Wednesday, June 9, 2021

TCCDM Pulls One Out..."Volume Two" - The Soft Machine (1969)

 "Volume Two" - The Soft Machine (1969)

As the title alludes, this was Soft Machine's second album.  The music is clever and nicely unexpected with ducks and louies everywhere.  Prog-psych, both fuzzed-out, and jazzed-off.  This is avant-garde without losing direction.  Only two of the 17 heady tracks are over 3-minutes, but it all holds together.  Side two is a little more to my liking, though.  A little jammier.  Zappa-ish at times, but mostly, this is straight-up Soft Machine.  

"Volume Two" - The Soft Machine (back)

Favorites include the tripped-out "10.30 Returns to the Bedroom."  The longest song at nearly 6-minutes..."Hibou, Anemone and Bear" is fuzzy jazz-psych goodness.  The proggy-pop of "As Long as He Lies Perfectly Still" is as close to a radio-friendly song as it's ever gonna get on this album and is quite nice.  Finally, it must be said, Robert Wyatt's creative drumming on this little square can not be overstated.  He absolutely kills it.

I've often read that The Soft Machine's album "Third" is their tour-de-force.  And that might well be, I've yet to find a copy.  But "Volume Two" is really, really good and is an album that rewards the listener for active participation.  Don't nibble.  Swallow it whole.  I found this early pressing in vg+ at an AOK Record Swap sometime last year for $14. 

ABC Command - Probe label

Cat #
CPLP  4505  A  2-LW  LW  C. Stevens [in script]  SS LH
CPLP  4505  B  2-LW  LW  SS LH

"Hibou, Anemone and Bear" - The Soft Machine / "Volume Two" (1969)

Rivmic Melodies
A1   "Pataphysical Introduction - Pt. I" 1:00
A2   "A Concise British Alphabet - Pt. I" 0:10
A3   "Hibou, Anemone and Bear" 5:58
A4   "A Concise British Alphabet - Pt. II" 0:12
A5   "Hulloder" 0:52
A6   "Dada Was Here" 3:25
A7   "Thank You Pierrot Lunaire" 0:47
A8   "Have You Ever Bean Green?" 1:23
A9   "Pataphysical Introduction - Pt. II" 0:50
A10  "Out of Tunes" 2:30
Esther's Nose Job
B1   "As Long as He Lies Perfectly Still" 2:30
B2   "Dedicated to You But You Weren't Listening" 2:30
B3   "Fire Engine Passing With Bells Clanging" 1:50
B4   "Pig" 2:08
B5   "Orange Skin Food" 1:52
B6   "A Door Opens and Closes" 1:09
B7   "10.30 Returns to the Bedroom" 4:14

Mike Ratledge - piano, Lowrey Holiday De Luxe organ; Hammond organ, harpsichord, flute
Hugh Hopper - bass, acoustic guitar, alto saxophone
Robert Wyatt - drums, vocals, b-vocals
Brian Hopper - soprano and tenor saxophone

Good stuff.

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