BREDA REACTOR

CD 1
  1. Eamonn Andrews
  2. Mousetrap
  3. Noisette
  4. Backwards
  5. Mousetrap (reprise)
  6. Hibou Anemone & Bear
CD 2
  1. Facelift
  2. Moon In June
  3. 12/8 Theme
  4. Drum Link
  5. Esther's Nose Job
  6. Pigling Bland
  7. Cymbalism
  8. Out-Bloody-Rageous (excerpt)
  9. Esther's Nose Job (reprise)
10. We Did It Again

Recorded: January, 31st, 1970 at Het Turfschip, Breda, the Netherlands
Released: 2004

Lyn Dobson: tenor & soprano sax, flute, harmonica and voice
Elton Dean: alto sax, saxello
Mike Ratledge: electric piano, organ
Hugh Hopper: bass guitar
Robert Wyatt: drums, voice


Live at Het Turfschip, Netherlands, 31 January 1970
lp-version (Vinyl Lovers, 2012)
once again a wrong band on the cover


soft machine with elton and lyn

The recording captured on this album comes from a very important and yet brief time in the history of the band. The recording features the short-lived quintet line up of Soft Machine, which consisted of Robert Wyatt, Mike Ratledge, Hugh Hopper, Elton Dean and Lyn Dobson. The concert took place at 'Het Turfschip' a venue in the town of Breda in the Netherlands.
The concert as well as being an interesting one with regards the line up. Is also interesting for the arrangements of some of the key Soft Machine pieces that are different due to the interaction between the five individuals.
Although only a brief interlude in the life of this very innovative band, we are fortunate to have a good example of what in retrospect was a transitory phase, but nevertheless an important part of Soft Machine’s evolution.
As with other recent Soft Machine live recordings for Voiceprint this album has been re-mastered for release by Brian Hopper who himself was briefly a member of Soft Machine and along with brother Hugh Hopper was a founder of the legendary Canterbury band the Wilde Flowers from which Soft Machine originally sprang.
This double album also contains extensive sleeve notes written by Brian on the recording of this live album from one of the Canterbury Scene's major artists.

* text from previous Voiceprint site
The cd ‘Noisette’ was announced as the only one with the quintet version of Soft Machine. Lost tapes and all that stuff. Big Surprise! Only four years later another set was released, even a double one! The set, live in Breda, the Netherlands, was recorded twenty-seven days later than the concert which was released on Noisette. In the liner notes Brian Hopper even mentions the fact that the quintet existed for just three months. In that short period of time we now have two concerts of that special band. The first nine tracks are in the same sequence, but before the end-tune ‘We Did it Again’ is played, four other compositions are squeezed in: Pigling Bland, Cymbalism, Out-Bloody-Rageous and Esther’s Nose Job – reprise. The first disc is just thirty-three minutes long and starts with Eamonn Andrews. This version differs from the Eamonn on Noisette; Lyn plays flute and Hugh has his evening and throws in his roaring fuzz-bass sound all around. Halfway, both woodwind players play solo-parts and some electronics like the wah-wah pedal. It is not easy to hear what exactly happens, but it sounds like it. Mousetrap is played with harsh dynamics and Hugh continues to use his extreme fuzz and yes, there is that wah-wah saxophone sound again. These live tracks are much more vivid than the often softened and cleaner studio tracks. This is the real stuff. Soft Machine always played very, very loud and all musicians in the band wear earplugs. It wasn’t easy to get the sound balance right as the woodwinds had to be amplified as well. They used ‘the Bug’ (as pictured on the back of the booklet), but the bug did what it had to do (considering the name and the meaning ‘bugs’ nowadays have): it caused a lot of trouble. Very often the live-sound was rather rough. Almost unbelievable is the sound on this set and even more if you know it has been recorded with some primitive equipment. In Backwards Lyn plays flute again, it is almost familiar now. Another surprise: Robert sings at the end of Hibou Anemone and Bear. It sure was a fine first half of the concert; time for intermission. The second set clocks around fifty-five minutes. A long version of Facelift is performed with organ, flute - with and without overblowing and singing in it like Roland Kirk - and alto sax solo. Moon in June is now degenerated into a long organ solo, no vocals anymore, not even the scat singing in the end. 12/8 Theme was, as the band did in Croydon, also performed in Breda, with lots of wood wind soloing. Robert gives a small and sort of anti-drum-solo-demonstration before Esther can do her Nose, but this time Robert is singing; somewhere in the background, but still… New and unexpected is Pigling Bland, a composition which would appear two years later on ‘Fifth’. Cymbalism is a collage of sounds, singing, whistling and hitting cymbals; all drowned in echo; an experiment which leads into an early live version of Out-Bloody-Rageous, but with flutes and echo still going on. And then Esther returns once more to end the concert. As encore ‘We did it Again’ is performed, a bit like the Noisette-version, but very short this time, nevertheless the public went wild. Great show, I wish I could have been there at the famous Turfschip, but at that time I didn’t live in Breda yet (now I don’t again). I’m very happy with this concert and I couldn’t have imagined that we could have two quintet performances at all. But, hey.. they did it again!

Paul Lemmens © 2014