• soft machine Bundles (LP, £14.50)

    label: Cherry Red Phonograph

    Originally released in 1975, Bundles marked a turning point for the band, not marked by the fact that this album was the first to have an actual title, instead of just a number. This would also be the last album to feature the brilliant keyboard playing of Mike Ratledge, the last surviving member of the original 1963 Wyatt-Allen-Ayers lineup, but whose playing here takes a back seat to the prominent role played by brand new guitarist (and another ex-Nucleus member) Allan Holdsworth. Holdsworth’s hardworking guitar style breathes new life into the band after the relatively weary sounding Seven. Although much of what came after Fourth has been dismissed as past-prime by many fans, Bundles is that one bright star on the post-Wyatt horizon, and along with absolutely brilliant musicianship all around this is some of the best fusion jazz to be found from that or any other period. Tracks: Side A: 1. Hazard Profile Part One 2. Part Two (Toccatina) 3. Part Three 4. Part Four 5. Part Five 6. Gone Sailing Side B: 1. Bundles 2. Land Of The Bag Snake 3. The Man Who Waved At Trains 4. Peff 5. Four Gongs Two Drums 6. The Floating World


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