Soft Machine

BBC Radio 1 Live, Vol. 2

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By the time that the Soft Machine had gathered for these BBC Radio 1 live sessions, the membership had once again been altered. Featured on these recordings are founders Hugh Hopper (bass) and Mike Ratledge (keyboards) with relative newcomers John Marshall (drums) and, from Nucleus, Karl Jenkins (sax/keyboards), the latter two effectively replacing Phil Howard (drums) and Elton Dean (sax). The tunes on this follow-up to BBC Radio 1 (1993) were originally documented in July and October of 1972, respectively, and have circulated under a variety of incorrect dates and locations. This confusion may have first arisen as both have been edited and rebroadcast in a number of configurations. One factor making this particular group interesting is hearing the shift between this band and the Allan Holdsworth lineup that would gather for Bundles (1975) a few years later. While the vast majority of the material comes from Fifth (1972) and the studio/live mélange on Six (1973), the quartet reaches back for a significantly amended rendering of "Slightly All the Time" circa Third (1970). The double keyboards of Ratledge and Jenkins work well on "Riff," without cluttering the already ample arrangement. Completists and hardcore fans will probably get more out of this set than the average listener, and as it is not really representative of the band's sound or key personnel, it is not recommended as an essential entry.

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