After leaving Soft Machine, drummer/singer Robert Wyatt formed a new band: Matching Mole (1971). His departure came not completely as a surprise; Robert’s voice was less and less heard, live as well as on records. And after “Third” it even completely vanished. Further more Soft Machine took a more jazzy direction and left rock behind. Their music pieces became longer and more complex and Robert felt uncomfortable, as drummer and as a person, and that in his own band.
In April, the tension raised that high that Robert mentioned that he better could play in another band. That was the trigger for the other members to throw him out. It didn’t happen in a nice and friendly way, and it troubled Robert for years. Maybe that’s why he picked the name “Matching Mole” for his new band. It’s a free interpretation of the French words “Machine Môle” which means Soft Machine (or, to be more precise: Weak Machine).
Although Matching Mole existed for only one year, two albums were released during it's existense. The Mole's sound is jazzier than you would expect. There is enough space for improvisations and, most of all, it’s more relaxed and sometimes even funnier than the Soft Machine sound. The first album is simply called Matching Mole. The recording of it took place in December 1971 and January 1972. Actually it was supposed to be a solo project, but during recordings the musicians grew more and more into a group like behaviour. That group on these recording sessions was: David Sinclair (piano, organ); Phil Miller (guitar); Bill MacCormick (bass) and of course Robert Wyatt (mellotron, piano, drums, vocals).
Special guest star was Dave McCrae on electric piano. One of the tracks was called “Dedicated to Hugh but you weren’t listening”. It is a bit of a cynical revision of “Dedicated to you but you weren’t listening”, an old Soft Machine number written by Hugh Hopper.
After the release of the record, the band toured through Europe. At the end of the tour David left the group and was replaced by Dave.
A new tour followed, more extensive this time. Due to all concerts, the band members got more comfortable with each other. That’s why they dared to loosen their musical structures more and more and dive into more experimental music.
During the summer of 1972 Matching Mole recorded thit's second album: Little Red Record. Special guest this time is Brian Eno. The album is produced by another phenomenal musician: Robert Fripp (known from King Crimson). Little Red Record is a sultry album, full of Fender Rhodes piano solo’s and Robert’s voice singing improvised lyrics with some sexual insinuations in certain spots. Also, there is a magnificent piece, sung by Robert, accompanied by acoustic guitar: “God Song”. Soon after this record was  released Robert stated that he no longer could or would be the leader of the band. Saying that it was clear he terminated his second band. After a while he started a new and successful solo career. In 1994 BBC released a series of recordings of Matching Mole on cd, It included a short concert (27 minutes) of the Mole from July 1972. Short, but worth listening to.
In 2001 and 2002 Cuneiform Records released two more discs: “Smoke Signals” and “March”. On Smoke Signals various live recordings. are to be heard The songs are placed in such way that it gives a good impression of how the band could have sounded in the beginning of the seventies.
The former band members were very pleased with Smoe Signals. And after the discovery of more material Cuneiform released a second disc: March, containing live-recordings from March 1972.
The two 'new'  cd’s clearly shows a band playing their music different every time. Because of that, these live recordings are maybe even more interesting and more intense than the studio-recordings.
Most remarkable in the short history of Matching Mole is the fact that Robert “left” the Soft Machine, because he wished to play simple music and could sing again and ended up with a band that played in a fairly free and jazzy style with rather long pieces and often no room for vocals. Anyway, Matching Mole is without doubt worth listening to.

Phil, Dave, Robert, Bill







 

   
Matching Mole (1972)

Original version:
1. O Caroline
2. Instant Pussy
3. Signed Curtain
4. Part of the Dance
5. Instant Kitten
6. Dedicated to Hugh, But You Weren't Listening
7. Beer as in Braindeer
8. Immediate Curtain

2012 Remastered Esoteric release:
1-8 as shown above
Plus bonus tracks:
9. O Caroline (single version)
10. Signed Curtain (single version)
11. Part of the Dance Jam
DISC TWO:
1. Signed Curtain (take two)
2. Memories Membrane
3. Part of the Dance (take one)
4. Horse
5. Immediate Kitten (same as On the Radio)
6. Marchides/Instant Pussy/Smoke Signal (same as On the Radio)



this original postcard from 1948 was the inspiration for the sleeve of Little Red Record
Little Red Record (1972)

Original version:
1. Starting in the Middle of the Day We Can Drink Our Politics Away
2. Marchides
3. Nan True's Hole
4. Righteous Rhumba
5. Brandy is in Benj
6. Gloria Gloom
7. God Song
8. Flora Fidgit
9. Smoke Signal

2012 Remastered Esoteric release:
1-9 as shown above
Plus bonus tracks on DISC TWO
1. Instant Pussy (same as BBC Radio 1)
2. Litheing and Graceing (BBC Radio 1)
3. Marchides (BBC Radio 1)
4. Part of the Dance (BBC Radio 1)
5. Brandy is in Benj (BBC Radio 1)
and also:
6. Starting in the Middle of the Day We Can Drink Our Politics Away (take one)
7. Smoke Signal (take four)
8. Flora Fidget (take eight)
9. Mutter



BBC Radio 1 - Live (1994)

1. Instant Pussy
2. Litheing and Graceing
3. Marchides
4. Part of the Dance
5. Brandy is in Benj
Smoke Signals (2001)

1. Intro
2. March Ides I
3. Smoke Rings
4. Nan True's Hole
5. Brandy is in Benj
6. Electric Piano Solo
7. March Ides II
8. Instant Pussy
9. Smoke Signal
10. Lything & Gracing
March (2002)

1. March
2. Instant Pussy
3. Smoke Signals
4. Part of the Dance
5. No 'alf Measures
6. Lything & Gracing
7. Waterloo Lily
On the Radio (2006)

1. Marchides / Instant Pussy / Smoke Signal
     (John Peel Session recorded 17.04.1972)
2. Part Of The Dance
     CJohn Peel Session recorded 17.01.1972)
3. No 'alf Measures
4. Lithing And Gracing
     CJohn Peel Session recorded 06.03.1972)
5. Immediate Kitten
     (John Peel Session recorded 17.01.1972)
6. Instant Pussy
7. Lithing And Gracing
8. Marchides
9. Part Of The Dance
10. Brandy As In Benj
      (BBC Radio 1 Live In Concert 27.07.1972)

Tracks 6-10 are the same as the BBC radio 1 live- sessions.  Tracks 1 en 4 are from Smoke Signals and track 3 comes from the Robert Wyatt compilation: Flotsam & Jetsam. Tracks 2 and 5 are new, with recordings of the first band with David Sinclair on organ and special guest star Dave MacRea on piano. Immediate Kitten is a combination of  Instant Kitten and Dedicated To Hugh...

About On the Radio (from Hux Records-site):

Robert Wyatt formed Matching Mole in 1972, shortly after he left Soft Machine and just before launching his solo career. Matching Mole bore some similarities to his later work with Soft Machine. In fact, Wyatt came up with the name 'Matching Mole' as a subtle pun on the French translation of 'Soft Machine' - 'machine molle'.

Matching Mole released two great albums in 1972, before Wyatt disbanded the group and set out as a solo artist. But it is this Hux compilation which Wyatt now describes as the definitive Matching Mole album.

'On The Radio' is a compilation of rare BBC recordings, including 3 John Peel studio sessions and a live concert. The band includes Dave Sinclair (ex Caravan) on tracks 2 & 5, Phil Miller (Hatfield & The North and National Health), Bill MacCormick and Dave MacRae

This special 'digi-pack' format features an original cover photograph by Robert Wyatt, who also compiled the running order. The accompanying 12 page CD booklet features extensive liner notes by Matching Mole bassist, Bill MacCormick, plus rare period photo's and comprehensive recording details.

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