When they started out in the mid ‘60s, Soft Machine were one of the most important bands from England. Mixing jazz and rock to great effect, the Softs were at their zenith on their now fabled first two albums, especially the 1968 release of Soft Machine Volume 2. By 1970, group founders Robert Wyatt, bass great Hugh Hopper, and keyboardist Mike Ratledge were joined by horn man, the late Elton Dean and any earlier rock inclinations were repaved with a more avant-garde jazz edge. Released in 2007, Cuneiform’s double disc Grides CD/DVD set pairs a full-length live show in Holland from 1970 with a 20 minute DVD recorded by a Radio Bremen’s multi-camera crew in 1971. The last time Wyatt would be in the drummers seat, just before a near fatal fall left him in a wheelchair, Grides is a fine showcase for a band that paved many musical roads for a generation of younger bands to follow. Packed with a booklet filled with new liner notes and period piece photos, Grides is Cuneiform’s latest archival release from Soft Machine, and follows earlier Softs titles and reissues from Wyatt, Hugh Hopper, Elton Dean and fellow guitarist Phil Miller.


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