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viernes, 24 de febrero de 2017

Soft Machine - Grides (1970-2006)


Discazo en vivo de la superbanda a full, "Grides" es un álbum en directo de los Soft Machine, grabado en vivo en Amsterdam en 1970 y editado en 2006, donde se aprecia al cuarteto en su maravillosa formación "clasica"; Elton Dean en los saxos, Mike Ratledge en piano y órgano, Hugh Hopper en bajo y Robert Wyatt en batería. Un viejo y al mismo tiempo nuevo pero siempre un momento mágico registrado en lo que algunos no dudan en llamar una de los mejores discos de toda la historia de la Escena Canterbury. Princesa Vicky, esto seguramente será una alegría para vos, y agradezcan al Mago Alberto por esta maravilla.

Artista: Soft Machine
Álbum: Grides
Año: 1970-2006
Género: Escena Canterbury / Jazz rock
Duración: 99:48
Nacionalidad: Inglaterra


Lista de Temas:
1. Facelift
2. Virtually
3. Out-Bloody-Rageous
4. Neo-Caliban Grides
Second Set (Concertgebouw, 25-10-70)
5. Teeth
6. Slightly All The Time
7. Eamonn Andrews
8. Ester's Nose Job
Encore (Concertgebouw, 25-10-70)
9. Slightly All The Time/Noisette

Alineación:
- Elton Dean / alto saxophone, saxello, electric piano
- Hugh Hopper / electric bass
- Mike Ratledge / electric piano, organ
- Robert Wyatt / drums, voice




Si estábamos en deuda con Soft Machine, esa gloriosa banda de la que el Mago Alberto dice que tiene màs seguidores que ninguna otra formaciòn màs conocida o reconocida, ahora estamos salvando ese error y el Mago se viene con esta maravilla que seguramente varios desconoceràn.
Esta grabación de excelente sonido mustra a la banda a pleno presentando los temas de "Third", más algunos que formarían parte de "Fourth", extensos solos de saxo y órgano, bases con mucho "groove" y una batería certera que va llevando a la banda a los intrincados caminos de la improvisación y colabora sacándolos de allí. Un discazo completo que ahora ek Mago pasa a reseñar.


Muchísima gente opina que este disco es la obra maestra de Soft Machine, quizás en aquellos años en el inicio de la banda y en el contexto de la realización, sin lugar a dudas su aparición habra causado un gran revuelo.
Esta hermosa obra fue realizada en 1970 en Alemania en un estudio de televisión. En aquellos años Alemania estaba a la vanguardia en todo lo referente a micrófonos y tecnología al servivio de la música por cuanto no es de extrañar lo logrado de la grabación. Una grabeta en vivo donde la formación ORIGINAL de SM no se guarda nada, los vientos de Elton Dean navegan en bases casi hipnóticas, Wyatt parece una máquina de ritmos, Hopper va hilvanando una telaraña con el bajo en escalas de perfecta digitación, y por último Ratledge en teclados va dando ese especial toque y particular sonido canterburiano que luego inundaría el planeta.
Si algún descolgado de la red (ojo El Vampiro no es el único) todavía no deambuló por las aguas del Canterbury, esta es una muy buena oportunidad de hacerlo. Un pantallazo, más que pantallazo, un rayo que cae al blog cabezón para movilizar neuronas.
He conocido a verdaderos fanáticos de Soft Machine, muchísimo más que cualquier otro grupo musical y cuando digo esto incluyo a todos los GRANDES, por eso a esos fanáticos acerrimos este disco les va a caer de perillas.
Obra de Soft Machine IMPRESCINDIBLE casi diria obligatoria, es como el "Rock Bottom" de Wyatt. La verdadera esencia, lo mas puro y original de Soft Machine está plasmada en esta enorme producción, cabezones/as llevenlo sin dudar.
Mago Alberto




Y aquì hay un genial comentario de este disco que data de la fecha en el fallecìa el Diamante Loco, cuya historia se cruza con Soft Machine en aquellos días mágicos, por favor no se pierdan el siguiente texto que hace honor a este disco.

En estos días que el mundo musical se estremece por la muerte de Syd Barrett, no podemos empezar este comentario, sin recordar que esta formación de Soft Machine, sirvió de banda de apoyo para el período del "diamante loco" ya como artista solista a principios de los 70. Incluso, este disco en vivo y dvd fue grabado en la misma época en que ambas partes se reunían para crear una de las alianzas musicales más intrigantes que haya dado la historia del rock. Imaginen, Barrett y Robert Wyatt, dos de los gigantes malogrados de la psicodelia, se encontraron en un momento mágico del tiempo y grabaron juntos temas inolvidables para el álbum "The Madcap Laughs", donde las melodías inmortales del canta-autor, fueron musicalizadas por los cánones experimentales de esta banda obligada a la hora de hablar del Canterbury y el rock experimental en general.
Además, este review nos sirve para despedir al gran saxofonista Elton Dean, fallecido también recientemente en febrero de este año, quien junto al tecladista Mike Ratledge, el bajista Hugh Hopper y el mismo Wyatt en batería, completan esta alineación de Soft Machine, sino la más clásica, una de las más elogiadas, y considerada por muchos, como la respuesta musical británica al Miles Davis eléctrico. De hecho, uno de los temas de mayor interés para los fanáticos, ya que no aparece en ningún disco de la banda en estudio, y que además, da nombre al álbum, es una pieza compuesta por el vientista, llamada "Neo-Caliban Grides". Incluida posteriormente en su trabajo debut como solista de 1971, el mismo Dean explica que la composición es una metáfora de los "estrepitosos sonidos de los demonios salvajes de las tribus míticas".
Este es uno de los cerca de 100 conciertos que la banda realizó entre 1970 y 1971, años prolíficos, donde a pesar de algunas diferencias entre los integrantes, Soft Machine editaba inolvidables álbumes como "Third" y "Fourth", mientras Wyatt comenzaba su carrera solista con el experimental "The End Of And Ear" en 1970. Exactamente, este show registrado en el cedé, fue grabado el 25 de octubre del mismo año en el Concertgebouw de Ámsterdam, Holanda, y el dvd, el 23 de marzo de 1971, en los estudios de televisión de la Radio Bremen en la ciudad alemana del mismo nombre.
Básicamente esta nueva joyita de Soft Machine rescatada por Cuneiform, entre otras de la banda editadas por el sello estadounidense a partir de mediados de los 90 como "Virtually", "Spaced", "Noisette", "Backwards" y "Live In Paris", es una fotografía exacta de esta etapa del grupo con largas composiciones, la mayoría aparecida primeramente en "Third" y "Fourth", excepto por la ya mencionada de Elton Dean y otras como "Esther's Nose Job", que bajo otros nombres, ocupa el segundo lado del inolvidable "Volume Two" de 1969. De esta forma, la potencia de "Facelift" es la encargada de abrir el disco, con siete minutos de agresión sónica, que se agradecen, en relación a la versión de casi 20 minutos de su versión original, también grabada en vivo. A estas alturas un verdadero tema estandart de la legendaria agrupación y uno de los aportes inolvidables de Hopper en el contexto de su obra.
El segundo tema, también compuesto por el bajista, es un largo fragmento de 15 minutos de una de las piezas maestras aparecidas en "Fourth", como lo es "Virtually", con los cuatro instrumentistas creando ese sonido jazz-rock a veces muy crudo y otras más cálido, que le entregó ese sello único e inmediatamente identificable al cuarteto. Un tema donde Hopper se luce con su bajo por momentos limpio y por otros distorsionado, adelantándose por años al trabajo de bajistas como Gezzer Butler y Geddy Lee, y por décadas, a otros como Cliff Burton y John Myung. La primera composición de Ratledge para este álbum es "Out-Bloody-Rageous" de "Third", también en una versión bastante más corta que la original, donde el teclado ruidoso -que por momentos parece guitarra- y las líneas de saxo, son los elementos que lo definen.
Finalmente, este primer set del álbum, lo cierra la mencionada "Neo-Caliban Grides", una experimental pieza musical en parte improvisada, llena de quiebres rítmicos, sonidos extraños y líneas instrumentales complejas e inesperadas. Una verdadero eslabón perdido en la lista de temas interpretada por los Softs de este período, que por suerte, ahora puede ser disfrutada a cabalidad con la edición de este trabajo. Un tema realmente pionero y quizás, una de los más radicales en relación a la experimentación dentro de la banda.
Antes de seguir con las canciones, no podemos dejar de hacer alusión, a que este registro en vivo fue grabado exactamente entre la edición de "Third" y "Fourth", etapa donde la banda fue dejando absolutamente su lado más psicodélico pregonado por Wyatt, en pro de un jazz contemporáneo más afín con las intenciones musicales de Ratledge. Por este motivo, para "Fifth", es álbum siguiente de la banda, Wyatt se fue, siendo reemplazado por el baterista John Marshall, de este modo, perdiendo gran parte de la humanidad y carisma que este entregaba con su presencia en Soft Machine. Mismo motivo por el que Kevin Ayers, con una sensibilidad mucho más pop, se había ido después de "Volume One" de 1968.
De hecho, el mismo baterista comentaba en alguna entrevista de la época, que estaba descontento con la orientación extremadamente jazzista que tomaba la agrupación en el tour 70-71, y que personalmente, era partidario de que la banda nunca se hubiese alejado del contexto rockero que la vio nacer. Como sea, esta tensión entre los miembros, ayudó en gran parte a resultados musicales siempre en riesgo y nunca conformistas del grupo.
El segundo set está compuesto sólo por aportes de Ratledge, partiendo con "Teeth", la dinámica composición que abre "Fourth" de 1971, un disco que por elaboración y sonido, es quizás, el punto más alto de estos Softs más enfocados al jazz eléctrico, que por primera vez, relegaba a Wyatt a un aporte vocal nulo. Justamente en este tema, los solos de Dean están muy en las coordenadas free-jazz y las bases son siempre cambiantes, sorpresivas y llenas de swing. El clásico "Slightly All The Time" de "Third", sigue el recorrido en una versión impecable, para después del misterioso teclado de "Eamonn Andrews", pasar a una de las épicas composiciones de la banda como lo son los 11 minutos de potencia y creatividad musical de "Esther's Nose Job", que resume gran parte de la segunda parte del álbum "Volume Two" de 1969. Después de los aplausos, el encore está a cargo de una excelente fusión de "Slightly All The Time" y "Noisette", completando 1 hora y 20 minutos de música que no dan tregua al sentido común, siempre con categoría al tocar y arrojo a la hora de crear.
El dvd de 20 minutos, que fue grabado a fines de marzo de 1971 en Alemania, está compuesto por cuatro temas, los que están tocados sin parar concadenado como si fueran uno. A diferencia del cedé, aquí Wyatt tiene su sección de improvisación vocal entre "Out Bloody-Rageous" y "Eamonn Andrews". Pero más allá de esto y de las grandes versiones para "Neo-Calibean Grides" y "All White", que completan el set list, es impagable ver esta formación de una banda tan legendaria e influyente como Soft Machine, tocando en uno de sus períodos de oro, con un sonido e imagen extraordinario, que fue extraída de las fuentes mismas: nada más que un verdadero lujo.
Para terminar, sólo diría que Soft Machine es para la música experimental, lo que The Beatles es para la música popular. Un referente constante de libertad, pasión y vitalidad, que en este viejo nuevo álbum "Grides", sale por cada poro, por cada nota y cada baquetazo, ejecutado por esta verdadera máquina de generar música y fundar nuevos universos sonoros.
Héctor Aravena A.


I've said it before: where do they (and particularly Cuneiform Records), keep finding these excellent live recordings of Soft Machine? It seems each subsequently released live recording is better than the previous! Most recently we were offered two separate CDs of 1975 recordings with both their line-ups in very good form and the recordings of the very best quality, i.e. 'Floating Worlds' with a revitalised Machine and Holdsworth full integrated made, in early 1975, and the Nottingham University Rag gig from November 1975 (i.e. 'British Tour'). With the latest, 'Grides' disinterred from the archives we slip further back in time to a pair of recordings of the original jazz rock fusion line-up of the Softs, made in 1970 and 1971 on CD and DVD respectively. And WOW!
The CD provides the full performance heard from the stage of the Netherlands' Concertgbouw in 1970, about 6 months after the release of Third. And then the real rarity, DVD footage of Machine playing to the TV cameras of Radio Bremen for a Beat Club session in early 1971. It is rare that I give any "new" album 5 stars immediately upon release; there is a personally need to savour the music and see if it stands thet test of time. However, one advantage here is that the tunes are familiar, while of importance most clearly the arrangements, improv and the playing is as good you'll hear on record from the joint-company of Wyatt, Ratledge, Hopper and Dean. Listening to the CD right through, with speakers loud, I found myself joining the Dutch audience from 35 years ago, applauding at the end of 80 minutes of a well oiled Machine in action, at its productive best - hey the last time I applauded like that was at the cinema when Ben Hur won the chariot race...... And of course on the second DVD disc, we have a very long last moving pictures of Soft Machine to own - surely pushing the whole to 5 and half stars!!
Music on 'Grides' comes from 'Volume 2' (significantly jazzier versions of selected elements of Ester's Nose Job), 'Third' , 'Fourth' and 'Fifth' (okay All White is found on 'Six' too), plus the old work horse of live performance(and now live recordings) Eamonn Andrews. All four musicians are up for the gig (cf. 'Floating Worlds' where Ratledge seemed to have merged into the background). Robert Wyatt skitters around the drumkit (reminding me of the suggestion, in the nicest way, of being Elvin Jones crossed with Ringo Starr), one moment rock musician the next swinging. Hugh Hopper's bass is both the expected understated instrument (but you would miss it if it wasn't there), and then on a number of occasions the nominate voice, changing the direction of the band and out there in front. Ratledge's keyboard work is amongst the best (if not the best), I've heard from him. It reminds me that his playing skills, a great ability to improv, and also move the band in explosively different directions, was never matched by those more famous prog keyboardists who never risked major changes from concert to concert. However, this CD is a monument to the (prematurely) late Elton Dean. Who needs a guitarist with Dean fronting the band with such energy and ideas? Saxello and alto sax work are scintillating, while his interplay with Ratledge here is at the peak of the two playing together.
Aymeric Leroy again provides the liner notes. And I must admit I'm chuffed that he reiterates and confirms what I've been writing from a very long time, wrt to the independent and equally important directions American and British jazz rock took around 1970, with Miles Davis and Soft Machine respectively.
'Grides' is most surely for all those people who reckon 'Third' is their favourite Soft Machine or Canterbury scene album.
Richard Heath


Yet another pristine-sounding (or almost) live Soft Machine album from the impeccable Cuneiform label. Yet again!! The least we can say is that the market is flooded with live albums from the Machine, notwithstanding some of the awful craps being released by Voiceprint, and it becomes a bit of a problem choosing which live release you should have from Cuneiform. What could distinguish this album from the previous same (and most appreciated) line-up Machine? Well Cuneiform figured it out: they included a live DVD from the Radio Bremen back in early 71. So I will not spend much time discussing the live Cd as it is nothing special if you already own or two others. The sound is good (taken from Amsterdam's Concertgebouw in late 70) and the set is the "average one" they used to play back then. No this release would not have much to propose to the fan if it was not for the DVD.
I am not really aware if there are many films of Soft Machine's concerts, but this one (a bit too short for my appreciation) is splendid as we see these four musicians truly deliver a mesmerizing performance: although the jazz-rock fusion (with some free jazz in the opening track) is not always known for the groups playing tight and concise, I can tell you that the Machine smoked on that evening. It is a little funny for this writer, who had never seen any previous film footage of the group, to see that both fuzzy hairs Hopper and Dean were playing on one side of the stage and the other two straight hairs (Wyatt and Ratledge) occupied the other side of the stage. Anyway, this short DVD is essential to see how these guys functioned as a group and were incredibly tight. Particularly interesting is seeing how Dean and Ratledge shared the keyboards. And if you had doubts on Ratledge's virtuosity, this DVD should dispel it quite quickly.
Of course this release comes after a long list of other Machine live gigs, so the average fan is likely to have at least one other album, thus making this one a bit painful (as well as double use) to acquire. But if you have the "luck" of not having another live album, but wished for one, by all means walk, run, crawl or jump to your local favorite vendor and order it.
Sean Trane

Another excellent posthumous live album from Soft Machine.
This album starts with the barking of Hugh Hopper's bass and we are into Hazard Part 1. The sound is superb. The playing is flawless throughout from this, the classic Hopper/ Wyatt/Dean/Ratledge setup of Soft Machine. The songs are taken from Third/Fourth and the Fifth album. There is also a couple of other gems here.
From this period, I think Live At Henie Onstad Centre is the best live album. But Grides is an excellent album too and comes in a very good packaging with a lot of extra stuff. Stuff that makes this album almost essential if you are into this band. The sound is superb, but not excellent. The music is.
4/5 stars
toroddfuglesteg

One dayi was in my fav record shop and i realy wanted a new sof machine album i hade 1, 2 & Third and was thinking about buing fourth and fifth since i hade seen em included on the same album before but the one and only copy of it they hade was sold so i saw this album and it looked good. I read some stuff pasted on the album cover and it sounded very nice, it allso said it contained a DVD with 20min live film from the tour this live album was taken, sweet. The sound of the recoding is simply amazing and sounds very fresh and crisp, great remastering job. The songs themself are from Third & Fourth i dident have fourth only third and 1 & 2 the edition with both of em on the same album so i hadent heard all of the song on this one, wich was nice. The songs from Third seem to be much shorter then on the orginal album while the ones from Fourth seem the be orginal lenght or even longer it was probobly recored between Third and fourt thats why they added many songs from thiere new upcoming album i whuld gues. This is Jazz rock fusion at its purest and best and it proves that this line up of the band was real tight players all of em get to shine on here, Ratledge's fuzzed up organ is simply amazing, sounds like Hendrix playing organ, yust love it. Wyatt was a great jazz drumer, Hoppers plays his bass flawlesly, and Elton Dean is a master of the sax puling out some long amazing solos. No mather if your a Soft machine veteran and got all thiere stuff or if you like me only heard 1-3 albums this is a must have for soft machine lovers an opertuinity to hear the band with thiere best line up and at thiere peak. Or if you yust love jazz rock fusion but never heard any soft machine, you will not be disepointed the album is loaded with great music, one of the best live albums i ever heard so far, Highly recomended.
Tomas Zargus


4,5 / 5 stars
A fine offering from the excellent "Cuneiform" label which combines an excellent CD, -a 1970 concert with superb sound quality- and a fantastic DVD. The concert CD shows the band at its peak, the performance is excellent and the sound is awesome, perfectly balanced and with a superb presence.
The DVD is a 1971 performance filmed in multi-camera at the German TV. The band is still at its peak, and features Wyatt. The sound is as good as the CD, and the picture quality is fantastic as well! Moreover, some psychedelic effects are displayed in the background, and it becomes even more impressive with the very intense Wyatt singing part. An absolute must-have at all levels; this movie is just 20 minutes of heaven for any Soft machine fan.
Olivier Treps

ANOTHER LOOK (VISUAL AS WELL) FROM SOFT MACHINE AT THEIR PEAK.
There have been by now so many new releases of SOFT MACHINE live recordings these last years that it is getting very difficult for the fan to choose which one to buy as many of them come from the same period.Unless you are a SOFT junkie, you don't want to buy all of them as there are quite a few similarities between them . Even me, i don't buy all those recordings though i own all their studio CDs and some live as well . How many more versions of FACELIFT or EAMON ANDREWS can you have? You've got to draw the line somewhere.
What makes me get GRIDES is like for a lot of other people, the inclusion of a DVD. Not that everyday you can have the chance to view (and better to own) a concert from the 'classic'' line up. Allright, the DVD is not very long, only lasting 25 mns! but that's better than nothing, right? and that didn't make the price of the set more expensive anyway.
We had in the past many live releases of this line-up RATLEDGE-WYATT-HOPPER-DEAN on great CDs such as NOISETTE, BACKWARDS, SPACED and a few more, but this one GRIDES is a good one as well, especially now that we have also a DVD. This concert was performed in the autumn of 1970 in AMSTERDAM after the release of THIRD. SOFT MACHINE was very big in continental Europe and were touring France, Belgium and the Netherlands many times a year being in such great demand.
This document showcases one more time the declining role of ROBERT WYATT whose voice is completely shut down, except for a vocal improvisation on the DVD.On their next album to come FOURTH, WYATT would perform only exclusively as a drummer leading next to his departure.The tracks including on this album are taken from THIRD , FOURTH, even one from FIFTH. ELTON DEAN adds another one, he would eventually release on a solo album NEO-CALIBAN GRIDES , a track i could live without, just an experimental free jazz tune going nowhere, better than his own FLETCHER'S BLEMISH on FOURTH.But that's easy as nothing else can be as bad as this FLETCHER thing.
Most of the THIRD tracks are shortened versions of the album but are vey lively, full of energy and the band sounds very tight.Once again, the king of the show is keyboardist MIKE RATLEDGE whose electric piano and organ playing has to be listened religiously. Even the 2 tunes taken out of the cold FOURTH sound better on GRIDES as HOPPER does a great job with his fuzz bass to warm up the place.However, TEETH and VIRTUALLY have not become instant masterpieces yet, but that's better than the studio versions.
Another great live recording of this band at this time of their career allowing us to follow their progression through the ages from KEVIN AYERS to KARL JENKINS. But i don't think i need another SOFT MACHINE live recording from 1970-1971 in my collection after this one . I think i have an idea by now how they sounded, don't you think so?
I would give 3 stars for the CD, but because of the additional DVD which is a rarity, that makes GRIDES an album to be owned by any SOFT MACHINE aficionado. But that's still not easy listening music, oh no!!! Be warned!!!
4/5 STARS
Antoine


I dedicate this review to the legendary Hugh Hopper.
This live recording took place in Amsterdam on October 25th 1970. This is the classic SOFT MACHINE lineup of Hopper, Ratledge, Dean and Wyatt. They had actually taken a break from the recording studio where they were recording "Fourth" to do a mini tour. The songs here are pretty much all from "Third" and "Fourth", although the songs from "Fourth" will sound different from the studio versions because they really weren't completed as yet. The accompanying DVD is like the holy grail for SOFT MACHINE fans because there just isn't any other video of this lineup that has been released yet. And while it may be only 20 minutes long it still gives me goosebumps to see these legends play. I'm just going to focus on the cd for this review.
The first set begins with "Facelift" and check out the fuzz to open ! It settles quickly though with piano, drums and sax while Hugh's bass throbs along. Wyatt really impresses me here. A fuller sound 1 1/2 minutes in and Ratledge is on fire ! Wyatt is relentless while Dean adds some piano here. Sax after 6 minutes as it starts to wind down. Each of the songs during this first set blend into one another. "Virtuality" features lazy sax melodies as Hopper plays tastefully. Here we go 3 1/2 minutes in as the tempo picks up and the sound gets fuller. This continues until around 8 1/2 minutes when it settles as Wyatt and Hopper continue. Sax and fuzz before 11 minutes. It's pretty laid back the rest of the way as sax and fuzz continue. Some nasty fuzz to end it. "Out-Bloody-Rageous" is more uptempo and jazzy with Dean leading the way until Ratledge comes in around a minute. Elton takes over 3 1/2 minutes in. "Neo-Caliban Grides" is a Dean track from the "Fourth" sessions that was left off that album. It's a little experimental early as sounds come and go. The main melody arrives around 2 minutes. Again Wyatt is so impressive. The melody stops and we get some wicked fuzz 6 minutes in. Chunky bass after 6 1/2 minutes. Dissonant sax and odd metered drumming to end it. Applause ends the first set.
The second set begins with "Teeth" which is sax led for a minute then everyone joins in. Sax is again all over this one 2 1/2 minutes in. Ratledge brings the fuzz after 6 1/2 minutes. "Slightly All The Time" is where Wyatt shows how intricate he can be as Ratledge creates some atmosphere. Sax, bass, piano and cymbals follow. This sounds so cool. Fuzz before 7 minutes as the tension builds slightly (haha). Nice bass after 9 minutes. Fuzz to end it. "Eamonn Andrews" is a short jazzy track. Some killer fuzz a minute in. "Esther's Nose Job" is such a good title. It opens dramatically then sax comes in. The tempo picks up before 2 minutes. Love the bass sound before 5 minutes then the fuzz returns. Elton's turn to lead. It's the Dean / Wyatt show before 10 minutes. A big applause ends it. The encore song is "Slightly All The Time / Noisette" and it's my favourite. They bring it big time for the encore. Such a deep rich sound to open before the fuzz crashes in with electric piano and drums. It settles before 3 minutes. Crazy sax 4 1/2 minutes in then it calms right down after 5 minutes. Heaviness and chaos ends it.
Thanks for all the music Hugh !
John Davie

I'm always more interested in Soft Machine live albums that capture complete sets rather than snippets, so Grides already had my attention since it offers on CD the two Concertgebouw sets they performed in October of 1970, and includes as a wonderful bonus some rare television footage of the band playing a short set in Radio Bremen's TV studios.
What particularly blows me away about the Concertgebouw material is how it not only has absolutely superb recording standards - the mix is pitch-perfect, unlike other Soft Machine live releases where often one instrument or another will either be entirely lost in the mix or dominate proceedings uncomfortably - but how the set opens my eyes to a new way of looking at both the older material in the set (mainly from Third, but there's also a version of Esther's Nose Job from Volume Two reworked to remove vocals), as well as the new material which would eventually see a release on Fourth.
Quite simply, the CD provides an absolutely red hot fusion performance from the four-piece that recorded Third, in which a new vigour is applied to the Third material (which was quite languid in the studio version), and a big dose of rock energy is injected into the material from Fourth, that album being so skewed to the jazz side of jazz-rock that it's basically just a jazz album. (I tend to view it as an attempt to curry favour with the jazz establishment, but I'll save that for my review of it.) Put on a DVD of rare live footage of the band as a bonus on top of that, and you have a fantastic package which Cuneiform should be proud to bring to the public. I'd say, in fact, that it's the absolute best live Soft Machine album from their archival series. Five stars, no question about it.
W. Arthur


Soft Machine: Grides Given the ongoing release of archival live recordings by Soft Machine, you have to wonder if we'll ever reach a saturation point, especially with the heavy emphasis on the British jazz/rock group's 1969-71 lineup with the recently deceased saxophonist/pianist Elton Dean, keyboardist Mike Ratledge, bassist Hugh Hopper and drummer/vocalist Robert Wyatt. So many recordings are already available from this seminal period. Does Cuneiform's release of Grides really have a purpose?
Absolutely. During this lineup's brief existence, its continuous sets varied significantly from night to night—not just the material, but the order in which songs were presented and the unique ways in which they would be linked together.
Grides fills in the gap of an especially fruitful period between the already documented August, 1970 performance on Live at the Proms 1970 (Reckless, 1988) and the March, 1971 concert on Virtually (Cuneiform, 1998); Wyatt left the group shortly thereafter. This double-disc set includes a CD documenting an October, 1970 Amsterdam concert and a DVD featuring a different 25-minute performance recorded in Bremen on the same day as Virtually.
Between Dean's interest in free jazz, Hopper's bent toward abstruse and often vamp-based writing, and Ratledge's approachable yet knotty compositions—not to mention Wyatt's frustration by the group's relentless migration to instrumental jazz—it's surprising that the group lasted as long as it did. But somehow, together, those tensions resulted in innovation and pure magic.
While Grides is dominated by familiar tracks from earlier studio albums, there is also new material from the upcoming Fourth (Columbia, 1971). But without the expanded instrumentation on this record, Hopper's episodic "Virtually" and Ratledge's "Teeth"—the most complex jazz-centric tune he'd written to date—manage to open up more. Dean's "Neo-Caliban Grides" approaches free jazz, but remains more inside than the version that would appear on his 1971 debut as a leader.
Wyatt may have been unhappy with Soft Machine's more explicitly jazz direction, but you'd never know it based on his playing here. Loose and responsive, he was never as powerful as Tony Williams or Elvin Jones, but he was clearly inspired by both, whereas Dean's labyrinthine lines never sounded like anyone but himself. Neither Hopper's fuzz bass nor Ratledge's distorted Lowry organ ever sounded more ominous.
Seeing Soft Machine perform "Neo-Caliban Grides" on the DVD, only five months after the Amsterdam show, reveals just how rapidly the group evolved toward greater freedom. It's also further evidence of Dean's increasing influence—something that would ultimately result in his leaving shortly after Fifth (Columbia, 1972). Even Wyatt's brief vocal spot is an abstract improv, rather than an actual song.
Grides would be highly recommended for the video footage alone. But packaged with the CD, it's an essential demonstration of just how revolutionary and evolutionary Soft Machine was during this period, moving from a psychedelic pop group to a freewheeling improv unit and finally a guitar-centric fusion band, all within the space of just a few short years.
John Kelman

Acá dejamos otras de las tantas maravillas que pueblan el blog cabezón a raudales, y que está a la altura de los mejores. Sin palabras... otra maravilla en la Biblioteca Sonora.


4 comentarios:

  1. Estimado Moebius, no encuentro en enlace de descarga de este disco, perdón por mi despiste. Por favor podrías indicarme de dónde se baja? Gracias, un abrazo cordial

    Rikki-Tikki-Tavi

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    1. Rikki, en el blog no hay links de descarga, al menos no sin el consentimiento de los músicos.
      Si querès algo màs de lo que està publicado acá, te sugiero que te suscribas a la lista de correo y leas bien los mensajes de bienvenida. Acá te dice cómo suscribirte: http://cabezademoog.blogspot.com.ar/p/por-si-algun-dia-no-estamos-aca.html
      Saludos!

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  2. Jajajaj, creo que me conocés bien Moe. Gracias por esta maravilla, chicos!!

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    1. Obvio que te conozco princesita! y pronto, como todos te dedicamos nuestros post, creo que pronto pasaràs a nivel de reinda indiscutida del blog cabezón, jeje.
      Y el show de Soft Machine no terminó, hoy veré si publico algo que trae el Mago Alberto. Besos!

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