Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Genres: Jazz, Special Interest, Pop, Rock, Classic Rock
Listen to Samples
Dated sounding demo tapes
kireviewer | Sunnyvale, Ca United States | 08/13/2004
(2 out of 5 stars)
"These are demo tapes recorded in 1967, a year before Soft Machine's first album was released. The CD is only 30 minutes long and consists of 9 tracks. The sound quality is fair to poor. It does not have a wide dynamic range, the upper end is fuzzy, and there is a hiss. Jet-Propelled Photographics has been released several different times and used to come with a different cover. This same music is also released on a CD with a different cover and has been called Dressed To Kill and At The Beginning.
Soft Machine on this album consists of Daevid Allen (Gong), Kevin Ayres, Mike Ratledge and Robert Wyatt. Ayres and Allen would leave the group before the first album was recorded.
This is quite a bit different than anything Soft Machine would end up doing. It is kind of the pop-psychodelic music of the times. For the most part, these are short 2 to 3 minute songs. It sounds like any of the British hippy, pop-psycholodelic music of the times. Much of the music (especially the organ) sounds just like the generic rock music that was used in bar and disco scenes in bad movies during the sixties.
There are 3 tracks that are fairly interesting. I Should Have Known is stretched out to 7 minutes and does have some nice guitar and organ work. Some of the songs on this disc seem very familiar to me. I am sure that they have been reworked and reused on other projects by the group members.
I don't know why people always go nuts over early demo material and give it rave reviews. It is interesting to hear the origins of a band. But, it isn't the best thing a band does, the sound quality is ussually bad, the tracks are incomplete and it usually isn't worth hearing more than once. And usually, the band hasn't hit it's peak yet.
Soft Machine started out as the Daevid Allen Trio, with Allen, Wyatt, Ratledge and Hugh Hopper. Allen read his poetry while the rest played free form jazz (a CD of the group is due out soon). They broke up for a while, when Wyatt and Hopper formed the Wilde Flowers. They got back together (with Ayres in place of Hopper) and toured. They were the opening act for Jimi Hendrix at one time, and Hendrix's manager recorded this demo tape. Allen later got stuck in France because of visa problems (he is Australian) and Ayres left the group. Ratledge and Wyatt made the first Soft Machine album and Hopper rejoined the band after that.