Soft Machine -
Høvikodden 1971

(CD 2024, 2:59:04, Cuneiform Records)

The tracks:
  1- Facelift [Feb 27, 1971 - First Set](11:57)
  2- Virtually [Feb 27, 1971 - First Set](11:47)
  3- Slightly All The Time [Feb 27, 1971 - First Set](9:26)
  4- Fletcher's Blemish [Feb 27, 1971 - First Set](6:43)
  5- Neo-Caliban Grides [Feb 27, 1971 - Second Set](9:05)
  6- Out-Bloody-Rageous [Feb 27, 1971 - Second Set](9:56)
  7- Vocal Improvisation [Feb 27, 1971 - Second Set](4:18)
  8- Eamonn Andrews [Feb 27, 1971 - Second Set](1:11)
  9- All White [Feb 27, 1971 - Second Set](2:40)
10- Kings And Queens [Feb 27, 1971 - Second Set](6:17)
11- Teeth [Feb 27, 1971 - Second Set](8:59)
12- Pigling Bland [Feb 27, 1971 - Second Set](4:31)
13- Facelift [Feb 28, 1971 - First Set](10:06)
14- Virtually [Feb 28, 1971 - First Set](10:11)
15- Slightly All The Time [Feb 28, 1971 - First Set](9:43)
16- Fletcher's Blemish [Feb 28, 1971 - First Set](7:59)
17- Neo-Caliban Grides [Feb 28, 1971 - Second Set](8:02)
18- Out-Bloody-Rageous [Feb 28, 1971 - Second Set](8:43)
19- Vocal Improvisation [Feb 28, 1971 - Second Set](4:56)
20- Eamonn Andrews [Feb 28, 1971 - Second Set](1:08)
21- All White [Feb 28, 1971 - Second Set](2:38)
22- Kings And Queens [Feb 28, 1971 - Second Set](6:08)
23- Teeth [Feb 28, 1971 - Second Set](11:09)
24- Pigling Bland [Feb 28, 1971 - Second Set](4:38)
25- Slightly All the Time [Encore] [Feb 28, 1971 - Second Set](6:53)

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What a special album this is! Soft Machine live in Norway. The band performed two concerts at the Henie-Onstad Art Center near Oslo, Norway, on February 27 and 28, 1971, as part of a Boyle family exhibit. Mark Boyle's films were projected during the performances.
But more important than that, both concerts were recorded by sound engineer Meny Bloch with a Studer A62 2-track recorder linked to the mixing desk and two Neumann microphones.

Soft Machine, founded in 1966, consisted at that time of Elton Dean: alto sax, saxello, Hohner pianet, Hugh Hopper: bass, Mike Ratledge: Hohner pianet, Lowrey Holiday Deluxe organ, Fender Rhodes and the inimitable Robert Wyatt: drums, vocals. The recordings are extra special because Robert Wyatt would leave the band shortly afterwards to start Matching Mole. The majority of these concerts consist of work from Third, Soft Machine's signature album and some material from Fourth. Although some songs can be heard twice, that is no problem. The band improvises wonderfully within the framework. Ratledge's characteristic playing on his Lowrey Holiday Deluxe organ, with fuzz pedal plugged into a Marshall stack, is beautiful. Bassist Hugh Hopper is fantastic and Robert Wyatt proves once again what a great drummer he was. Elton Dean had just joined the band as a permanent member and his saxello sound is unique. The tapes of the concerts were found in the museum's library and mixed and mastered by Ian Beabout. The sound quality is surprisingly good! Høvikodden 1971 contains 28 songs, with, as mentioned, a number of duplications. Although: the song Teeth lasts 9 minutes in the first concert and 11 minutes in the second. There's no point in describing all the songs. The band plays everything almost in one go. If you are a fan of the Canterbury scene and Soft Machine, like me, then this album is three hours (yes, THREE hours) of listening pleasure!!

*** Arne van Os van den Abeelen (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)

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