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Matching Mole

Canterbury Scene

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Matching Mole Matching Mole album cover
3.65 | 280 ratings | 35 reviews | 26% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1972

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. O Caroline (5:06)
2. Instant Pussy (2:59)
3. Signed Curtain (3:06)
4. Part Of The Dance (9:16)
5. Instant Kitten (4:58)
6. Dedicated To Hugh, But You Weren't Listening (4:39)
7. Beer As In Braindeer (4:02)
8. Immediate Curtain (5:57)

Total time 40:03

Bonus tracks on 2012 remaster:
9. O Caroline (Single Version) (3:33)
10. Signed Curtain (Single Edit) (3:05)
11. Part of the Dance Jam (20:57) *

Bonus CD from 2012 remaster:
1. Signed Curtain (Take 2) (5:32) *
2. Memories Membrane (11:16) *
3. Part Of The Dance (Take 1) (7:27) *
4. Horse (3:47) *
5. Intermediate Kitten (9:54) #
6. Marchides/Instant Pussy/Smoke Signal (19:36) #

Total time 57:32

* Recorded London, Dec 1971-Jan 1972, previously unreleased
# BBC Radio One "John Peel" sessions, 1972

Line-up / Musicians

- Robert Wyatt / vocals, drums, piano, Mellotron
- Phil Miller / guitar
- David Sinclair / Hammond organ, piano
- Bill MacCormick / bass

- Dave McRae / electric piano

Releases information

LP CBS ‎- 64850 (1972, UK)

CD BGO Records ‎- BGOCD175 (1993, UK) Remastered
2xCD Esoteric Recordings ‎- ECLEC 22311 (2012, UK) 24-bit remaster by Paschal Byrne with 3 bonus tracks plus extra disc

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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Buy MATCHING MOLE Matching Mole Music

MATCHING MOLE Matching Mole ratings distribution

(280 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(26%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(41%)
Good, but non-essential (26%)
Collectors/fans only (5%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

MATCHING MOLE Matching Mole reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
4 stars With his first solo album under his belt, Wyatt returned to Soft Machine, only to find that opposition to his vocal experiments had grown stronger than ever, and he left "this group that was making him so miserable", but this didn't mean that all links were severed. Actually he had grown frustrated at the other Machinists' persistence in ignoring his vocal and poppier musical preoccupations. So Wyatt proceeded to record another solo album, but his CBS label convinced him to form a band to promote the album instead. So the album that had startedc as poppy-vocal album ended up up a schizophrenic mix of solid JR/F and pop tunes.

Not only did Robert name his new band after his former group's French translation (Machine Mole >> hence Matching Mole), but the two groups spent much time touring together, the newcoming MM opening for the veteran SM. So Robert called up old Wylde Flower Dave Sinclair, Delivery's Phil Miller (brother of then-Caravan Steve Miller), and found Bill McCormick during a Quiet Sun eclipse and formed his "group", which only rehearsed three months before recording their debut album. About halfway through it became apparent that Sinclair wasn't going to stay in MM (partly on touring issues, but I suspect Wyatt's voracity in terms of writing credits as he signs all but one track), so the group added jazzman Dave McRae on electric piano, but supposedly as a guest. Indeed, lengend has it that the two keyboardists even played a few MM gigs together. Less than a month after the album's release, McRae became an official member, following Sinclair's departure.

Recorded around Christmas 71, MM's debut album is an uneven affair, with the record basically divided in three sections. The first section seems to elevate Wyatt as a superstar with his vocals brought to the fore, while the second movement is a wild fusion of jazz-rock and prog rock, and the third part being quite experimental. MM's debut couldn't have started worse off, with the atrocious O Caroline (based on journalist/activist Caroline XXX. This song is not only terrible (the only thing saving it is the interesting mellotron sprawled all over the song), but it also happens to have been the most covered one in Canterbury circles. But the bad start is immediately mended with the superb Instant Pussy where Wyatt orgasms into the microphone as if he was a woman, the whole thing over a tranquil bass line and a gentle jazz-rock rhythm. Segueing directly into Signed Curtain, Wyatt starts with his no nonsense "first verse and chorus" lyrics over a piano that Floyd's Rick Wright wouldn't disown. After the first three songs celebrating Wyatt's diverse fortunes as a singer, the albums veers (first gently with a soft electric piano) but less than a minute into Miller's Part Of The Dance, we are deeply in hard-driving uncompromising jazz-rock, the type that fries your brains when looking out for the sun. This track blazes and smokes all the way throughout its 9-mins+.

The flipside starts on two tracks that could've easily come from the better Caravan albums, and it's a bit surprising to find that Sinclair didn't write these two. Instant Kitten is a slow developing track that pays tribute to its sister Instant Pussy, but once the second part of the track has arrived., it sounds stunningly like a Caravan track looking for home (like G&P album). The next track, Dedicated To Hugh (after a Vol 2 SM track) starts on weird electronic noises "e tutti quanti" before returning to a Caravan sound (this time Waterloo Lily era), before veering completely insane RIO/improv. Beer As Braindeer is a cosmic theme in its middle section, but takes upon the RIO realm for the opening and losing parts. The latter Immediate Curtain is spooky cosmic track that resembles early Tangerine Dream.

MM's debut album is a bit of a confusing and uneven affair, but the qualities are so much grater than its flaws, that it cannot be anything else but an essential Canterbury sound, but I certainly wouldn't recommend any MM albums to a novice Canterbury pilgrim.

Review by diddy
4 stars After Robert Wyatt's antecedent band "SOFT MACHINE" got further and further into jazz there seemed to be no place for the drummer Wyatt any longer. He left "SOFT MACHINE" and set up his own Canterbury project in the end of 1971, called "MATCHING MOLE". His band mates, at least for the first, self titled album, used to be Dave Sinclair (CARAVAN) on Keyboards, Bill MacCormick (801, Brian Eno, Quiet Sun) on bass and Phil Miller (Delivery, National Health, Hafield & the North) on guitars. The cumulative canterbury expertise so to speak.

And everyone knowing Robert Wyatt knows what to expect from his projects: Pure Canterbury. Matching Mole is no exception, free-jazz like parts with expanded, quite complex jams and soloing, Wyatt's fragile and beautiful voice, colloquy like vocals as well as canterbury typical humor.

"O Caroline" is a beautiful lovesong written for Wyatt's girlfriend at that time, Caroline Coon. It always reminds me of "Sea Song" from his amazing solo release "Rock Bottom". One of the best songs to experience Wyatt's beautiful voice, which definitely needs getting used to though. The album consists of different, separated songs but nevertheless there seem to be smooth transitions. "Instand Pussy" features some onomatopoeia by Wyatt over jazzy rythms besides elegiac e piano chords. Seamlessly passing into "Signed Curtain" you can experience the mellow but humorous side of Canterbury. Nonsense lyrics describing the structure of the song e.g. "This is the first verse...and this is the corus or parhaps it's a bridge or just another part of this song that I'm singing..." "Part of the Dance" is a true highlight! Personally I think this one toghether with it's successional "Instant Kitten" is a kind of embodiment of canterbury. It features several complex jams and seems to be completely improvised, quite jazzy at times. The rest of the album turns out to be resembling, instrumental jams with extended solos, sophisticated drumming and "pearling" e piano. The last song "Immediate Courtain" features atmospherical mellotron soundscapes, actually it's a kind of longsome mellotron solo. A worthy punch line of a great album.

"Matching Mole" is a remarkable Canterbury album led by the icon of the scene. His Voice, only featured in the first half of the album, is distinctive, maybe for the whole genre...Besides his solo release "Rock Bottom" and SOFT MACHINE'S "Third" my favorite Wyatt related output. Everyone slightly interested in Canterbury should have listened to this one, highly recommended!

Review by Philo
3 stars Robert Wyatt fused his energy directly into a new act after his unceremonious sacking from the Soft Machine, the band he was a founding member of. Matching Mole is a curious album that allows Wyatt the freedom to sing his heart out about nothing, which to be fair is his idiosyncratic style and one loved by many. Wyatt teamed up with his fellow Canterbury riend and former Caravan member David Sinclair who provides keyboards, with Phil Miller on guitar and Bill MacCormick on bass. The album itself comes across as a leaderless show where the songs tend to run into semi jazz/avante garde/psyche rambling of chaotic jams and noise, while for the most part Wyatt's gift as writing tend to border between genius and bollocks, "O Caroline" is pure sentimentality and it gets better on the "Instant Pussy" (and its twin "Instant Kitten"), but the album is incredibly inconsistent, another typical Wyatt trait. But to give Matching Mole their dues they produce an original and inimitable set on their debut effort. Let it grow on you for best, if still varied, results.
Review by NJprogfan
3 stars Actually, 3.5 stars. Just a tad better than good, but compared to National Health, Caravan and Hatfield and the North it doesn't rate as high to me. It boils down to too much Wyatt, not enough band, (I hear that the second album is more band collabrative). Now, down to brass tacks, the album starts out in a traditional English Canterbury way, 'Oh Caroline' has that whimsical sound you just love about this style of music, and Robert Wyatt's voice fits it perfect. It's almost like a lo/fi song you'd hear nowadays. Perfect opening! 'Instant Pussy' and later on 'Beer as in Braindeer' are just middling doodles, there's not really anything that you can latch onto. 'Signed Curtain' has Wyatt singing, or should I say mumble, kinda like a bad Flaming Lips song. From the opening keyboard twinkling, 'Part of the Dance' turns into a classic Canterbury/Jazz blowout. Awesome! 'Instant Kitten' is another great track that reminds me of Caravan's freakouts thanks to David Sinclairs signature organ work. Another classic! 'Dedicated to Hugh...' has it's moments, mainly Wyatt's drumming and Phil Miller's guitar soloing, but doesn't hold a candle to the prevoius two. The album ends with a Melotron solo, (first and only in the canon of Canterbury?) that sounds very nice and mellow. Overall, a very good Canterbury album that just misses the mark for me.
Review by Zac M
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This is a definitely a highlight of the Canterbury sub-genre. Robert Wyatt decided to form a new band after Soft Machine started heading a direction closer to jazz. Wyatt still creates challenging and experimental music that is as enjoyable as Soft Machine releases. The band consists of Wyatt (ex-Soft Machine), Dave Sinclair (ex-Caravan), Phil Miller (future Hatfield and the North, National Health), and Bill MacCormick, who has played with various other musicians. They are all Canterbury super stars in their own right.

The album starts out with "O Caroline," a signature Wyatt tune with great lyrics. It's very emotional and catchy, but still adhering to the Canterbury sound; it's truly a favorite among fans of Wyatt's work. The mellotron sound is evident in this and many of the tracks that follow. The next few pieces are experimental tracks. In "Signend Curtain," Wyatt uses the structure of the piece to create song lyrics (i.e. "This is the chorus..."), an obvious aspect of Canterbury humor. "Part of the Dance" and " Dedicated to Hugh..." are probably to of my favorite tracks on the album. "Dedicated..." is an obvious reference to Wyatt's former band, Soft Machine, moreso Hugh Hopper, the bassist, who was still with Soft Machine when the material for this album was recorded. The last two tracks are more of the same experimentation, but fail to captivate me as the earlier pieces did.

Every Canterbury fan should own or at least look into this album. Fans of experimental music would most likely enjoy this album as well. I find this to be much better than the next release (Little Red Record). Although the second one is good, it just doesn't capture the magic that this album has to offer. Four stars, not quite a masterpiece, but an excellent addition to any Canterbury fan's collection.

Review by greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars This record contains very varied songs. There are Canterburian elements, but also krautrock, psychedelic, avant prog and fusion ones. Fortunately, Robert Wyatt only sings on the first tracks. The typical Canterburian organ, Fender Rhodes and vocals effects are often really good, like on the surprisingly jazzy & very good "Part of the Dance", where Wyatt does not sing! Wyatt's drums are very elaborated and varied. There are unfortunately some lengthy and irritating parts on the record, where nothing seems to unblock from a stagnant, minimalist and lethargic state.

The catchy piano on "O Caroline" is very good, but I don't think Wyatt's vocals have something to make a woman to like this pseudo-romantic song. "Instant Pussy" shows the extravagant side of Robert Wyatt on Canterburian lead vocals. Who can really be sure that on "Signed Curtain", "THIS IS THE FI-I-I-I-I-RST"? The dirty organ on "Instant Kitten" can be mistaken for Frippian guitar notes. The mellotron-flute could perfectly fit on an early Tangerine Dream album. "Dedicated to Hugh, but You Weren't Listening" starts really badly with a krautrock minimal intro; then some Zappa-esque improvisation-like reminds the listener that Wyatt is able to make difficult music: despite the dissonant textures, it sounds coherent and surprisingly elaborated. The krautrock improvisations continue on "Beer as in Braindeer", which may slightly remind "The Waiting Room" on The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway. The impressive dramatic floating mellotron on "Immediate Curtain" sounds a bit like on the Edgar Froese's Epsilon In Malaysian Pale album.

Raing: 3.5 stars

Review by fuxi
2 stars I love early Soft Machine and most of Robert Wyatt's solo albums, but no Canterbury freak can ever convince me that Matching Mole's debut album derves a lot of attention. The two best things about this album are the delightful cover picture (count yourself lucky if you own the original LP!) and the opening number, 'O Caroline', one of the most charming songs Wyatt ever wrote. The remainder, however, sounds like a simple jam session by musicians who urgently need to get to know each other and who don't seem to care whether the tape is running or not. The nine-minute 'Part of the Dance', for example, is dominated by ugly noise, and the four-minute 'Beer as in Braindeer' is not much better. Both 'Instant Kitten' and 'Dedicated to Hugh...' sound somewhat more purposeful and dramatic, but in spite of the presence of the great Phil Miller on guitar, none of this music can hold a candle to the things Caravan and Gong were doing during the same period.
Review by Mellotron Storm
5 stars With SOFT MACHINE going further into the Jazz realm and wanting to use less vocals Robert Wyatt left and formed his own band MATCHING MOLE. This first release is very much Wyatt's baby as he wrote all but one song, although David Sinlair (CARAVAN) co- wrote the first track with Robert. Their follow up album "Little Red Record" would be a total band effort. In my opinion this self titled record ranks as one of the best Canterbury albums I have ever heard, rivalling the best that CARAVAN put out. The fact that others don't share my enthusiasm about this recording, except for maybe Sean Trane, caused me to put this review off and to listen to it again and again to see if maybe I was mistaken. I'm not. This really caught me by surprise, I wasn't expecting it to be this good or varied. It starts with three mellow songs with Wyatt's appealing vocals then switches gears to a more Jazz and even Fusion style of music with touches of psychedelia. The last two tracks are experimental, and for me the highlights of this album especially the last song.

"O Caroline" is a sentimental ballad with Wyatt's fragile vocals accompanied by piano. There is some mellotron as well in this one. Of note, all the songs blend seamlessly into one another. "Instant Pussy" has those unique vocal melodies from Robert as drums, bass and piano fill out the sound. These vocal sounds continue into the start of the next track "Signed Curtain". This song is a real highlight for me and I disagree with those who complain about the humour in it. I mean that is what Cantrerbury is all about. Just check out CARAVAN or HATFIELD AND THE NORTH's lyrics in case your wondering. Wyatt basically describes the song as he's singing with beautiful piano melodies in tow. This just is so funny. "Part Of The Dance" is a 9 minute Miller composition that borders on Fusion at times. This is the most aggressive song by far. It takes a while to get going as keys and drums open the song. Scorching guitar and some great bass in this terrific tune.

"Instant Kitten" opens with a vocal melody as guitar, drums and fuzz organ arrive. This has such an amazing sound to it as they just seem to jam for the most part. Mellotron and organ to end it. "Dedicated To Hugh, But You Weren't Listening" is a nod to Hugh Hopper from SOFT MACHINE. On SOFT MACHINE's "Volume Two" they had a song called "Dedicated To You, But You Weren't Listening". There is a psychedelic vibe to this one before it kicks in after a minute. Some nice guitar work,organ and drums. This is a powerful instrumental. "Beer As In Braindeer" is experimental with odd drum patterns and guitar melodies. Percussion, guitar and organ create an awesome soundscape. This is great ! Phil Miller shines. "Immediate Curtain" makes me understand a little why ANEKDOTEN lists Robert Wyatt as a big influence in their musical careers. Check out ANEKDOTEN's My Space page to see a current picture of Wyatt as he's one of their friends. This song is absolutely drenched in mellotron ! This really recalls ANEKDOTEN's songs that are usually swimming in mellotron. The mellotron waves sweep across the soundscape in this song especially 3 minutes in. This is haunting, eerie and fantastic !

Robert Wyatt's solo work and his work with SOFT MACHINE and MATCHING MOLE reveal what a musical genius he really is. An absolute must have.

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Matching Mole is pretty nice Canterbury scene prog rock. A bit on the mellow side if you ask me, but never the less flawlessly played and sometimes intrigueing.

The interplay between the musicians are the most interesting thing on Matching Mole, because I dont think the songs are that greatly composed. There are even things on the album that I really find weak. Especially the vocals from Robert Wyatt which I find to be a disgrace. And those lyrics ??? What is that for pathetic crap.

Well the bitching aside, this is a pretty good Caterbury scene prog rock album, and fortunately there are not vocals on many of the songs.

The album is not excellent by any means, but it is not bad either ( except for the vocals), so this is a solid 3 stars album.

Review by DamoXt7942
FORUM & SITE ADMIN GROUP Avant/Cross/Neo/Post Teams
3 stars Ha-haa, what a light album this is...when I first listened to O Caroline, I thought so...but...

As honestly I say, for the first time of my listening to this album, I felt O caroline, the first track was MISCHOSEN in it. Maybe quite a few listeners have thought as above-mentioned. But believe me, this first track is surely the beginning of Matching Mole's progressive scene. Why? Please listen to the flute sound and Robert's withered and dry voice. How do you feel? I guess you would feel avantgarde, psychedelic, and progressive Canterbury. Yep, we can't think the as-we-hear melodic song as a mischosen one. The beginning! Okay? :P

From Instant Pussy we can be pushed or DIGGED by the Mole. How jazzy, how deeply-sunk, and how violent the sound is! Ouch, this is Mole sound. On the last track we can feel psychedelic and can hear varieties of chord with our angle of ears. Of course, not kidding!

Interestingly, this album is, for me, their curtain raiser. FWIW, this reason might be that my first Matching Mole was MARCH. Namely, Their live performance was very excellent I wanna say. If you listen to this album as the first Matching Mole, please listen to March next. You absolutely can understand me!

Review by Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Matching Mole can almost be considered a super group by Canterbury Scene standards. Robert Wyatt formed the band towards the end of 1971 after he left Soft Machine. Wyatt was joined by David Sinclair and and Phil Miller who would later go on and collaborate on a much more commercially successful project Hatfield And The North.

The music on this band-titled debut album is mostly dominated by Robert Wyatt's material with the exception of O Caroline, which he co-wrote with David Sinclar, and Part Of The Dance written is credited to Phil Miller. The sound is a mix between Wyatt's tongue and cheek vocal tracks, on the first side, and the familiar instrumentally driven Canterbury sounding compositions all throughout the second part of the album.

I do enjoy the instrumental pieces although I get easily distracted and slip into the passive listening state. This is of course not a problem since unlike RIO/Avant-Prog music Canterbury genre can be pleasant in both the active and passive states. There are a few instances, especially on Beer As In Braindeer, where it feels as though the band is playing pure improvisation pieces which does disrupts the active listening on my part. Still nothing here goes outside the soft and enjoyable style which makes me want to return to the Matching Mole debut album.

Although I can understand that some listeners might be put off by Robert Wyatt's lyrics specifically on Signed Curtain, passing it off as just a product of its time, I really get a great kick out of this material. If anything, this is what makes Matching Mole's sound distinguishable from all the other Canterbury Scene bands a memorable album experience.

The final track titled Immediate Curtain is an experimental Mellotron-driven composition that has to be heard by fans of the instrument since it brings out a much darker side of its sound. Overall the Matching Mole debut album is a must-have release for the fans of Canterbury Scene sound and an excellent addition to any prog rock music collection.

***** star songs: O Caroline (5:05) Signed Curtain (3:05)

**** star songs: Instant Pussy (2:58) Part Of The Dance (9:16) Instant Kitten (4:58) Dedicated To Hugh, But You Weren't Listening (4:39) Beer As In Braindeer (3:58) Immediate Curtain (5:57)

Review by Kazuhiro
4 stars A lot of listeners and fans that love Soft Machine at time when Robert Wyatt was on the register might exist. The music character of initial Soft Machine existed as a band of fine quality in the flow that derived in directionality and Canterbury where the age had been caught in the part of the united music characters and Jazz Rock. The humour of Robert Wyatt and the sensibility in the dada were very important as the part where the music character of Soft Machine had been established.

However, the situation of member's changing places the activity of Soft Machine and in. Or, it changes in the album and the directionality announced after it transfers the register to CBS. And, the flavor of Jazz Rock that Hugh Hopper has might increased acceleration further. Soft Machine has succeeded by the content of "Fourth" announced in "Third" and 1971 announced as a result in 1970 in the establishment of a mid-term music character. However, if the music character that Soft Machine did contained the part of merits and demerits, it will have been a situation in inverse proportion to the music character of Robert Wyatt.

There is already a theory that says that it had facing to the music character that Soft Machine established it as a plan Robert Wyatt by "The End Of An Ear" that Robert Wyatt announced in 1971.

After Soft Machine secedes as a result, tried Robert Wyatt starts the formation of this new band at once to have them express the element of POP and the humour as music. However, this band put a period as a result with the activity for about two years. The road as the player was cut due to the accident that Robert Wyatt had caused. However, the time of the accident that Robert Wyatt caused agrees with time when Matching Mole tries the re- formation and 3rd album was rehearsed. However, the activity as the band might have been still fatal.

Existence of Dave Sinclair with history of activity in Wilde Flowers at time different from Robert Wyatt. And, Phil Miller before it joins Hatfield And The North exists. Existence of Bill MacCormick that supports wonderful music in Quiet Sun. A thing that was the most important is not ..mistake.. "each member is Music in Canterbury at that time. It is said that Robert Wyatt from which it was demanded to maintain only the rhythm in the flow that constructs the music of Soft Machine surely felt reluctance. To make this band demonstrate own power of expression to its maximum, Robert Wyatt might already have been done. The technology of the member who gathers to make them an embodiment is also splendid. Soft Machine and Matching Mole left tracks for the history of the music of Canterbury as a result walking on a mutually separate road.

"O Caroline" is a tune that the sensibility of Robert Wyatt is exactly demonstrated. Progress of beautiful piano Chord. And, the song of Robert Wyatt that wears nostalgia. Sound of Mellotron effectively used. A transparent feeling that rules the whole can splendidly listen to the music character of Robert Wyatt.

As for "Instant Pussy", the melody with the anacatesthesia and the line of Bass are impressive. Construction of peculiar scat that Robert Wyatt does and rhythm that moves freely. The atmosphere of the tune is decided in union the band. The sound of the decoration with the keyboard is also effective.

"Signed Curtain" is a tune with the form of the ballade around which Chord of Piano with expression of feelings completely is twined with the song that Robert Wyatt is beautiful. It might be a tune that gives a famous impression that excludes the part of the extra. The sensibility of Robert Wyatt shines enough in this tune.

"Part Of The Dance" is Jazz Rock with a complete anacatesthesia and the tension. The band continues the tension in union. Performance of band that explodes after some repeated themes. Processing of sound that guitar and keyboard freely create. Or, the processing of the space that the tune rules might be perfect.

"Instant Kitten" starts from the part where a complete anacatesthesia is produced. The construction of the sound that flows in one space will shift to an explosion by the band and a complete melody before long. Caravan and Hatfields might be reminiscent as the impression of the tune. Construction of melody that multiuses Syncopation. It might be Rock splendidly exactly expressed as music of Canterbury.

"Dedicated To Hugh,But You Weren't LIstening" shifts from the part of Intro with the tension to the part of the rhythm and the melody with the dash feeling further. Solo of the guitar is expressed well. It is likely to be caught as an original tune that is that they do. Progress of repeated Chord. The tension continues.

"Beer As In Braindeer" has the form of complete Free Jazz. Development to recollect music character of Soft Machine. Or, it is partial in the line of Bass that brings the element of Quiet Sun in. Processing of sound of keyboard to contribute to tune as much as possible. It is finished ..the composition that each member's flavor is surely united without staying in the form of simple Free Jazz... The entire composition of the album is calculated well.

It is ..composition experimental ..use.... finished .."Immediate Curtain".. effective Mellotron. The idea that Robert Wyatt cultivated might have tried to be followed perhaps and to emphasize the existence of this band. The impression that a perfect tension exists together to beauty and destruction is given to the listener. It is a very famous tune.

Robert Wyatt might have started exactly making this band demonstrate the expression of the self. And, the base that Robert Wyatt cultivated is not an exaggeration perhaps to say that everything will start from the music character at this time.

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
3 stars I can't say that I'm one of those people who enjoys Robrt Wyatt's singing. In fact, most of the time I find his airy voice annoying. But after the drab O Caroline, I kind of like this album. I will admit that I have to be in the right mood to listen to Wyatt on Instant Pussy, where he is supposedly imitating a female orgasm. Yah, sure. And the self referential lyrics in Signed Curtain are cute (but King Crimson did it funnier on Happy With What You Have To Be Happy With).

But the album takes off with Part Of The Dance, which turns into a great jazzy rock song, which continues with Instant Kitten. After that, the album devolves into spacy, trippy noise jams, that actually work if you're in the right frame of mind.

Review by snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars When,after releasing of their "Fourth" album,in 1971 one of Soft Machine's founding member Robert Wyatt left the band (not happy with band's trend to play more plain jazz fusion),first his own project was Matching Mole (even the name "Matching Mole" was derived from the French translation of "Soft Machine " (machine molle)).

Band's debut is a strange and beautiful music.Being kind of Canterbury supergroup,with organist Dave Sinclair,bassist Bill MacCormick, guitarist Phil Miller and keyboardist Dave McRae on board,on their debut Wyatt-led band returned to music,played by Soft Machine on their first two albums. But it's no way cloning - psychedelic melodic pop rock is presented as only part of the album, another part contains complex improvs based psychedelic jazz fusion (more similar to Soft Machine's Third).

Album opens with quite straight forward psychedelic pop light melancholic ballade "O Caroline" with Daevid Allen's early Gong music influenced dreamy and psyche "Instant Pussy". "Signed Curtain" is third in line melancholic gently song with characteristic Wyatt's vocals (all three first songs sound as early Soft Machine's and Gong's crossover). Nice excursion to late 60-s sounding a bit dated in 1971.

Happily "Part Of The Dance" changes sound and atmosphere radically. Heavier,almost aggressive guitars and keyboards driven complex instrumental composition in best tradition of Soft Machine's Third (but with bigger attention to melody and more relaxed).Rest of the album starting from here contains psychedelic,dark and heavy in moments quite melodic compositions with long improvs.

Wyatt's version of "Soft Machine" is less jazzy, more psychedelic,melodic and - what is really important - very emotional (in contrast with technically perfect but cold,quite formal and even plain musicianship of "Soft Machine" after Wyatt's left the band).

Possibly in whole,this album is a bit bulky and raw in moments, but it demonstrates some greatest artistic moments of Wyatt and is important evidence of Canterbury scene on its best.

My rating is 3+.

Review by Warthur
5 stars Robert Wyatt's first album as a band leader, following his exit from Soft Machine, shows the broad range of his musical interests - almost all of which were being ignored by his former band at this point, with their fourth and fifth albums being devoted to fairly strait-laced jazz fusion. Not that there's no jazz influence here - far from it - but the album is infused with Wyatt's hitherto-stifled personality, from the touching love song O Caroline that opens the album (the simplest track) to the more challenging, free jazz-influenced material that follows.

At times, the album sounds like a more approachable, tighter, and interesting version of Wyatt's An End of an Ear, his voice-as-instrument solo album; at other points, it sounds like rough sketches for Hatfield and the North. The latter part isn't so surprising, since after the demise of the Mole guitarist Phil Miller became a founder of Hatfield and the North, and the most Hatfield-sounding song on the album, Part of the Dance, is actually a Miller composition.

The second Matching Mole album was a bit more diverse in its songwriting - the majority of the material here is by Wyatt, but that's really no surprise considering that by the time of his exit from Soft Machine he must have had quite a stash of juicy musical ideas which had been glossed over by his former band. I think it's a vitally important album both to Wyatt's discography and to the development of the Canterbury scene as a whole.

Review by octopus-4
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
4 stars The "Machine Molle" debut is quite a strange album. It starts with a song like "O Caroline" that seems taken from a Caravan album, not only because the keyboardist is Dave Sinclair. It's melodic, radio-friendly and very distant from SOFT MACHINE's usual output and even from "The End Of An Ear" that was the first solo album released by Robert Wyatt.

Well, even a musical researcher Robert Wyatt can fall in love and write a sweet song (sweet, not cheesy) for his girlfriend, specially if it's a so good song. It's similar to CARAVAN, not to brit-glam-pop.

This song fades into "Instant Pussy"....what a title! Three minutes of soft drums, hypnotic bass and high pitched vocal expertiments reminding of GONG even if Wyatt has never played with the radio gnomes apart of Daevid Allen. The poppy mood of the first track is already gone.

No track separation. "Signed Curtain" is again very melodic, like a reprise of the first track, but Wyatt sings more in line with Instant Pussy. It's the kind of singing that will later permeate a masterpiece album like Rock Bottom.

Let's do something really Canterbury now. The about ten minutes of "Part Of The Dance" are one of the topic moments of the album and a track that could be used to define the Canterbury subgenre. In particular I like the bass line and how it interacts with the drums. Keys and guitar enhance the jazzy mood while bass and drums drive the track. In some moment, with a bit of attention we can hear the influence of Syd Barrett on Wyatt's music. I think mainly the guitar parts at around minute 5 which sound sometimes like Interstellar Overdrire, of course with more jazz than psychedelia. However, even with its complexity this track is still more approachable than most of the Soft Machine's output.

After the Instant Pussy, maybe to say that there are no sexual meanings, there's another "experimental" track entitled "Instant Kitten". Tape played reversed, maybe from Instant Pussy, I haven't tried to reverse it back, with Wyatt's vocals for a minute before the other instruments join to create a rocking act with hints of Caravan's style (or even Wilde Flowers').

"Dedicated To Hugh, But You Weren't Listening" is, I suppose, dedicated to Hugh Hopper. This is probably where Ron Geesin has got the idea for his "To Roger Waters, Wherever You Are". The start is electronic and dissonant, then the dissonances are mitigated by the clear bass line and the drumming that's on this track more rock than jazz. Track by track the album keeps the distance from the lovely and melodic "O Caroline". Guitar and bass play the most important roles on this.

"Beer As In Braindeer" proceeds from where the previous track ends. Initially it looks like a rocking coda, but quite soon it turns into a pot of apparently disconnected sounds, loosing every possible contact point with the previous one. It proceeds chaotically and the only thing that makes you realize that it's not just noisy improvisation is counting the beats as the drums even improvising act as a metronome.

Another joke with the worlds gives the title to the closing track: "Immediate Curtain", that's a mixture of the two "instant" things and the signed "Curtain". This is the most experimental track of the album, totally antipodal to the starter. The strings make it sound like contemporary classic but also on this track I can hear echoes of Interstellar Overdrive. On this track Sinclair plays very similar to Rick Wright even if his touch is more classical oriented respect to the Arabic scales that Wright was used to put in. The only defect of this track is the length. I would have liked a longer version respect to the 5 minutes and half that it occupies on the album. A spacey end to a journey which starts very Earthly.

Excellent, in one word.


Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Robert Wyatt and company's first effort with Robert playing a part in over half of the compositions. The music is often complex and avant/experimental (the last three songs, "Dedicated to Hugh, But You Weren't Listening," "Beer as in Braindeer" and "Immediate Curtain") but then it can also be very simple and melodic (the first half of the album, "O Caroline," "Instant Pussy," "Signed Curtain"). The middle two songs are so obviously David Sinclair's, they sound like they could be off of a CARAVAN album. I like the album well enough but find myself rarely drawn back to it. A 3.5 star album I'll rate down for odd inconsistency (in quality of both composition and production).
Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars One of the most representative bands of the Canterbury movement, Matching Mole paraphrases the French translation for Soft Machine (''Machine Molle'') and that's cause the man behind this project was Robert Wyatt, who had left Soft Machine in 1971 and launched his new group in October of the same year along with Quiet Sun's bassist Bill MacCormick.He made a great steal after proposing the keyboard place to Caravan's Dave Sinclair, while the line-up became complete with the addition of Phil Miller on guitar, formerly of Carol Grimes and Delivery.Between December 71' and February 72' they recorded their eponymous debut at CBS Studios in London and the album was released two months later (of course on CBS).

The opening side alone it's simply the absolute example of what Canterbury music was all about and, despite not being absolutely convincing or essential, it delivers a great deal of interesting music.From the smooth opener ''O Caroline'' and its ballad atmlsphere, where the star of Wyatt shines on vocals, drums and Mellotron, and the mellow, romantic followers ''Instant pussy'' and ''Signed curtain'' with the slight jazzy spices and the melancholic British Pop nuance to the abstract sound of ''Part of the dance'', the basic elements of the movement are all taped in here.Actually ''Part of the sound'' is quite long to present the experimentation of the group (and other local bands of the era) with its odd rhythms, jamming solos on organ and piano and powerful psych colors, an all instrumental journey of intense and loose Jazz Rock.The flipside doesn't differ much, except for being instrumental, for example ''Instant kitten'' is yet another solid instrumental proposal of psych-tinged Canterbury Fusion with full-blown electric piano, sparkling guitar work and even some notable, depressing flute strings at the end, one of the best cuts on the album.''Dedicated to Hugh, but you weren't listening'' follows the same vein, a collection of laid-back and fiery Fusion colors, but ''Beer as in braindeer'' is pretty experimental with instrumental weirdness on Avant-Garde-like percussion, organ and guitar distortions.''Immediate curtain'' is a serious closer, a long, orchestral, Mellotron-dominated outro with very discreet guitar experimentation in the background and overall a very cinematic, dark atmosphere.

This one contains the free spirit of Canterbury music in full display.The mood for experimental compositions, the loose jazzy techniques and the leftovers of British Psychedelic Pop.Not absolutely rewarding, but definitely a great document of the early-70's days in Kent.Warmly recommended.

Review by ALotOfBottle
4 stars Robert Wyatt, the Canterbury mastermind was done with Soft Machine. The band's radical turn towards jazz proved to be a bit too much for Wyatt with his more psychedelic or progressive-oriented sensibilities. Dave Sinclair, a keyboard virtuoso, formerly of Caravan also happened to have just parted ways with his group. Joined by a few other musicians, namely Phil Miller, Bill McCormick and Dave McRae, they teamed up to create Matching Mole. The name "Matching Mole" comes from French "machine molle", which means Soft Machine.

Matching Mole's debut is a quintessential Canterbury scene album. All the ingredients are there. In comparison to Soft Machine's works of the period, this is a lot more musically organised. It also does not rely as much on improvisational factor. However, that does not mean the sacrifice of jazz qualities. A wide variety Robert Wyatt's fixtures is detectable as well. Dave Sinclair brings a bit of Caravan's sound himself. In addition to Sinclair's smooth organ textures and Dave McRae's electric piano parts, Wyatt introduces a Mellotron, which I consider to be perfectly utilized. It proves to be irreplaceable on experimental symphonic passages such as on the closing track - "Immediate Curtain". The instrument supplies Matching Mole with a very distinct, unique majestic sound, which fits perfectly in their style.

The material is made up of light melodic pieces and ballads supported by a piano (often played by Robert Wyatt himself), which resolve into sophisticated jazz rock jams, frequently in sophisticated time signatures and one full-on avant-garde tune ("Immediate Curtain"). Occasionally, the tracks are linked, the first three for example, with every one having a slightly different mood and feel.

Overall, I believe this to be a prominent Canterbury scene album, a significant, one-of-a-kind work. It shows a transitional period of the subgenre - nearly free from psychedelic noodlings, but far from full-on jazz fusion that it would become later on in the decade. Very highly recommended. 4.5 stars!

Review by siLLy puPPy
4 stars Hard to believe that a simple innocent band like the Wilde Flowers could blossom so quickly and splinter into so many disparate directions. After that fortuitous breakup, both Soft Machine and Caravan continued on in the psychedelic pop world but as Caravan continued to create ever more sophisticated progressively oriented psychedelic pop, Soft Machine on the other hand was hell bent for leather for jumping into jazz-rock territory only to abandon the rock part of the equation altogether. While this was perfectly suited for the such jazz leaning members such as Elton Dean, Robert Wyatt was feeling like a fish out of water and was very quickly getting squeezed out of the band's decision in musical direction. Come Soft Machine's "IV" and he had enough.

Whether he was fired or voluntarily left of his own volition is a mute point. The fact was that Wyatt's creative outlets were being stifled and it was time to move on. Move on he did and while Soft Machine was more interested in proving themselves as jazz musicians and abandoning all the rock creds that created progressive rock's Canterbury Scene, Wyatt was ready to jump back onto the Canterbury bandwagon and take control of his own musical direction. The result was the cleverly named MATCHING MOLE where Wyatt put the whimsy back in the Scene and created a pun on "Machine Molle" which is simply the French translation of Soft Machine!

Wyatt hooked up with Caravan organist David Sinclair (who remained with that band), original Quiet Sun bassist Bill MacCormick and guitarist Phil Miller who had played with Carol Grimes & Delivery. Wyatt continued his role as a drummer but also contributed a great deal of piano, mellotron and lead vocals. In a way, MATCHING MOLE's eponymous debut is the first "true" 70s Canterbury Scene album, at least in that famous cohesive sound since both Soft Machine and Caravan while going their own ways remained psychedelic pop and in the case of Soft Machine's "Third" and beyond, more a jazz-rock fusion band. MATCHING MOLE was the first album in the subgenre to create that perfect fusion sound of psychedelic rock and jamming sessions with all the technical jazz touches side by side with the humorous whimsical style that the style had become synonymous with.

While this was indubitably Wyatt's baby, he seemed to still be letting other's influence his decision as to what was to make it on the album. This is abundantly clear on the first track "O Caroline" which is really the one track that doesn't fit in with the rest. While Wyatt composed the majority of tracks on the album, it was Sinclair and his slick Caravan pop sensibilities who composed the opener "O Caroline," a track about breaking up with his girlfriend and apparently supposed to be a single as it appears on the remastered version as a bonus track titled "O Caroline (Single version.)" It is a whiny little track with a piano based melody riffing along about, well, girl trouble things. Not necessarily bad subject matter but clearly a stab at some sort of crossover success. While the two following tracks "Instany Pussy" and "Signed Curtain" are also based in catchy melodies and not overtly complex, they do sound more like the classic Canterbury style with an ostinato bass line frosted over with psychedelic touches and the famous organ sound that instantly screams the style albeit more on the accessible side as well. These two track in many ways portend the much more complex leanings of the future Hatfield & The North projects at least in sound.

While the first MATCHING MOLE album starts off rather ho hum with a tame crossover type track and slowly transitions into more interesting musical turf, it really takes off on the fourth track "Part Of The Dance," the sole Miller contribution creates a lengthy nine minute plus jazzy psychedelic jam session that utilizes all the progressive rock signature sounds with a rad mellotron and organ accompaniment punctuated by a plethora of time signature workouts and Miller's stellar guitar work that would eventually find a second calling in Quiet Sun. The remaining tracks never deviate from the progressive rock world and only get more psychedelic, more otherworldly and more proggy as they commence. It's actually quite astonishing how the album ratchets up from totally accessible and borderline cheesy to ultra-sophistication in both musical performance and production values. Perhaps a slow burner but more than worth the wait.

Speaking of production values, this album is fairly notorious for having been poorly recorded despite appearing on a major label like CBS Records when it debuted in 1972, however i highly recommend the newer remastered version that came out in 2012. It not only has a bonus disc with a ridiculous amount of surplus material including alternate session takes and BBC Radio One sessions but also includes the single edits and the stellar previously unreleased near 21 minute prog behemoth "Part Of The Dance Jam" which most certainly would have been included on the album if permission for a double album would have been granted. It is a sprawling jam that takes the MATCHING MOLE psychedelic Canterbury sound and merges it with more of a Soft Machine "Third" type of composition. Not to mention the production has been improved 100 fold and although not exactly sounding like it's a bristling new album recording in modern times, sounds crisp and clean for an album recorded many decades ago.

Review by Mirakaze
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Eclectic Prog & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
3 stars Matching Mole's debut album offers an interesting middle ground between the free-form Canterbury jazz rock of Robert Wyatt's past and the avant-pop of his future, but his talents sadly refuse to shine as well as they could in either respect. Several songs on here such as the mellow, catchy "O Caroline" were already recorded earlier by Wyatt with different formations and appear here in a form that's more refined in terms of composition but also somehow more restrained in their execution and more basic in their production. "Part Of The Dance" is an excellent jazzy jam with cool guitar work by Phil Miller, and I'm intrigued by how the album just breaks down completely into atonal ambience during the final tracks, culminating in the ghostly Mellotron howls of "Immediate Curtain". There's not a bad song on the album really but there are definitely better entry points in Wyatt's long and varied career.

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3 stars Maybe this isn't just for me. When I listened to this, I thought the other reviewers wouldn;t like it, as I did. But the reviews are raving. Maybe it's just not my kind of humor, or maybe it's because I don't do drugs. I can hear that the musicians are very talented and here and there I hear be ... (read more)

Report this review (#1872100) | Posted by Kingsnake | Monday, February 5, 2018 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Short of repeating what's already been said, I consider this album as a benchmark in Canterbury - and perhaps the best by "Matching Mole". One could see it as a continuation of early "Soft Machine", or rather what they would have been under Wyatt. Indeed, it's probably my fave amongst all of ... (read more)

Report this review (#863898) | Posted by BORA | Tuesday, November 20, 2012 | Review Permanlink

4 stars ESOTERIC 2012 EXPANDED EDITION When Robert Wyatt was unceremoniously dumped from Soft Machine in 1971 he took much of their humanity and humour with him. Matching Mole was the first project following his departure, although he had already recorded the somewhat wayward `End Of An Ear' toward ... (read more)

Report this review (#782711) | Posted by beebfader | Friday, July 6, 2012 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This is the record that introduced me to all things Canterbury... When I first heard Matching Mole I thought it was the best record I ever heard, and while I don't quite have the same vision, it still stands as one of my favourite albums. The first song, "O Caroline" opens the record with the ... (read more)

Report this review (#451657) | Posted by JackFloyd | Tuesday, May 24, 2011 | Review Permanlink

3 stars The well known music journalist Mick Wall described Matching Mole as a very nerdy band, only played on BBC 1 by John Peel. That has kind of scared me away until now, even though I am a nerd/village idiot. Robert Wyatt did not make it easy for himself with the debut album from a band which n ... (read more)

Report this review (#250801) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Sunday, November 15, 2009 | Review Permanlink

1 stars Bury This Cant Oh dear....what a stinking carcass of a record this is to be sure. After the lightweight but delightful O Caroline kicks things off, it just degenerates thereafter into a rambling and incoherent noodle fest. Although Robert Wyatt is a musician I have the utmost regard for, his d ... (read more)

Report this review (#164024) | Posted by ExittheLemming | Saturday, March 15, 2008 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Now this is a very nice album. This album is one of the coolest and best of the Canterburry Scene. It's a Canterburry classic. This is Wyatt's first side project, later he will come up with the very famous Canterburry band Hatfield and The North. This resembles a lot of Soft Machine's old stuff, ... (read more)

Report this review (#159647) | Posted by Grimfurg | Thursday, January 24, 2008 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Despite not being a perfect album, I think everyone should own Matching Mole's debut just to be in possession of "O Caroline". If ever a more sincere love song was written I have not heard it. It's a song dominated by keyboards, with piano, mellotron flute, and organ laying the background to Wya ... (read more)

Report this review (#132428) | Posted by Equality 7-2521 | Thursday, August 9, 2007 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Matching Mole's debut album is a very interesting one because it starts very accessible and easy-going with the delicious (and terribly unrepresentative) "O caroline", followed by two more songs with Robert Wyatt's vocals, and from there it slowly breaks down completely, each song more experimenta ... (read more)

Report this review (#132199) | Posted by Evans | Tuesday, August 7, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Matching Mole's first is truly outstanding. "O Caroline" and "Signed Curtain" are the two sentimental ballad type songs on the album. A lot of die hard prog fans dismiss these as sugary pop. I on the other hand, will not do this. Both of these songs are very sentimental but in the quirky C ... (read more)

Report this review (#81954) | Posted by fragile43k | Sunday, June 25, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Robert Wyatt to me is a really complete musician, and I love his drumwork very near to jazz or fusion style...his extraordinary drumming comes across as a wired concoction of Tony Williams and Keith Moon. After the adventure with Soft Machine and after Robert's first album (end of an year) was made ... (read more)

Report this review (#65511) | Posted by Kord | Thursday, January 19, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars The first work of announcement in 1972 "Matching Mole". The member is only a famous person of the Canterbury scene. It is music where a humour, a sharp sound sense, and a wonderful improvisation are had both. Very progressive work. Wyatt might surely be glad and make this album in the with ... (read more)

Report this review (#43517) | Posted by braindamage | Saturday, August 20, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Robert Wyatt is an enormously-talented musician/songwriter, and his post-SOFT MACHINE venture, Matching Mole, does not disappoint. If anything, it gives Wyatt freer reign to his bizarre and strangely comforting musical ideas, and the melancholy opener "O Caroline" starts things off nicely, with plen ... (read more)

Report this review (#4793) | Posted by | Saturday, March 27, 2004 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Ahh, another refeshing & enlighting album of the Canterbury Scene. Robert Wyatt, composes all of the tracks(With the exception of Part of The Dance which was composed soley on guitarist Phil Miller & O Caroline which was a collaboration with Ex-Caravan keyboardist Richard Sinclair). Consisting of pl ... (read more)

Report this review (#4789) | Posted by | Friday, December 26, 2003 | Review Permanlink

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