January 29, 2010 Playlist

"Volume 2" by The Soft Machine (1969)
The Soft Machine  "Volume 2"  1969 (UK)
The Soft Machine's first two albums stand alone in the annals of progressive rock, and their second is my favorite of their records.  The group's original bassist Kevin Ayers was replaced by Hugh Hopper, thus beginning their transition from a psychedelic art rock group into something more oriented towards instrumental jazz fusion.  Which is what makes it so unique -- it's not really quite prog or psychedelic while being close to both.  Seventeen brief tunes are segued together into two side-long suites, "Rivmic Melodies" on side A and "Esther's Nose Job" on the B side.  Their next two albums would complete the transition to "jazz fusion", by which time the group's rather amazing drummer-vocalist Robert Wyatt also left the group, leaving keyboardist Mike Ratledge as the last remaining original member.  Wyatt went on to make two records with his next group Matching Mole (that name being a pun on the French words for "Soft Machine"), before having his tragic accident which has confined him to a wheelchair ever since.  The music kept going though -- The Soft Machine cranked out albums into the early 1980's (eventually with NO original members left!), while Wyatt developed a quirky career as a solo artist and guested on many albums by fellow "Canterbury" prog rock bands like Hatfield & The North.  Robert Wyatt turns 65 this week.
Here's the lineup from the first LP playing Ayers' "Hope For Happiness".  And here's the next version of the group playing some themes from Volume 2 .  Next, here's the classic "jazz quartet" lineup (adding Elton Dean on sax) on Beat Club 1971.  After leaving (or being fired from) The Soft Machine, Wyatt went on to found another Canterbury supergroup, Matching Mole.
(N) = New Release
(R) = Listener Request

Artist Song Album Year (label) Country
Stereolab Exploding Head Movie Refried Ectoplasm (Switched On Vol. 2) rec. 1993 UK/France
Boredoms Super Are
   / Super Going
Super ae 1998 Japan
Times New Viking City On Drugs Born Again Revisited (N) 2009 (Matador) USA
Psychedelic Horseshit Forget All split 7" EP with Times New Viking 2006 USA
MV & EE Bedroom Eyes Barn Nova (N) 2009 (Ecstatic Peace!) USA
The Dolly Rocker Movement
Memory Layne Our Days Mind The Tyme (N) 2009 (Bad Afro) Australia
Unio and Petitio Cruzcampo Motorista Footspah (N) 2009 (self release) UK
The Soft Machine (Robert Wyatt) Fire Engine Passing With Bells Clanging / Pig / Orange Skin Food Volume 2
1969 UK
The Soft Machine (Robert Wyatt) A Door Opens And Closes / 10.30 Returns To The Bedroom Volume 2
1969 UK
The Soft Machine (Robert Wyatt) Fletcher's Blemish Fourth 1971 UK
Matching Mole (Robert Wyatt) Flora Fidgit
   / Smoke Signals
Matching Mole's Little Red Record 1972 UK
Hatfield & The North Calyx (with Robert Wyatt)
   / Son of "There's No Place Like Homerton"
Hatfield & The North 1974 UK
Van der Graaf Generator (with Robert Fripp) The Emperor In His War Room H To He, Who Am The Only One 1970 UK
Utopia (Amon Duul II) Deutsch Nepal (Amon Duul II) Utopia 1973 Germany
Jan Dukes de Grey Mice And Rats In The Loft Mice And Rats In The Loft 1971 UK
Public Image Ltd. Fodderstompf First Issue 1978 UK
Black Dice Treetops Creature Comforts 2004 USA
OOIOO UMO Taiga 2006 Japan
Old Time Relijun Hot Oven Uterus And Fire 1999 USA
The Brian Jonestown Massacre (R) That Girl Suicide Tepid Peppermint Wonderland: A Retrospective rec. 1995 USA
The Flaming Lips (R) Right Now Telepathic Surgery 1989 USA
Os Mutantes
Baghdad Blues Haih . . . Or Amortecedor (N) 2009 (ANTI-) Brazil
Anthony Braxton The Light On The Dalta (sic) circuit diagram title (Actuel vol. 15) 1969 USA
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