This is is the Esoteric Recordings reissue/remaster of the 1972 self-titled debut from Canterbury legends Matching Mole, featuring the initial line-up of Robert Wyatt (drums, vocals, Mellotron), Phil Miller (guitars), David Sinclair (keyboards), and Bill MacCormick (bass), though Sinclair would leave the band just before the albums release, and he was replaced by Dave MacRae. This reissue documents the original album, as well as plenty of bonus live cuts, alternate takes, and single versions, and the package features a well stocked booklet containing full band & album info, a lengthy essay, and vintage photos.
Many of the acts from the Canterbury scene basically combined jazz-fusion, progressive rock, and psychedelia, and often members floated from one band to the next. Soft Machine, Matching Mole, National Health, Caravan, and Hatfield & the North were some of the more noteworthy groups of that era to achieve any level of success, with some musicians playing for most if not all of them at one point or another. Wyatt came directly from Soft Machine to form Matching Mole with Miller, Sinclair, and MacCormick, and in many aspects he's the driving force behind this band. While tracks like "O Caroline", "Instant Pussy", and "Signed Curtain" are more avant-garde & pop flavored, complete with Wyatt's non-word vocals, Mellotron, and sparse intrumentation, it's the more adventurous, jazz-fusion/prog instrumentals "Part of the Dance", "Instant Kitten", " Dedicated To Hugh, But You Weren't Listening", and "Beer As In Braindeer" that are the meat of this album. Rambling jams with jagged guitar shards from Miller meet with Sinclair's tinkling keys and Wyatt's acrobatic drum work, sounding not unlike a meeting of Miles Davis, Soft Machine, and the Mahavishnu Orchestra. Unstructured and raucous for sure, but definitely exciting stuff, and these fiery instrumental tracks certainly work better than the Wyatt dominated vocal numbers.
The bonus tracks offer up some decent surprises, especially the 20+ minute "Part of the Dance Jam", featuring some scorching guitar work from Miller, the organ soaked "Memories Membrane", and the appearance of MacRae on electric piano on a few later live cuts. Overall this is a pretty cool reissue of one of the Canterbury scene's more unique acts.
1. O Caroline
2. Instant Pussy
3. Signed Curtain
4. Part Of The Dance
5. Instant Kitten
6. Dedicated To Hugh, But You Weren't Listening
7. Beer As In Braindeer
8. Immediate Curtain
Bonus tracks on the Esoteric Recordings reissue ECLEC22311 (2012)
9. O Caroline (Single Version)
10. Signed Curtain (Single Version)
11. Part of The Dance Jam
1. Signed Curtain (Take 2)
2. Memories Membrane
3. Part Of The Dance (Take One)
4. Horse (outtake)
5. Immediate Kitten (BBC 01.1971)
6. Marchides / Instant Pussy / Smoke Signal (BBC 01.1971)