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Soft Machine: Switzerland 1974 (CD/DVD)

Absolutely Essential!!!

Honestly folks, there no other way to say this really...if you are at all a fan of progressive rock or jazz-fusion, you must seek this new CD/DVD set from Cuneiform Records out at all costs. This is the 1974 film of Soft Machine live at the Congress Hall, Montreux, Switzerland, July 4, 1974, and features the then new line-up of Allan Holdsworth (guitar, voice), Karl Jenkins (Fender Rhodes piano, piano, Hohner Pianet, soprano sax, oboe), Mike Ratledge ( Fender Rhodes piano, Lowrey organ, AKS synthesizer), Roy Babbington (electric 6-string bass), and John Marshall (drums and percussion), hot on the release of their new, and now looked at as 'classic' album, Bundles. This CD/DVD release contains their entire hour long set from the Montreux Jazz Festival in both audio & video formats, highlighted by the virtuoso guitar skills of the then 28 year old Holdsworth on his white Gibson SG.

Playing the majority of the songs from the new album plus a few older Soft Machine favorites, this is a thrilling set from start to finish. Though the band had always dabbled in jazz, psychedelia, prog, and avant-garde sounds, Bundles marked their first real foray into jazz-rock-fusion, and the results were absolutely stupendous. Holdsworth takes a lengthy solo on the ripping "Hazard Profile" to kick things off, his fingers flying up and down the fretboard in reckless abandon, all the while Ratledge & Jenkins keep an atmospheric edge with their array of keyboard textures and the rhythm section hold down the fort until the entire band lurches back in with a raging climax. Marshall also mightily impresses throughout, even getting in an unaccompanied solo late in the set, as does Babbington, who fires up the fuzz for some truly monstrous bass sounds. Other highlights include a mighty "Bundles", an energetic "The Man Who Waved at Trains", a groove laden "LBO", and the always engaging "Lefty", "Riff II", and "Penny Hitch".

Both video & audio quality here is excellent, considering the age of the source material, and though I can't comment on the package as we reviewed the digital promo, no doubt the folks at Cuneiform are certain to have done a fine job. This is mandatory listening & viewing, plain and simple!

See more about this release on our recent YouTube show!

Track Listing
1. Hazard Profile
2. The Floating World
3. Ealing Comedy
4. Bundles
5. Land Of the Bag Snake
6. Joint
7. The Man Who Waved At Trains
8. Peff
9. The Man Who Waved At Trains (reprise)
10. LBO
11. Riff II
12. Lefty
13. Penny Hitch

Added: February 22nd 2015
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Cuneiform Records
Hits: 1805
Language: english

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