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Matching Mole - Smoke Signals CD (album) cover

SMOKE SIGNALS

Matching Mole

 

Canterbury Scene

3.16 | 25 ratings

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Alucard
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars 'Smoke Signals' was recorded in spring 1972 during an European tour mainly in Belgium and France. As these tapes were not planned for release the sound quality is just acceptable. A good idea so to re-create the original track order of the concerts with different sources.

'Smoke Signals' is an interesting document, because 'Matching Mole' just elaborated from a backing band for Robert Wyatt,(more or less imposed by CBS) and who had only played on one half of the first record to a real band. Most tracks appearing here were written by Dave Mc Rae and Phil Miller and would be recorded later for 'The Little Red Record'. Dave Sinclair who started the tournee with the band had left and was replaced by keyboarder Dave Mc Rae who had already guested on the first record and brought with him some fine tunes like 'March Ides' and 'Smoke Signal' presented here for the first time in a rough version.

After a band introduction by Robert the band launches into 'March Ides'.The theme is played by Phil Miller, who is soloing then over an ostinato bass line, followed by a drum solo. The second theme is 'Smoke Signal' (here re-named 'Smoke Rings), maybe the most beautiful 'Matching Mole' theme by Dave Mc Rae. The theme is then followed by a longer improvisation until the re-exposure.

The next theme 'Nan's True Hole' was written by Phil Miller, who plays an repeated riff over which Dave Mc Rae plays an improvisation followed by another drum solo. 'Brandy As In Benji' follows the same structure of expostion solo, followed by a heavily distorted e-piano solo, that launches again into the 'March Ides' theme, followed by 'Instant Pussy' the only Robert Wyatt composition from the first record, with treated vocals by Robert and an e-piano improvisation.

The 'Smoke Signal' appears again, followed by another improvisation and a bass solo and finally the band launches into 'Lything and gracing' a Phil Miller composition, that would appear only as a Hatfield leftover on 'Afters'.

A part from the fact, that the sound is not brillant the tapes miss the 'funny' side of the band and especially the Robert Wyatt lyrics, leaving a jazz rock outfit, that improvises mainly over an ostinato bass line and sometimes in a not very inspired way as on 'Lything and Gracing' which is utterly boring.Still an interesting document in the history of Matching Mole, but not recommended as a starter.

Alucard | 3/5 |

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