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The Soft Machine - Volume Two Original recording remastered

4.6 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Original recording remastered, 3 Aug 2009
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Frequently bought together

  • The Soft Machine - Volume Two
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  • Original Album Classics: Third / Fourth / Five / Six / Seven
Total price: £25.97
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Product details

  • Audio CD (3 Aug. 2009)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Original recording remastered
  • Label: Polydor/Universal
  • ASIN: B002EC4ZDK
  • Other Editions: Audio CD |  Vinyl
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 19,534 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
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Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Pataphysical Introduction, Pt. I
  2. A Concise British Alphabet, Pt. 1
  3. Hibou Anemone And Bear
  4. A Concise British Alphabet, Pt. II
  5. Hulloder
  6. Dada Was Here
  7. Thank You Pierrot Lunaire
  8. Have You Ever Bean Grean?
  9. Pataphysical Introduction, Pt. II
  10. Out Of Tunes
  11. As Long As He Lies Perfectly Still
  12. Dedicated To You But You Weren't Listening
  13. Fire Engine Passing With Bells Clanging
  14. Pig
  15. Orange Skin Food
  16. A Door Opens And Closes
  17. 10: 30 Returns To The Bedroom

Product description

Product Description

The roots of Soft Machine lay in the city of Canterbury in Kent and the circle of bohemian friends with Robert Wyatt at their core. Gathering at the large Georgian house owned by Robert’s mother, Honor, Wyatt shared the company of Kevin Ayers, Hugh and Brian Hopper, Mike Ratledge and a drifting Australian beatnik, Daevid Allen spending many hours listening to modern jazz and being exposed to the world of beat poetry and Dadaist art. The second Soft Machine album from September 1969 has now been digitally remastered and sounds better than ever.

BBC Review

By the end of 1968 the Soft Machine had parted company with founder and bass player Kevin Ayers. Ayers, who operated at a more leisurely pace and was less jazz inclined than drummer Robert Wyatt and keyboardist Mike Ratledge, had been put off touring, at least temporarily, by the experience of supporting The Jimi Hendrix Experience acrioss the USA. But following a brief hiatus the band reformed with former road manager and school friend Hugh Hopper on bass. Joined here by brother Brian - another key figure in Canterbury musical history - on sax, it was Hugh's vastly developed sense of melody, combined with the aforementioned love of jazz that saw the band enter Olympic Studios with engineer George Chkiantz and record this masterpiece.

Volume Two's first side begins with Wyatt reciting the alphabet, ending the side's suite of songs by doing the same, backwards. This mixture of the absurd and the serious that was to eventually tip in the direction of the latter (forcing out the more whimsical Wyatt), provides a wonderful tension that no other band has ever really replicated though many have tried (cf: Hatfield And The North). Fearsome chord progressions (Dedicated To You But You Weren't Listening), free noise (Fire Engine Passing With Bells Clanging) and even scatting in Spanish (Dada Was Here): this was no ordinary college band.

Even the infamously po-faced Ratledge was open to a touch of tomfoolery at this point. Pig's exploration of the role of women's underwear in the mating ritual is hilarious, while underpinned with a time signature that they virtually patented in later years. As Long As he Lies Perfectly Still is a truly moving tribute to the departed Ayers: Mike Ratledge's majestic piano chords declaim over his own distorted organ, Wyatt's swinging cymbals and Hugh Hopper's monstrous fuzz bass while Wyatt sings lyrics that are equal parts affectionate, silly and mocking.

Volume Two could be said to be the band's best album. It was a taste of the pre-post modern: relegating lyrics to the role of noise that merely describes what the band's doing (''In his organ solos, he fills 'round the keyboards, knowing he must find the noisiest notes for you to hear'' - Thank You Pierrot Lunaire), or name checking friends of the group (''Thank you Noel and Mitch. Thank you Jim, for our exposure to the crowd. And thank you for this coda Mike, you did us proud'' - Have You Ever Bean Green?). No one makes records like this anymore. --Chris Jones

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