SOFT MACHINE
Middle Earth Masters

[Cuneiform Records, www.cuneiformrecords.com]

Over the last decade, Cuneiform has released six issues of Soft Machine's tapes. "Middle Earth Masters" is number seven in that list. Recorded at Middle Earth club in London back in 1967, the master tapes give us a good glimpse into what this super psychedelic-rock-improvised outfit was into at the time. Each member of the trio was at this point on a collective creative high, striving to achieve music that is flawlessly progressing into un-chartered territories, into worlds of music that was rarely explored. Their take on noise and collective improvisation was a jaw dropper at the time. No doubt, the audience during these live shows witnessed personal epiphanies and thought they'd just seen three gods on stage. What strikes me most is how dense Mike Ratledge's organ sound is. In a very positive way, he's forcefully pushing the envelope to achieve a thick and juicy sound that envelops the whole band. On "We Did It Again", the organ / guitar duo of Mike Ratledge and Kevin Ayers blasts into overdrive. Once again, that meaty organ sound comes through loud and clear. Ayers is a powerhouse in a different category. Despite what the other two members are doing, his proposition is to lay down thick slabs of guitar noise. Sometimes feedback and at other times very rhythmic, these parts propel the music forward. Percussion giant Robert Wyatt exercises his arm muscles every single chance he gets. Persistent multi-rhythmic blasts on his drums cause the other two to react in ways that are often alien. This was music each one of the trio had to "learn". Each one had to realize what they were creating was ground-breaking or did they? Perhaps the speed at which the band was recording albums and going through line-up changes didn't leave them much time to examine their work thoroughly? Let's face it, even though each number is credited to one member of the trio, the pieces themselves sound more like free and loose improvisations of their original selves. One thing that must be mentioned is the sound. Although the release used source materials that were recorded using "semi-pro equipment under difficult conditions, at extreme volume in a concrete basement", the listener is actually treated to quite a good overall mix [other than Wyatt's voice being slightly cloudy on a couple of the numbers]. Kudos go to Canadian audio restoring super-hero Mike King for being so diligent with the original masters. Once again, we get a glimpse of Soft Machine that few have heard before. If this isn't something to rant and rave about, then I don't know what is.

- Tom Sekowski


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RECENZJE

+ RIN' - JIKUU
+ Piana - subtelność japońskiego alternatywnego popu
+ Patryk Zakrocki - Prace z obrazkiem
+ Wolfram - Thinking Dust
+ IAMX - The Alternative
+ Pride And Fall - Elements of Silence
+ Blues? Is Number One
+ Baaba - Poppe Musique
+ Ricardo Villalobos - Fizheuer Zieheuer
+ Alex Tsiridis - Bouzouki Several
+ Rafael Toral - Space
+ Andrew Thomas - Gaps In The Sun
+ Smolik - III
+ ReCloned: A Collection Of Remixes
+ Radiev. - Die
+ Poker Flat Vol. 5 - Bets'N'Bluffs
+ Plum - Witness Of Your Fall
+ 17 Pictures - 17 Pictures
+ Old Time Radio - Downtown
+ Octave One feat. Random Noise Generation - Off The Grid
+ Nun - Sunlight
+ Novika - Tricks Of Life
+ A Tribute To Robert Moog
+ Daisuke Miyatani - Dario
+ The Memory Band - Apron Strings
+ The Killers - Sam's Town
+ Nika Jager - Przetrwam
+ Paul St. Hilaire - Adsom - A Divine State Of Mind
+ Fad Gadget - Fad Gadget By Frank Tovey
+ Roman Flugel - Mutter
+ Terence Fixmer - Passion
+ Faithless - To All New Arrivals
+ Abe Duque - When The Fever Breaks
+ Drei Farben House - Any Kind Of Feeling
+ Dirt Crew Present: Collection 01
+ The DFA - Remixes - Charter 2
+ My Chemical Romance - The Black Parade
+ Benni Hemm Hemm - Kajak
+ Arpanet - Inertial Frame
+ Gabriel Ananda - Ananda's Bassmaschinen Pt. 2
+ Alter Ego - Blitz/Blank
+ Sound In Action Trio - Gate / Bridge 61 - Journal / Ken Vandermark/ Paal Nilssen-Love - Seven / Lytton/ Vandermark/ Wachsmann - CINC
+ Kommando Raumschiff Zitrone - First Time I Ever Saw Your Face
+ Neil Davidson - Grain
+ Punck - A Constant Migration (Between Reality and Fiction)
+ Arias/ Müller/Tammen - Intersecting A Cone With A Plane
+ Volcano the Bear - Egg and Two Books
+ Many Bright Things - Many Bright Friends
+ Skye Klad - The Musick of Cupid's Orkustra Asleep Within the Magick Powerhouse of Oz
+ V.A. - Eastern Space Cakes
+ Ramases - Space Hymns
+ Pan & Regaliz - Pan & Regaliz
+ Satanicpornocultshop - .aiff Skull EP
+ Lamp of the Universe - Earth, Spirit and Sky
+ Hati - Recycled Magick Emissions

- - - - - - - - -

+ MASTER MUSICIANS OF JOUJOUKA - Boujeloud
+ L. PIERRE - Dip
+ SODASTREAM - Reservations
+ KAHIL EL'ZABAR'S RITUAL TRIO - Big M - A Tribute of Malachi Favors
+ GATO LIBRE - Nomad
+ MISTY ROSES - Monster Zero
+ NIC JONES - Game Set Match
+ NED ROTHENBERG - Intervals - Solo Work for Woodwinds, 2001 / R.U.B. - Are You Be / NED ROTHEBERG SYNC - Harbinger / NED ROTHENBERG / STOMU TAKEISHI / TONY BUCK / TRONZO - The Fell Clutch
+ BENJY FERREE - Leaving the Nest
+ PRINCE VALIUM - Andlaus
>> SOFT MACHINE - Middle Earth Masters
+ ROPE - Heresy, and Then Nothing But Tears
+ T. RAUMSCHMIERE - Random Noize Sessions, Vol. 1 / GESCOM - MiniDisc / CONJOINT - A Few Empty Chairs
+ JOHN CALE - New York in the 1960s
+ ASHA BHOSLE - Asha Bhosle Reveals the Real RD
+ JOEL FUTTERMAN - Possibilities / JEFFREY HAYDEN SHURDUT - Allemansratten / FRODE GJERSTAD TRIO - The Other Side / SONNY SIMMONS TRIO - Live at the Knitting Factory / STEVE SWELL'S NATION OF WE - Live at the Bower Poetry Club / LUTHER THOMAS QUARTET - Finally! Total Unity in 3 Phases
+ LIBRARY TAPES - Feelings for Something Lost
+ RICHARD PINHAS - Metatron
+ AS "..." as "......." - Port Radium
+ TOMAS PHILLIPS - Intermission / Six Feuilles
+ ARCTIC MONKEYS - Leave Before the Lights Come On
+ VARIOUS ARTISTS - New Orleans Christmas - New Orleans Playground
+ PETER BROTZMANN / MARINO PLIAKAS / MICHAEL WERTMULLER - Full Blast
+ CERRONE - Love in C Minor - Supernature 3
+ OREN AMBARCHI / KEITH ROWE - Squire / OREN AMBARCHI - Suspension
+ ZAVOLOKA VS. KOTRA - To Kill The Tiny Groovy Cat
+ VARIOUS ARTISTS - Strange Country
+ MY CAT IS AN ALIEN - The Cosmological Eye Trilogy / MY CAT IS AN ALIEN / GLANDS OF EXTERNAL SECRETION + NELS CLINE - From The Earth to the Spheres, Vol. 6 / MY CAT IS AN ALIEN / TEXT OF LIGHT - Cosmic Debris, Vol. 1 / MY CAT IS AN ALIEN - Greetings from the Great Void / MY CAT IS AN ALIEN - Il Suono Venuto Dallo Spazio / PAINTING PETALS ON PLANET GHOST - Painting Petals on Planet Ghost / PRAXINOSCOPE - Epocsonixarp
+ ERNST REIJSEGER - Requiem for a Dying Planet
+ MUHAL RICHARD ABRAMS / GEORGE LEWIS / ROSCOE MITCHELL - Streaming
+ HENRY COW - Concerts
+ BassDrumBone - The Line Up / ROSWELL RUDD / MARK DRESSER - Airwalkers
+ JUNIOR BOYS - So This is Goodbye
+ VARIOUS ARTISTS - Blueprints
+ SUN RA - Concert for the Comet Kohoutek
+ BOB FOX - The Blast
+ BIRCH BOOK - Fortune & Folly, Vol. II
+ VARIOUS ARTISTS - Sunday Afternoon at Dingwalls
+ SECRET MOMMY - Plays / WINNING - This is an Ad for Cigarettes

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WYWIADY / RELACJE

+ Energia i szczerość - rozmowa z wokalistą grupy Apatia - Tomkiem Matysiakiem
+ Niebo z błota - rozmowa z Jackiem Langiem, wokalistą i gitarzystą zespołu One Million Bulgarians
+ Czujemy się wolni - wywiad z basistą grupy Proletaryat - Dariuszem "Kacprem" Kacprzakiem