Click on the link here for Audio Player – Soft Machine – Paris Sessions (TV) – 1967-1968 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection
I’ve posted several items on this band over the past few years. They have never grown old. Soft Machine were the product of adventuresome, pioneering times. They were the forerunners of the Progressive Movement, and in their later incarnation, became one of the celebrated Jazz-Fusion groups of the 1970s.
This early incarnation of Soft Machine has always been pivotal, as far as I’m concerned. You really couldn’t characterize them as a rock band – they were all over the place musically. Just the number of time changes they would go through in the course of one song was indication enough their mission was one of experimenting and exploring.
They came to prominence in 1968 when they signed on as opening act for Jimi Hendrix during his U.S. tour. Hendrix was wildly impressed with the band and had the feeling American audiences would be too. Maybe not as enthusiastically received as they should have been, they nonetheless made an enormous impression on a number of musicians as well as the Press. And from that point on, they were a band to be watched and studied.
Tonight’s post is actually two sets of clips, originally done for French TV from 1967 and 1968, and it features Soft Machine in a live setting and at their free-form best. The sound is a little sticky in places, mostly via the mix, which keeps losing the vocal mikes at all the wrong times and fluctuating levels between the instruments. I’ve tried to iron out the rough spots as best as I could. It may take a little getting used to. But believe me, hearing this version of Soft Machine gives ample evidence of the undeniable talent shared between three musicians who were all experimenting in new territories. And making their mark as the result.
Adjust the volume at your discretion. I promise better sounding examples in the future. They’re worth it.