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Thread: Soft Machine - Bundles

  1. #26
    One big problem with Allan Holdsworth is that he's an incredible guitar player but perhaps not an elite musician.

    Any project he gets involved in becomes -- to far too great an extent -- about his soloing.

    Also, I find it a bit odd that it's rarely discussed, but WHY OH WHY did Ratledge change his lead organ tone around the time of Six? By the time of Bundles, that lead organ tone he was using was just not up to his "God Of Fuzz Organ" standard, so it doesn't balance out Holdsworth's endless soloing well enough. The band was lopsided and pretty much lost in a far too softened around the edges fusion sound.

  2. #27
    I always liked SM 7
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  3. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by chalkpie View Post
    ^
    Yeah, I know. Some of you are looking for me to turn in my prog card right about now. I've tried, some albums take a while but after about 30 years of trying, early Soft Machine just doesn't do it for me.

  4. #29
    Member Emeritus (A.M.P.) rcarlberg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JeffCarney View Post
    One big problem with Allan Holdsworth is that he's an incredible guitar player but [...] Any project he gets involved in becomes -- to far too great an extent -- about his soloing.
    It's considered a sacrilege to even mention such a thought... but I have to agree. I have about 12 of his solo records, and an equal number of band projects he's been a member of -- and once he starts soloing, every solo sounds the same. To my ears.

    Doesn't matter the tempo of the song, or the key it's in.

  5. #30
    I really dig this record. The Floating World is the perfect "mellow out" track. Can't wait for the Montreaux release! I've watched the video in amazement several times on youtube. I love the bass player's Fender VI.
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  6. #31
    Quote Originally Posted by rcarlberg View Post
    It's considered a sacrilege to even mention such a thought... but I have to agree. I have about 12 of his solo records, and an equal number of band projects he's been a member of -- and once he starts soloing, every solo sounds the same. To my ears.

    Doesn't matter the tempo of the song, or the key it's in.
    Well, I can understand the viewpoint that this is his trademark. I'm not questioning that and I think he does it exceptionally well.

    But when he joins a band, that sound tends to dominate. It becomes far too much about his soloing. Soft Machine built their brand on a keyboard dominated sound, first and foremost. So to hear that sound take a backseat to a guitar doesn't quite work, IMO.

    As far as Bundles, I like it well enough, but it doesn't always sound all that inspired to me. There is a level of professionalism about it which I appreciate, and there are magical moments, but it's a band long past their prime.

  7. #32
    Quote Originally Posted by Dave View Post
    If you like Bundles I highly recommend "Floating World Live"

    http://www.moonjune.com/mjr_web_2013...sworth_MJR007/
    Yeah, I was going to say - Floating World Live and British Tour '75 pretty much make Bundles irrelevant to me. I really like the material, but it's so much better live, IMO.

  8. #33
    Probably my favorite Holdsworth solo is in "Hazard Profile". I like the fact that the guitar sounds like a guitar because I can really hear the wild abandon of his playing.

  9. #34
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    I don't mind Holdsworth on other people's albums- although I'm not sure how well he fit within UK- but I tried 'Metal Fatigue' and couldn't get into it at all. Too many twiddly moments and chord changes, not enough room to breathe to create a groove. I've said it before but I think you have to be really a highly accomplished musician to get much out of his music...more than most other jazz guitarists.

    I never quite understood how the Soft Machine name remained when there were no original members left. 'Softs' for instance has the sparsest of contributions from Mike Ratledge and the Paris live album doesn't have any originals.

  10. #35
    Quote Originally Posted by JJ88 View Post
    I never quite understood how the Soft Machine name remained when there were no original members left. 'Softs' for instance has the sparsest of contributions from Mike Ratledge and the Paris live album doesn't have any originals.
    It was a gradual process. By the time founding members left, more recent members had become dominant creative forces so they were legitimate in taking over leadership of the band. The issue of whether to continue as SM was posed as early as in 1968 after Kevin Ayers left. By the time Wyatt left in 1971, he was no longer a significant contributor to the writing, so for Ratledge, Hopper and Dean to continue without him didn't seem that big a deal as if Wyatt had left when SM were still playing many of his songs (by 1971, they no longer played any). Similarly, Hopper had pretty much given up writing for the band when he left in 1973, so the change from "Six" to "Seven" was virtually unnoticeable. And when Ratledge left in 1976, Soft Machine had been dominated by Karl Jenkins' writing for four years already so while the lack of any founding member could be seen as an issue, in terms of the band's musical evolution that, again, wasn't such a major change - well, it was as far as the sound was concerned, but not so much the music.
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  11. #36
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    ^What I meant was in terms of name ownership. Certainly you can hear the musical change in direction across their discography.

  12. #37
    That's Mr. to you, Sir!! Trane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by calyx View Post
    btw, Cuneiform have just officially announced that an official release of the July 1974 Montreux Festival performance of the whole album is due for release as a CD/DVD combo. This gig actually pre-dates the recording sessions for "Bundles" by a mere two weeks.
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    Quote Originally Posted by calyx View Post
    The "Song For The Bearded Lady" riff provided the basis for "Hazard Profile", but it's much extended and developed upon rather than merely recycling it. But certainly Jenkins' individual, riff-based style was first displayed, and impressively so, on the first couple of Nucleus albums, for which he was the main composer. I'm a big fan of the first ("Elastic Rock") in particular. Of course they both have John Marshall on drums too. So, no wonder the "fusion" era Softs owed a big stylistic debt to early Nucleus, since compositionally Jenkins was at the helm in both.
    That's the thing with Nucleus: despite the numerous defection to SM, and therefore Ian Carr's many problems to rebuild his band (the Under The Sun/Alleycats/Snakehips era) ... they (Nucleus under their various denominations) remained quite interesting (IMHO) until and including In Flagrante Delicto

    My faves are the first two and Under The Sun, btw



    Quote Originally Posted by calyx View Post
    Agreed - a significant portion of "Softs" is performed with basically the sound of "Bundles" (Ratledge on fuzz organ, Jenkins on electric piano - rather than acoustic piano/string synth on the album), and of course almost the whole of "Bundles" is in there too. A very smokin' performance, and probably the best sound quality (& mix) in the whole Newcastle University series by MLP (also including Gong, Caravan, Renaissance and Nucleus).
    Thanks for the British Tour 75 tip... certainly will go for that one too.

    Quote Originally Posted by mogrooves View Post
    This is where I got off the bus. Well executed, but I just wasn't interesting in hearing SM with fuseoid guitar.
    I get off the bus after Softs, thouygh I have to hear the expanded version of Alive & Well
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  13. #38
    Quote Originally Posted by JJ88 View Post
    ^What I meant was in terms of name ownership. Certainly you can hear the musical change in direction across their discography.
    Wyatt has been quoted as saying that they could never own the name since it was also the title of a book (by William Burroughs), so any departing member couldn't prevent the others from continuing without them. I don't know if this is strictly true - Robert hasn't really proved to be 100% reliable when it comes to "memories of old days"...
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  14. #39
    That's Mr. to you, Sir!! Trane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JJ88 View Post
    ^What I meant was in terms of name ownership. Certainly you can hear the musical change in direction across their discography.
    Then again, the only dramatic change that occured throughout their discography (outside the Cockayne album) was between Vol 2 and Third, when the line-up was still mainly original members (well, Wyatt and Ratledge anyways)...
    ever since Third, their evolution was a relatively slow and coherent process... IMHO anyways
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  15. #40
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    ^Well, not really. The sound had softened considerably by the time of 'Seven', I think. It was still good music by any stretch though IMHO.

  16. #41
    Member Zeuhlmate's Avatar
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    SM has a continuos evolution. But no matter what period the albums are from most of their tunes are based on riffs & ostinatos though.
    I like all albums, except Cocayne which in my ears have only one good track.
    Bundles was really an ear opener, Holdsworth was exceptional news to the guitar lovers. But I think I like 7 better.
    Bundles sound (as in HiFi) isnt impressing.

  17. #42
    Member Steve F.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trane View Post

    I get off the bus after Softs, thouygh I have to hear the expanded version of Alive & Well
    The stuff that was not included is significantly better, imo, than what was originally included. The unreleased & now newly added stuff shows that they were still a vital jazz/rock force, even that late in life.

    I don't know that I would call it essential, but it certainly was eye-opening to me.
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  18. #43
    That's Mr. to you, Sir!! Trane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve F. View Post
    The stuff that was not included is significantly better, imo, than what was originally included. The unreleased & now newly added stuff shows that they were still a vital jazz/rock force, even that late in life.

    I don't know that I would call it essential, but it certainly was eye-opening to me.
    Yeah, that's what I had read (probably here), but I still haven't got around to checking it out, which is why I said I'd reconsider after hearing it.
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  19. #44
    Member Phlakaton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trane View Post
    Yeah, that's what I had read (probably here), but I still haven't got around to checking it out, which is why I said I'd reconsider after hearing it.
    I was surprised how good the material that was added was - like Steve said. The original album was good - but the new release is great!

  20. #45
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    I have some 3-cd box with the See For Miles CDs of the Harvest albums. The only Esoteric one I have is 'Bundles'- when Esoteric put that out, it was a big deal because it had been out of print for years, I vaguely recall a lot of discussion about these albums back then on the old site. I found the box-set shortly after, alas!

  21. #46
    Quote Originally Posted by calyx View Post
    btw, Cuneiform have just officially announced that an official release of the July 1974 Montreux Festival performance of the whole album is due for release as a CD/DVD combo. This gig actually pre-dates the recording sessions for "Bundles" by a mere two weeks.
    Can you point me too this announcement? I couldn't find it.

  22. #47
    Quote Originally Posted by Wah3 View Post
    Can you point me too this announcement? I couldn't find it.
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  23. #48
    Member Zalmoxe's Avatar
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    Desert Island album for me, in my top 10 fusion albums and I like fusion a lot.

  24. #49
    Howdy Dave (in MA)'s Avatar
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    If you subscribe to the Wayside Music newsletter you'd get a little blurb about coming soon stuff.
    http://ymlp211.net/archive_gqwsqbgjge.php

  25. #50
    A great record, one of my favorite of theirs, my favorite being Seven.
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