Vols. 1 & 2

Vols. 1 & 2

by Soft Machine


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Vols. 1 & 2

The whirlwind debut album from the legendary Canterbury scene band of the same name, The Soft Machine balances shifting tempos and extended solos with fluid improvisation and a raw, explosive enthusiasm. Standout moments include the effervescent lead bass of Kevin Ayers on "Joy of a Toy," Robert Wyatt's plaintive vocals on "Hope for Happiness," and Mike Ratledge's wild, sinuous lead synthesizer on "Lullabye Letter." Primarily known for their participation in London's nascent psychedelic scene, Soft Machine's big break came when they joined the Jimi Hendrix Experience for a grueling U.S. tour. Undoubtedly, they were challenged by Hendrix's transcendent live presence, and the band changed as a result. The Soft Machine was recorded during a two-week break in the middle of the tour, and its immediacy and power reveal a confident band at the top of their game. Fans proclaim this album to be a seminal moment in the history of progressive rock, yet it proves to be so much more. This neglected gem is nothing less than a true fusion of rock, jazz, and psychedelia of the highest caliber. After Kevin Ayers's departure in 1968, the future of the band was uncertain. Then, prompted by an offer to play some gigs to promote the first album, the band invited former roadie Hugh Hopper, who had composed a number of tracks on The Soft Machine, to step in on bass. Augmented by a horn section that included Hopper's brother Brian on saxophone, the band was clearly moving more towards a jazz/avant-garde sound by the time they recorded their second album. While side one focuses on shorter, song-based tracks, side two is shaped by the 11-minute, predominately Ratledge-penned suite "Esther's Nose Job," which takes up most of the side. The Soft Machine's indispensable second LP hints at the amalgamation of jazz and rock that they perfected on their follow-up, the groundbreaking Third.

Product Details

Release Date: 11/27/1995
Label: Big Beat Uk
UPC: 0029667492027
catalogNumber: 920
Rank: 37696

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