1. Moon In June
  2. I Should've Known
  3. A Certain Kind
  4. Save Yourself
  5. Lullaby Letter
  6. Organistics *
  7. Lullaby Letter/Priscilla/Lullaby Letter
  8. We Did it Again
  9. Why are we Sleeping?
10. Joy of a Toy
11. Hope for Happiness
12. Clarence in Wonderland
13. Moon in June
14. Esther Nose Job

* Organistics is the same as Disorgisation (as on Middle Earth Masters)

Recorded: tracks 1-5 - at the Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, Netherlands, December, 10th 1967; track 6 at Middle Earth, London, November 10th, 1967; tracks 7-14 at Col Ballroom, Davenport, Iowa, Usa, August, 11th 1968
Released: 2001

Robert Wyatt: drums, voice
Mike Ratledge: organ, piano.
Kevin Ayers: bass, guitar, voice

Volume One & Two on a two-cd set; slightly improved sound and booklet (Retroworld, 2014)

kevin with shades and robert without shirt

This album is a continuation of Soft Machine Turns On Volume 1.  As the year 1967 progressed so did the musical exposure of Soft Machine and their shows incorporated full audio visual experiences of the time to include light displays. It is these shows from which the tracks on volume 2 are taken.
The songs incorporate the works of Kevin Ayers, Hugh and Brian Hopper and there are pieces by Mike Ratledge and Robert Wyatt which would later flourish into extended suites and form the backbone of their live recordings and concerts.
During 1967, Australian Daevid Allen was forced to leave the band due to an expired passport but he was later to form Gong. Soft Machine continued as a trio until Andy Summers joined them as guitarist for the American tour in 1968 where the band were the support for Jimi Hendrix. It was after this tour that Hugh Hopper rejoined the band with Kevin leaving, and Soft Machine then entered it's classic phase.
This album captures Soft Machine prior to its classic period with a distinctive style created by Robert Wyatt and Kevin Ayers from the Wilde Flowers along with Daevid Allen and Mike Ratledge. The band indulged in considerable improvisation with long continuous sets sometimes ear splittingly loud. Some brilliant tracks with stylish artwork which will be a must for followers of the Canterbury Music Scene.

* text from former Voiceprint website
Soft Machine Turns On, Volume Two, takes off were Volume One ended. The first five tracks were recorded at the famous Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. The Netherlands always were a good place for new music, it still is and the free thinking youth embraced Soft Machine at once. But, although the booklet mentions the Concertgebouw, it sounds as if the recordings have been made in a cellar box. Maybe it would a nice project to have this concert digitalized and treated with ‘sonic solutions’? As with Volume One, this is far fans only, but you have to be more than a fan to like this set. Strange is the intermezzo with yet another track from Middle Earth. Why isn’t it on Volume One? And also: why another name: ‘Organistics’ is the same track as Disorgisation on the Middle Earth Masters. Who gives those names? I don’t think the musicians give them themselves. Somewhere in 1968 the Soft Machine toured the USA once again. On the program old and newer tracks, like ‘Moon in June’ and ‘Esther’s Nose Job’. It is nice to hear them, although you have to listen very carefully because, once again, this concert session is recorded with very cheap recording equipment. I hear lots of surrounding noises from the public and the band seems to be far, far away. Another one for Sonic solutions’. After the tour, Soft Machine was disbanded, frustrated, disappointed. Mike went back to England and was ready to stop with music at all, Kevin went to Mallorca, searching for peace and other more friendly things and Robert stayed in the USA, trying to find out what to do. What he did find was released in 2013 on the cd ‘Robert Wyatt ‘68’; as we know now, it was another important step for the future of Soft Machine. Turns On, Volume Two, has more to offer than Volume One, even now the disc has more new material which still isn’t released elsewhere. That’s good to know, only the sound quality is even worse than its predecessor. One more thing I have to nag about; the cover is the same as the cover for Volume One. Nice in a kind of series, but very wrong considering the band which plays on the disc. Daevid Allen shouldn’t be on the cover. It would have been more accurate to have a more recent picture of the trio(!) with Mike, Robert and Kevin on front. So far for music industry. Thanks folks!

Paul Lemmens © 2014