Exposé Online banner

Matching Mole — Smoke Signals
(Cuneiform Rune 150, 1972/2001, CD)

by David Ashcraft, Published 2001-07-01

Smoke Signals Cover art

After leaving Soft Machine in 1971, drummer Robert Wyatt planned to record a solo album that featured his songwriting and singing talents. He then enlisted guitarist Phil Miller, Dave Sinclair (of Caravan) on keyboards, and bassist Bill MacCormick, and before they knew it the “solo” album turned into the first Matching Mole record. After Dave Sinclair (who didn’t appreciate the band’s improvisational leanings) left to rejoin Caravan, first album contributor Dave McRae joined as a full-time member for their second album, Little Red Record. This second version of the band is captured in top form on Smoke Signals, which is compiled from concerts recorded in Europe during the spring of 1972. Cuneiform Records maintains their usual exceptionally high standards as the disc was compiled by Mike King (who wrote the Robert Wyatt book Wrong Movements) and the excellent liner notes were written by noted Canterbury expert Aymeric Leroy. The nine pieces are mostly from Little Red Record but there are also some non-album tracks such as Miller’s classic “Lything and Gracing.” If you are unfamiliar with the sound imagine a jazzy early Hatfield & the North in an improvisational mode. Miller’s adventurous, probing guitar lines give the band its sonic identity, but MacCormick’s fuzz bass is also a lead instrument that helps to define the Matching Mole sound. Wyatt’s jazzy but propulsive drumming provides the underpinning for the energetic instrumental flights. These classic live recordings document an exceptional band that existed for only one year but that generated some wonderful music that was a pre-cursor to some of the best Canterbury sounds.


Filed under: New releases, Issue 22, 2001 releases, 1972 recordings

Related artist(s): Robert Wyatt, Phil Miller, Matching Mole

More info
http://cuneiformrecords.bandcamp.com/album/smoke-signals

Latest news

2019-12-11
There's No Time Like the Present – The Belgian band Present has been one of the best avant-rock bands in the world since its formation in 1979. Over the years since then, Present has released nine amazing albums, and now they're ready to start work on number ten. They're looking for some financial help from their fans around the world. » Read more

2019-11-07
Glenn Smith RIP – Glenn Smith, founder, mandolinist, and primary composer of the DeLand, Florida based prog / fusion band Magnatar, passed away on October 18th 2019 at the age of 68, after a brief illness.  » Read more

2019-11-04
Dino Brassea RIP – Word reaches us of the passing of Dino Brassea, who sang and played flute in Cast for many years. By our count, Brassea appeared on 11 Cast albums between 1994 and 2002. He also released music as a solo artist. » Read more

2019-10-06
Ginger Baker RIP – Legendary English drummer Ginger Baker has died at the age of 80. After coming to fame with Cream in the 60s alongside Eric Clapton and Jack Bruce, he became one of the most recognized and influential drummers of the rock era. On September 25, his family announced that he was critically ill, and on October 6 his death was confirmed. » Read more

2019-08-20
Alex's Hand Seeks Spa Treatment – American / European band Alex's Hand has a new album in the works called Hungarian Spa, which looks to be their biggest and best yet, featuring a large roster of guest musicians. They're seeking funding to take the project on the road, and are looking for help from the crowd of wisdom. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Djam Karet - The Heavy Soul Sessions – Over the last four or five years, Djam Karet has gone through some evolutionary changes. Gayle Ellett has switched from guitars to primarily analog keyboards, and a fifth member Mike Murray has been...  (2011) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues