Soft Machine — Live at the Paradiso 1969
(Voiceprint VP139CD, 1969/1995, CD)
by Jeff Melton, Published 1996-03-01Oh yeah! More gold mined from the Soft Machine treasure troves! Softs re-releases are innumerable between the UK and USA in the past two years (and will continue to be through 1996), but somehow Voiceprint obtained the go-ahead approval to release this much-booted, nearly legendary live performance from 1969. Featured is the core album Volume Two line-up: Mike Ratledge (keyboards, primarily loud, obnoxious organ), Hugh Hopper (bass, primarily fuzz tone), and not-the-least infamous Robert Wyatt (drums, and off- miked vocal). This group seemed to be a semi-sedate, jazzy polished trio in the studio, but in a live setting they became a frenzied, frantic monster triumvirate which displayed high energy and versatile improvisation. Originally recorded as a potential official live album recording in Amsterdam, Holland (as clarified by Hopper in the new liner notes), the band had problems accepting the performance quality (after the fact) and vetoed release. For shame! However, the live tapes mysteriously 'slipped out' into the desperate hands of those greasy, grimey little bootleggers who scour the face of the earth looking for that ultimate rare live performance of note (such are yours truly, of course). And guess what? They found one that was actually inspirational and sounded fucking great to boot (pardoning the pun of course)! I remember first hearing this on a CD boot from 1988 and being awestruck as to the great band interplay and force these guys put out: like a jazzier ELP (Tarkus period), predating Egg's core sound by one year. This Soft Machine was a group who were loud! evidenced by the set included herein: several small tunes which comprise the bulk of Soft Machine Volume Two, but played at break-neck pace. Wyatt's somewhat disoriented vocal can be heard opening the disk, singing over booming bass and grinding organ. These guys were tearing through their set like a freight train steaming down the track. Included are some great drum solos and trademark key/time changes which show off each player's tremendous individual talent. The thing that absolutely makes it for me is Ratledge's demon-like ragged, thrashy organ sound which really rips through the entire set. One of my choices for top ten re-releases of the 1995.
First ProgStock Festival Set for October – October 2017 will see the inaugural edition of a festival called ProgStock in Rahway, New Jersey at the Union County Performing Arts Center. With a definite slant towards neo-progressive music, the event is sure to please many fans with the inclusion of such artists as Echolyn, Glass Hammer, and Aisles. The festival will take place October 13-15. » Read more
Clive Brooks RIP – Word reaches us today of another sad passing in the music world. Drummer Clive Brooks, best known as a member of such Canterbury bands as Egg, Uriel / Arzachel, and Groundhogs, has died at the age of 67. Details are sketchy at this point. The news was reported on Nick Mason's Facebook page — Brooks was Mason's drum tech. » Read more
Col. Bruce Hampton RIP – The phrase "He died doing what he loved" is almost a cliche, but in the case of Col. Bruce Hampton, it couldn't be more true. Hampton, who was born Gustav Berglund III, collapsed on stage at his own 70th birthday celebration and later passed away. The event took place at the Fox Theater in Atlanta. » Read more
ProgDay 2017 Announces First Bands – Flor de Loto, Sonar, and Infinien are the first three performers to be announced for the 2017 edition of the long-running ProgDay Festival. The 23rd ProgDay takes place Saturday and Sunday, September 2nd and 3rd, at Storybook Farm in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. » Read more
Allan Holdsworth RIP – Surely in the list of artists who have contributed to the sound of modern music, there is a special spot for guitarist Allan Holdsworth. His name is known to virtually every student of the instrument in jazz and rock, and his style has been so widely emulated that it's hardly worth mentioning anymore — we can just assume that every guitarist has Holdsworth as an influence. » Read more