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As a fan of early Soft Machine, and with very few exceptions not their post-Wyatt output, this seemed like a no-brainer. But half of it (Moon In June and Slow Walkin' Talk) has been issued before - though I didn't actually have SWT. If you're a Wyatt/Softs completist the chances are you do already have those two tracks and are therefore shelling out for the first half of the album only. If you're NOT a Wyatt/Softs completist I'd say it's a bit marginal. It IS interesting and at times quite entertaining to hear Robert overdubbing himself on these demos, and playing piano and organ at considerable length at a time when he was otherwise only recorded as a drummer. But they ARE demos, and despite the excellent quality recording, they mostly sound like it - and of course demos means songs subsequently recorded properly for release. Chelsa and Slow Walkin' Talk, if not brilliant (especially the former) are at least pretty different from the Wyatt solo/Matching Mole songs they later became, and the latter features Jimi Hendrix on bass (for monster Hendrix completists!) giving it a nice and unmistakeably Hendrixesque swing, but MIJ, though a very good version, isn't that different from the version on Third, especially once the full Soft Machine join in on the second half - and you probably already own this version, though here it is in considerably better sound quality. Which leaves Rivmic Melodies. This suite of little songs became most of side 1 of Soft Machine's second album. Overall, it's certainly better by the full band, but this version is more eccentric, A Concise British Alphabet is a lot less concise and there's lot's of entertainingly mad piano on it. It's certainly the best reason for buying this album.

Overall, I'm just a little bit underwhelmed by it - definitely worth releasing and hangs together well as an album, but not the Wyatt/Softs holy grail by any means. 3.5 stars.
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How does Cuneiform keep doing it releasing high Quality archive music from `The Soft Machine' and ex Band members?
This release is an intimate hour of music with Robert Wyatt, 3 songs which are better known in there `Soft Machine' form but here as pretty complete demos.
The best known historically is the 20 minute `Moon in June' which went on to be a core side on `Third'.
Rivmic Melodies demo is chock full of themes which make up Volume 2 (`Pataphysical Introduction' & `Concise Alphabet' being prominent)
The Kevin Ayers co-write `Chelsa' contains themes carried over from `Soft machine' and features the man himself on bass.
The song that sounds least like a Soft Machine song though `Slow Walkin' Talk' is a gem of a song with a pretty far out Bass line from Jimi Hendrix.

4 Songs just over 50 minutes and not one boring moment, if you like the Soft Machine or Robert Wyatt then this is essential.
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on 21 January 2014
I LOVED Soft Machine ( including post Robert Wyatt releases) But I enjoyed them with Robert more. Also liked Matching Mole and many of his solo releases. So I leapt to buy this on the advice that the two long pieces from Soft Machine Vols 2 and 3 ( in my mind their best albums) were different takes on the originals. However, they are not substantially different - they are just rough demos that neither add nor detract from the originals. the only PLUS is the short track with Jimi Hendrix on bass. Even for completesists this is a waste of money. Still ok if you dont have the originals
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on 16 February 2014
Il maestro. I didn't realize he's written all of Rivmic Melodies.This is just great and even if I seem to have 3-4 versions of Moon In June this is fantastic.Highly recommend this to any Soft Machine fan or anyone who's interested in the origins of this music.Cunnieform keep coming up with wonderful archival work and their revival of this is exemplary. I cannot recommend this highly enough !
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on 24 November 2013
This is likely to be a purchase only for those who love early Soft Machine and Robert Wyatt, but I never thought I'd see this. With, to my knowledge, only Slow Walkin' Talk and 3 minutes of Moon In June available on the 1994 Wyatt 'Flotsam Jetsam' collection, the whole of his four 1968 US demos is indeed the lost Holy Grail of Robert Wyatt's output. As he himself is quoted: "The missing links in my life's work, no less!" The release is fully authorised by him, and has an interview in the liner notes - although he can't remember too much. He does reveal that seeing Chicago Transit Authority in 1968 sowed the seed of the brass section later emerging on Third; indeed that first splendid Chicago album I bought at the time - as I did later with Third.
Don't let "demos" put you off - the sound quality is splendid with effort having been put in to this end - but the tracks are obviously works in progress, with some parts quite odd, even by Wyatt's standards. This is a unique, fascinating archival release that reveals the true basis of much early Soft Machine and why it lost it's musical soul when Wyatt was effectively kicked out of his own band.
The two long tracks here were later re-recorded by Soft Machine: Rivmic Melodies on Volume II (1969) and Moon In June on Third (1970); the differences are telling in many ways. The last half of the Moon In June track is in effect a Soft Machine demo - recorded in England in 1969, and here tacked on to the Wyatt 68 demo (whether originally or for this release is not clear); accordingly it more approaches the eventual released version. The music of the shorter tracks was reworked for later Matching Mole releases.
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on 16 July 2014
Wow, great mixes of some early demos that later appeared as Softs / Mole numbers, emphasis on Wyatts matchless drumming, and Jimi Hendrix on bass for a track! Just get it.
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on 4 January 2014
A treasure-trove. The missing piece in Wyatt's history so far.
For me, this year's most important record. Bravo bravissimo Cuneiform!
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on 6 December 2013
At the same time, it is not for Softheads. It's like when listening to Hatfield & The North you know those vocals would have been rescued by having Robert Wyatt on voice. In the 80#s I came accross a double CD retrospective of Robert Wyatts that started with his (or Soft Machine's?) Moon In June from a Peel session, the peerless "And tho' each little song was less than 3 minutes long.." version. It wasn't credited as a Soft Machine number, & I just didn't get it, familiar as I was with the unsettling & wonderful Rock Bottom & not with Soft Machine at all. Now, this CD helps fill in the gap in some ways (I got to love MIJ latterly when exploring Robert's early recordings a few years ago), Rivmic Melodies in particular, plus the other 2 tracks, which are early takes on Signed Curtain (Matching Mole) & Soup Song respectively. The new, to me, version of Moon In June is better than that on Soft Machine 3 but stil inferior to the BBC Sessions one. This release serves to illuminate that Robert had to leave Soft Machine & Matching Mole's noodlings,as good as they might have been, to become the collossus that he is.
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