more out front than Soft Machine became. I prefer Soft Machine, though.

My thoughts exactly. I enjoyed both MM albums when they came out, but I do not rate them as highly as a number of other Canterbury albums.

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