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Thread: Soft Machine - Bundles

  1. #76
    I love this record and at the time I thought it was an interesting change for the band. I remember being excited over Alan Holdsworth's guitar playing. Soft Machine were always eclectic within sections of their albums. "Bundles" had a flowing atmospheric type piece called "Floating World". Originally I heard Soft Machine creating this style of soundscape on "Six"....but this piece was a bit more stylistically based on what Jade Warrior would produce during their Island label period. An album with some wild improvisation and yet it created an atmosphere . That impressed the hell out of me when I picked it up on LP in '75. Although other instrumental bands like Weather Report etc....were releasing albums in this style....Bundles was quite different because it didn't tone down in the areas of the musicians choice in sound. For example...in Hatfield And The North the guitar played a certain style of distorted sounding chord work which gave the music a Prog sound and Holdsworth was actually doing the same...except Bundles was all instrumental. On Gong "Gazeuse" you can hear a heavy distorted 5/chord work .not quite Metal..but Prog as opposed to several Jean-Luc Ponty albums where the fusion guitar is distorted but a galaxy away from producing the overall sound that Soft Machine had produced on Bundles.

  2. #77
    A huge change for the band, and the album where I stopped thinking about Soft Machine as I'd always thought about them. But that's in no way a negative. While Softs was also very good, I think Bundles was the last great Soft Machine album. You can read my All About Jazz review here.

    [Edit]: BTW, when I say last great SM album, I mean of their original run of recordings when they were still a going concern. In the years since, labels like Moonjune, Cuneiform and Esoteric have not only ensure the SM flames are kept fanned high, but also some of them have unearthed absolutely marvellous archival live documents; in the case of Esoteric more as bonus material, but still, the expanded version of their final live album, expanded by Esoteric to two CDs, made it a far better record than it originally was. Meanwhile, Moonjune's Drop and Floating World (not to mention the Soft Machine Legacy stuff) have been wonderful; ditto Cuneiform's many SM finds, including NDR Workshop, Spaced, Grides, Backwards, Noisette....

    Just wanted to be clear about that, as I didn't want to dis my friends at MJ, Cunei and Esoteric.
    Last edited by jkelman; 08-09-2016 at 07:00 PM.

  3. #78
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    I find Softs a weaker album. A very good first side (especially 'Tale Of Taliesyn' with that circular piano motif) but the second is pretty bland and a tad anonymous IMHO. They were running out of steam by that point IMHO.

  4. #79
    When I was at Oberlin in the 90's I saw the radio station's copy of this LP where someone wrote "CHECK THIS OUT!!!" on the back cover pointing to "Hazard Profile (Part One)."

  5. #80
    Banned Dave (in MA)'s Avatar
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    https://www.cherryred.co.uk/product/...oxset-edition/


    Unfortunately there's nothing new here except for a poster. In fact, the extra stuff from the standalone reissues of these albums is not included.

  6. #81
    Member Steve F.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave (in MA) View Post
    Unfortunately there's nothing new here except for a poster. In fact, the extra stuff from the standalone reissues of these albums is not included.
    The 'bonus disc' that came with the standalone version of "Alive & Well" took what was a rather meh late period Softs release and made it a pretty essential late period Softs release. IMO.
    Steve F.

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    please add 'imo' wherever you like, to avoid offending those easily offended.

  7. #82
    Member Steve F.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jkelman View Post
    Just wanted to be clear about that, as I didn't want to dis my friends at MJ, Cunei and Esoteric.
    We're not really your friends.......
    Steve F.

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    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

    "You run a great label, but sometimes you go out of your way to be a jerk." - Jed Levin

    "The older I get, the more I realize that cynicism is just realism spelled wrong."

    "Death to false 'support the scene' prog!"

    please add 'imo' wherever you like, to avoid offending those easily offended.

  8. #83
    Quote Originally Posted by Steve F. View Post
    The 'bonus disc' that came with the standalone version of "Alive & Well" took what was a rather meh late period Softs release and made it a pretty essential late period Softs release. IMO.
    Wow, now this I was totally unaware of. I just found it on the Wayside store and added it to my list. While the late period Soft Machine doesn't reach the heights of their early days for me, I still like a lot of it, so this is something I definitely want to hear.

    Thanks, Steve.

  9. #84
    Member Steve F.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aith01 View Post
    Wow, now this I was totally unaware of. I just found it on the Wayside store and added it to my list. While the late period Soft Machine doesn't reach the heights of their early days for me, I still like a lot of it, so this is something I definitely want to hear.

    Thanks, Steve.


    You're welcome. It's a pretty profound revelation, showing that this period of the band was HOT HOT HOT, even if the recorded evidence for 30 - odd years didn't really reflect that!

    After you hear it, let us know if you agree!
    Steve F.

    www.waysidemusic.com
    www.cuneiformrecords.com

    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

    "You run a great label, but sometimes you go out of your way to be a jerk." - Jed Levin

    "The older I get, the more I realize that cynicism is just realism spelled wrong."

    "Death to false 'support the scene' prog!"

    please add 'imo' wherever you like, to avoid offending those easily offended.

  10. #85
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    I have this somewhere:

    https://www.discogs.com/Soft-Machine...lease/11226311

    I remember finding it cheaply not long after getting the Esoteric Bundles!

  11. #86
    Banned Dave (in MA)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve F. View Post


    You're welcome. It's a pretty profound revelation, showing that this period of the band was HOT HOT HOT, even if the recorded evidence for 30 - odd years didn't really reflect that!

    After you hear it, let us know if you agree!
    I've already heard it. I agree!

    A SM holy grail for me would be a decent recording of the lost quintet when Percy Jones replaced Babbington for a couple of months.

  12. #87
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    ^^^That would be great indeed. However, after so many excellent archival releases by the Soft Machine over the last 25 years or so, one wonders that if nothing has ever officially surfaced so far featuring Percy Jones it probably never will. I hope time proves me wrong.

  13. #88
    Quote Originally Posted by Conti View Post
    ^^^That would be great indeed. However, after so many excellent archival releases by the Soft Machine over the last 25 years or so, one wonders that if nothing has ever officially surfaced so far featuring Percy Jones it probably never will. I hope time proves me wrong.
    There is a video on Dime.
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  14. #89
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shadow View Post
    There is a video on Dime.
    I remember someone mentioning this, but I have never seen it. Thanks for the tip.

  15. #90
    Quote Originally Posted by Steve F. View Post
    The 'bonus disc' that came with the standalone version of "Alive & Well" took what was a rather meh late period Softs release and made it a pretty essential late period Softs release. IMO.
    I thought both the original and the bonus used the recordings from their residency at Paris' Théâtre Le Palace in July 1977

    What made the bonus disc such an upgrade ?

  16. #91
    Member Steve F.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Udi Koomran View Post
    I thought both the original and the bonus used the recordings from their residency at Paris' Théâtre Le Palace in July 1977

    What made the bonus disc such an upgrade ?
    1. It chose more fiery pieces overall.
    2. It wasn’t reworked in the studio; it was a genuine live album.
    Steve F.

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    www.cuneiformrecords.com

    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

    "You run a great label, but sometimes you go out of your way to be a jerk." - Jed Levin

    "The older I get, the more I realize that cynicism is just realism spelled wrong."

    "Death to false 'support the scene' prog!"

    please add 'imo' wherever you like, to avoid offending those easily offended.

  17. #92
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    ^^^ It really boggles the mind that they (the band? record industry suits?) made the decision to leave incendiary and previously unrecorded tunes like "K's Riff" and "The Spraunce" off the original Alive and Well and instead filled it out with the godawful "Soft Space" and classical noodling like "Number Three". Even the live versions of Softs-era material on the bonus disc would have been far better than Soft Space.

    When the 2cd version first came out, I made a composite CDR of tunes from both discs based on how I imagined the full concert might have gone. I lost it several years ago but I should make another one. That CDR disc could hold its own against Softs and even Bundles, which is something I can't say about the original A&W. Not even close.

  18. #93
    Member Zeuhlmate's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by arturs View Post
    ^^^ It really boggles the mind that they (the band? record industry suits?) made the decision to leave incendiary and previously unrecorded tunes like "K's Riff" and "The Spraunce" off the original Alive and Well and instead filled it out with the godawful "Soft Space" and classical noodling like "Number Three". Even the live versions of Softs-era material on the bonus disc would have been far better than Soft Space.

  19. #94
    Member Steve F.'s Avatar
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    ^^^^^^^

    Seconded.
    Steve F.

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    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

    "You run a great label, but sometimes you go out of your way to be a jerk." - Jed Levin

    "The older I get, the more I realize that cynicism is just realism spelled wrong."

    "Death to false 'support the scene' prog!"

    please add 'imo' wherever you like, to avoid offending those easily offended.

  20. #95
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve F. View Post
    ^^^^^^^

    Seconded.
    Thirded. The expanded version of Alive and Well is pretty essential, IMO.

  21. #96
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    Quote Originally Posted by Conti View Post
    I remember someone mentioning this, but I have never seen it. Thanks for the tip.
    Pretty sure this is the one...

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=2VBHygKgilM

  22. #97
    Quote Originally Posted by arturs View Post
    ^^^ It really boggles the mind that they (the band? record industry suits?) made the decision to leave incendiary and previously unrecorded tunes like "K's Riff" and "The Spraunce" off the original Alive and Well and instead filled it out with the godawful "Soft Space" and classical noodling like "Number Three". Even the live versions of Softs-era material on the bonus disc would have been far better than Soft Space.

    When the 2cd version first came out, I made a composite CDR of tunes from both discs based on how I imagined the full concert might have gone. I lost it several years ago but I should make another one. That CDR disc could hold its own against Softs and even Bundles, which is something I can't say about the original A&W. Not even close.
    Did the same, & more recently did an expanded version for iTunes...

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