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SOFT MACHINE - Noisette cover
3.69 | 9 ratings | 2 reviews
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Live album · 2000


1. Eamonn Andrews (12:15)
2. Mousetrap (5:24)
3. Noisette (0:37)
4. Backwards (4:47)
5. Mousetrap (reprise) (0:25)
6. Hibou, Anemone and Bear (9:21)
7. Moon in June (6:55)
8. 12/8 Theme (11:24)
9. Esther's Nose Job (14:59)
10. We Did It Again (7:14)

Total Time: 73:24


- Elton Dean /reeds
- Lyn Dobson / reeds
- Hugh Hopper /bass
- Mike Ratledge /keyboards
- Robert Wyatt /drums & vocals

About this release

Cuneiform Records ‎– rune 130(US)

Recorded January 4th, 1970 at Fairfield Hall, Croydon, England

Thanks to snobb for the updates


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

Another great Soft Machine's live archival recordings, released by Cuneiform in 2000.This album is really more interesting between many others band's archival recordings because all material there comes from the same live session (January 4th, 1970) live part of band's best ever album "Third" was recorded.

Band plays in quite rare line-up (as quintet) there with two reeds players (Elton Dean and Lyn Dobson) besides of classic trio of Wyatt/Ratledge/Hopper.Musical material recorded mostly comes from band's early psychedelic albums,but it's reworked on the new jazz fusion manner. Some compositions, unused on any albums ("Third" live recordings outtakes) are included as well.

By its atmosphere music is quite unique there - being jazz fusion,it contains huge doze of band's early psychedelic sound. The only other source you can hear Soft Machine,sounding like that is "Facelift" composition from "Third", coming from same recording session. If you like it - take this album, you will hear more than a hour of similar music.

From negative side only very average sound quality should be noticed ( everyone knows same problem exists with any release of "Third" though). Musical material is a bit bulky and unfocused, what is not strange again - outtakes and unused recordings are presented there.

In all, this album is one between most important and valuable archival releases from Soft Machine's "classic period". Still BBC recordings from late 60-s/early 70-s ("The Peel Sessions" or one of BBC live recordings)are better choice.

Members reviews

There's no shortage of archival live material available from the Soft Machine - a great deal of it hailing from that crucial period between the release of Volume Two and the eventual departure of Robert Wyatt from the band, during which the band's transformation from a deranged Canterbury-psych monster to a cool and together jazz-rock unit occurred. But out of that confusing abundance of material, Noisette stands out as a release to pay particular attention to. Unlike many archival releases, it presents more or less one single live performance - specifically, a January 1970 appearance by the band in one of various new lineup configurations they experimented with between Volume Two and Third, adding and subtracting various musicians to the central core of Hopper, Ratledge and Wyatt.

This time around, it's a quintet taking the stage, the extra members being Lyn Dobson on soprano sax and flute and Elton Dean on various flavours of saxophone. (Dean would eventually become a full member of the band.) The addition of the sax section brings the Soft's sound much closer to that on Third than on Volume Two, betraying a huge amount of musical development in the intervening months - just compare to Live at the Paradiso 1969, the sound on which is almost identical to that recorded on Volume Two (once you get past the production issues on Paradiso). In terms of recording quality, Noisette is pretty good for live albums of its era - the one problem I saw being that Wyatt's vocals are very slightly too quiet in the mix, though the emphasis of the band had already gone so heavily over to instrumentals this is less of an issue than it might otherwise have been. (The version of Moon In June on here is an instrumental extract from the larger composition rather than the whole thing.)

The recording combines the liveliness of Volume Two with the epic jazz-rock structures of Third to produce a mixture which wasn't quite captured on either album but which seems to have reverberated throughout the scene; you can see how the music of the likes of Hatfield and the North/National Health, Henry Cow, and Wyatt's own Matching Mole could have been inspired by the burning hot fusion produced by the Softs in the 1970s. The production quality means that I can't quite reach to five stars for this one, but it earns four stars with ease.

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  • lunarston
  • Fant0mas
  • KK58
  • Lynx33
  • Croteau
  • Sean Trane
  • richby

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