Exposé Online banner

The Soft Machine — Volume Two
(Sundazed CD 5342, 1969/2010, CD)

by Mike McLatchey, Published 2015-10-15

Volume Two Cover art

McLatchey's Second Tier

One thing's for sure, no one ever sung the alphabet with the kind of humor and musical brilliance as Robert Wyatt did on the band's second album, an album so far away from the kind of jazz rock the band would move to by their fourth album. Like the second Caravan album, this album still has an almost childlike glee to it, a sense of wonder and innocence of the era, but it was also a leap forward from their first and still brilliant debut psych record and perhaps something of a transition. Soft Machine were of course somewhat famous for being Jimi Hendrix's opening band on their US tour leading up to this album, although if there was any great influence at all it was to take their own road as it would be difficult to compare Volume Two to practically anything in its weird combination of rock, pop, dada, and jazz. The whole record seems to be composed of short pieces wrapped up into suites, which does seem to be something of a move from the pop sized songs on the first album to the full side-longs on their follow-up Third. I do love almost all of the original Soft Machine albums, as late as Alive and Well in Paris, but I think there was something particularly special about their first three albums when Robert Wyatt was one of the main contributors. But a lot has to be said for Ratledge and Hopper as well, not only were they brilliant muscians but their experimentation with tone, with the organs and bass often so distorted they resembled something different, was really part of what made this era so fascinating.


Filed under: Reissues, 2010 releases, 1969 recordings

Related artist(s): Brian Hopper, Hugh Hopper, Soft Machine, Robert Wyatt

Latest news

2021-01-18
Asia Minor Third Album on the Way – On January 29, AMS records will be releasing the long-awaited third album by classic Turkish-French band Asia Minor. Released last year in Japan, this will be the widespread debut of Points of Libration. The album features original members Setrak Bakirel (vocals, guitar) and Eril Tekeli (flute, guitar). » Read more

2020-12-09
Harold Budd RIP – Harold Budd, one of pre-eminent American composers of avant-garde and minimalism, has died of complications from the coronavirus. Budd came to prominence in the 70s, championed by Brian Eno on his Obscure Records label, with music that blended academic minimalism with electric jazz and electronic music. Much of Budd's best known work was done in collaboration with other artists, including Eno, Daniel Lanois, Robin Guthrie, Andy Partridge, John Foxx, Jah Wobble, and many others. » Read more

2020-11-20
25 Views of Worthing Finally Gets Released – A while ago, we wrote about the discovery of a "long lost" Canterbury-style gem by a band called 25 Views of Worthing. And now we're pleased to find out that Wind Waker Records has released their music on an LP. » Read more

2020-10-14
Audion Is Back in Business – Our esteemed colleague Alan Freeman has restarted Audion Magazine after a seven year hiatus. The new incarnation is available online on their Bandcamp site. Audion's history goes back to 1984, and included 58 issues up to 2013. Issue #59 is available now, and #60 is in the works. » Read more

2020-10-06
Romantic Warriors IV – Krautrock (Part 2) Is in the Works – Zeitgeist Media, the people who have brought us the great series of documentary films chronicling the history of progressive rock, are working on the second installment of their examination of German music. Krautrock 2 will focus on artists from Münich such as Guru Guru, Amon Düül II, Xhol Caravan, Kraan, Witthüser & Westrupp, and Popol Vuh. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Kevin Ayers - Joy of a Toy, Whatevershebringswesing, Shooting at the Moon & Banamour – Ex-Soft Machine bassist Kevin Ayers left that group after their full-on live U.S. assault with the Jim Hendrix Experience in 1969. After that time, Ayers spent the following years putting together a...  (2003) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues