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Floating World Live by Soft Machine

This newly released live date culled from Germany’s Radio Bremen archives marked a nexus of sorts for the now historic band. Complete with reflective iterations by some of the musicians, these often-rousing works, feature material culled from the unit’s 1974 LP titled "Bundles."

Guitar god, Allan Holdsworth, is at the top of his game here to complement the largely, turbo-charged rhythmic endeavors set forth by drumming great John Marshall and bassist Roy Babbington. (On a side-note, Marshall is the drummer for the actively touring/recording ensemble known as Soft Machine Legacy.) Otherwise, Holdsworth’s patented legato lines, diminutive phrasings; gushing with tremolo techniques and lightning fast single note lines, accelerate the musicians’ high-impact mindset. With Roy Babbington’s fuzzed-out bass maneuvers and a stunning, polyrhythmic extended solo by Marshall, these live performances also highlight the ensemble’s melodic proclivities.

Holdsworth switch-hits by rendering a sonorous violin solo during the minor-classic" The Man Who Waved at Trains," segueing into the hard-hitting jazz-rock groove witnessed on "PEFF." And while keyboardist Mike Ratledge’s chunky, analogue synth solo spot on "North Point" might seem a bit dated, it does conjure up fond memories of a bygone electronics era, where digital technology now rules the roost. With the piece titled "Endgame," Holdsworth jettison’s into a whirling-dervish like frenzy, to complement fluid support here and throughout by multi-instrumentalist Karl Jenkins. To that end, it’s a worthy reissue and should be viewed upon as an essential acquisition for the group’s ardent admirers and for the younger jazz-rock/fusion dilettantes.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Soft Machine
  • CD Title: Floating World Live
  • Genre: Fusion
  • Year Released: 2006
  • Record Label: Moonjune Records
  • Musicians: Mike Ratledge (Lowrey organ, electric piano, synthesizers), Karl Jenkins (oboe, soprano sax, recorder, electric piano, acoustic piano), John Marshall (drums, percussion), Allan Holdsworth (electric guitar, violin), Roy Babbington (bass guitar)
  • Rating: Four Stars
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