Soft Machine's great couple of studio LPs and their live album for Harvest Records – Bundles, Softs and Alive & Well Recorded In Paris – a nice little 3CD box set! Bundles is the first non-numbered Soft Machine LP, and a record that finds the group moving into electric Miles influenced jazz rock, perhaps more profoundly than ever before. Really cool stuff
, especially if you like some electric jazz grooving in your space rock! Allan Holdsworth's guitar is dizzying, with Karl Jenkin's piano and disparate other instrumentation (oboe & soprano sax) holding together a set that he composed much of, plus Mike Rattledge's keys and synths adding spacey touches. Includes Hazard (Pts 1-5), "Gone Sailing", "Bundles", "The Floating World", "Four Gong
s Two Drums" and more. Softs has a moody, melodic keyboard, synth & piano led sound – a '76 effort from a period with Karl Jenkins was largely at the wheel! Jenkins composed most of the material, and his piano, electric keys, string and Mini Moog are prominent features – but Soft Machine still brings the spacey rock, with heavy drums, bass grooves and unhinged guitar solos. Titles include "Aubade", "Tale Of The Taliesin", "Song Of Aeolus", "Second Bundle", "Nexus", "One Over The Eight", "Etika" and more. Last up is a live set recorded in Paris in 1977 – with the period Soft Machine players including John Marshall on drums and percussion, Karl Jenkins on piano and keyboards, John Etheridge on guitars, Rick Sanders on violin, and Steve Cook on bass bring doing their inimitable thing on "The Nodder", "White Kite", "Eos", "Odds Bullets & Blades", and "Song Of The Sunbird" and more.