Floating World Live
Recorded live January 29, 1975 by Radio Bremen
(audio clips available)
USA street date: March 21, 2006
(MoonJune Records, distributed by City Hall Records)
Japan street date: March 22, 2006 (Strange Days records, dist. Universal Records Japan)
Allan Holdsworth: electric guitar, violin
Mike Ratledge: Lowrey Organ, Fender Rhodes, synthesizers
Karl Jenkins: oboe, soprano sax, recorder, electric & acoustic piano
Roy Babbington: electric bass guitar
John Marshall: drums, percussion
1. The Floating World 4:52
2. Bundles 4:53
3. Land Of The Bag Snake 5:07
4. Ealing Comedy 6:08
5. The Man Who Waved At Trains 4:56
6. Peff 6:29
7. North Point 4:05
8. Hazard Profile, Part One 4:49
9. J.S.M. 10:13
10. Riff III 8:42
11. Song Of Aelous 4:16
12. Endgame 6:39
13. Penny Hitch (Coda) 2:40
This CD marks the first release of a live performance by Soft Machine's Bundles line-up featuring Allan Holdsworth on guitar. This concert, recorded for Radio Bremen in January 1975, consists of most of the Bundles material, which hadn't yet come out although in the can since the previous summer, plus a couple of band improvs and solo showcases for Mike Ratledge, Roy Babbington and John Marshall. That era of Soft Machine was unique in that, taking the band's long established tradition of continuous change to an extreme, when Holdsworth joined all the previous repertoire was abandoned, literally at once, in favour of brand new material written by Karl Jenkins and, to a lesser extent, Mike Ratledge. This made the new Soft Machine even more difficult to compare with its predecessors, and gave the band a well-deserved chance for critical reappraisal. At long last, reviewers stopped bemoaning the loss of the band's father figures to judge the new line-up on its own merits. As a consequence, positive reviews again began to pour in, and 1974-75 was to prove Soft Machine's second golden age in many respects.
By the release of Bundles in 1975, Mike Ratledge was Soft Machine's only original member. With relative newcomer Karl Jenkins' with his increasingly dominant compositional role, there was little tying them to the classic line-up that released albums like Third. But it was guitarist Allan Holdsworth, appearing virtually out of nowhere with a revolutionary melodic and harmonic approach--who placed this Softs incarnation on equal footing with earlier line-ups. Recorded for German Radio Bremen months before Bundles was released, Floating World Live is a powerful live performance that, despite Holdsworth's dominating presence, provides plenty of space for all - proof that they were far looser and interactive in concert than Bundles suggests. An exciting 75-minute set, Floating World Live demonstrates just how well-formed Holdsworth was this early in his career, and proves that critics writing this incarnation off as nothing more than riff-heavy fusion couldn't be more mistaken."
~JOHN KELMAN (Senior Editor AllAboutJazz.com)
Classic Allan Holdsworth, in one of his best ever performances ever, monster bass and fuzz-bass lines by Roy Babbington, psycho analog synths and an incredible polyrhythmic drumming by John Marshall! Think of a jazz-rock jam band excuting killer riffs, atop attractive Canterbury-style overtones...Soft Machine fans will rejoice!
~GLENN ASTARITA (contributor to Downbeat, Radio Direct X, AllAboutJazz.com & E-Jazz Times)
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