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MATCHING MOLE

Canterbury Scene • United Kingdom


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Matching Mole biography
Active from 1971 to 1973

Upon leaving SOFT MACHINE in 1971 after their "Fourth" album, Robert WYATT decided to form a new band which he named MATCHING MOLE (from the French translation of SOFT MACHINE). He recruited Dave Sinclair of CARAVAN to play keybaords along with guitarist Phil Miller (ex-DELIVERY) and QUIET SUN bassist Bill MacCormick. They made two albums both released in 1972, a self-titled and "Little Red Record", the latter featuring Dave MacRae on keys in place of Sinclair. Phil Miller soon left to join HATFIELD AND THE NORTH, and Wyatt was planning on recording a third album in 1973, but due to his unfortunate accident this never came to pass, leaving the band permanently disbanded. The two records, however, are outstanding examples of what was great about much of the Canterbury scene of the time - superb, challenging musicianship coupled with a quirky sense of humor - and in the case of MATCHING MOLE's second record, a bit of political commentary as well.

Highly recommeneded obviously for fans of SOFT MACHINE and Wyatt's solo work, as well as other Canterbury scene artists.

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Remastered
ESOTERIC 2018
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Little Red Record ~ Expanded Edition /  Matching MoleLittle Red Record ~ Expanded Edition / Matching Mole
Remastered
ESOTERIC 2018
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CUNEIFORM RECORDS 2017
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Hux Records 2007
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Little Red RecordLittle Red Record
Sony Japan 2013
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Live At The Bbc 1972 [VINYL]Live At The Bbc 1972 [VINYL]
Dbqp 2019
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Matching Mole by MATCHING MOLE (2012-03-06)Matching Mole by MATCHING MOLE (2012-03-06)
Esoteric
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MATCHING MOLE discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

MATCHING MOLE top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.63 | 240 ratings
Matching Mole
1972
3.91 | 197 ratings
Little Red Record
1972

MATCHING MOLE Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.56 | 20 ratings
BBC Radio 1 Live in Concert
1995
3.90 | 27 ratings
March
2000
3.17 | 26 ratings
Smoke Signals
2001
3.61 | 16 ratings
On The Radio
2007

MATCHING MOLE Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

MATCHING MOLE Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

MATCHING MOLE Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.00 | 2 ratings
O Caroline
1972

MATCHING MOLE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Little Red Record by MATCHING MOLE album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.91 | 197 ratings

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Little Red Record
Matching Mole Canterbury Scene

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

5 stars Welcome to Chairman Mao's Canterbury Kraut experience!

The early 70s was a tumultuous time for Robert Wyatt who in just a few short years went from performing in the prime years of Soft Machine to undergoing the tragic accident which left him paralyzed from the waist down but in between these two extremes he generated some of his most ambitious works in a short 11 month timespan from October 1971 to September 1972 in his own whacky Canterbury creation MATCHING MOLE which is perhaps the most experimental and adventurous phase of his entire career. While the eponymous debut album was essentially a solo album allowing Wyatt to exercise complete control over every single aspect of the project, he discovered that he needed a little guidance from his friends who were now his bandmates so the floodgates were opened and the creative juices flowed on overdrive.

This all-star cast which included Caravan keyboardist David Sinclair, Phil Miller of Carol Crimes and Delivery, Bill MacCormick of Quiet Sun and supplemental New Zealand born keyboardist Dave MacRae were instrumental in keeping Wyatt focused and allowing the first album to come to fruition. After Wyatt realized his ideas were better with the contributions of other members, on the second installation of the MATCHING MOLE universe the democratic process was allowed to flourish with the entire band participating and in the process giving the album a much larger and more diverse overall span of ideas than the debut. Sinclair opted to skip a reprise and get back to Caravan but MacRae was more than willing to take over and jumped into the driver's seat with his distinctive Fender Rhodes sound and after many years Wyatt admitted that he was the first choice in the first place as he had been quite impressed with MacRae's adaptable stylistic approaches in the Buddy Rich Band as well as with Ian Carr's Nucleus.

LITTLE RED RECORD's title referred to Chairman Mao's "Little Red Book" published in 1964 with an album cover that mocked the posters that were created during the Chinese Cultural Revolution but the music is for the most part far from a political revolutionary take on the world's politics but rather an experimental mix of much of what had been gestating in the early years of the prog rock scene. In many ways MATCHING MOLE began the classic Canterbury jazz sounds that have become that indescribable jazz-rock sound that binds this nebulous sub-genre into its own category, however on LITTLE RED RECORD the jazz-rock elements are fortified with long experimental psychedelic sequences more reminiscent of the transcendental Krautrock bands from Germany such as the hypnotic bass grooves of Amon Duul II as well as the escape-the-gravitational-pull-of-the-planet trippiness of Can.

Add some avant-prog angularities and LITTLE RED RECORD stands out as one of the early 70s most creative slices of prog tucked away into the Canterbury corner. Also making this album a bit larger than life is the inclusion of King Crimson's Robert Fripp as producer as well as a cameo appearance by Brian Eno who adds some synthesizer wizardry on the album's mega-tripper, the anti- gravity generating "Gloria Gloom." Ruby Crystal, a pseudonym for the British actress Julie Christie also adds some vocals on "Nan True's Hole" which is obviously a nod to Gong's stellar space whisperer Gilli Smyth. All of these players conspired to take MATCHING MOLE beyond the established limits of both rock and jazz and created a veritable smorgasbord of compositional mastery with the embellished improvisation in perfect psychedelic splendor. The album begins with all the whimsical no nonsense humor one could hope for with the opening "Starting in the Middle of the Day We Can Drink Our Politics Away" with a hypnotic vocal performance and repetitive keyboard arpeggios before breaking into the heavy jazz-rocking antics performed on "Marchides" which finds some groovy fuzzy psych guitar riffs, bombastic drumming fury and nice jazzy chord progressions that add a touch of Daevid Allen inspired vocal rants. The extended play finds a nice groovy bass line in looped action with the keys, guitars and drums adding heavenly variations. The tracks blend together seamlessly as it cedes to "Nan True's Hole" displays a nice bass groove, fuzz guitar and female conversations tucked beneath. "Righteous Rhumba" is the most Gong sounding track on the album that adopts the Daevid Allen vocal rants of Gong and superimposes them over the Phil Miller guitar riffs and Wyatt drumming wizardry. "Brandy As In Benj" follows suit.

One of the highlights of the album is the lengthy 8 minute "Gloria Gloom" which is the only track to actually critique Wyatt's reflections on socialism but also takes the world of Canterbury jazz into a more German sounding psychedelic haze of Krautrock. Unlike the majority of the album's tracks that entertain that warm and fuzzy feel that Canterbury Scene elements evoke, this begins as a cold industrial suffocating cloud but after some conversational dialogue the track evolves into a variable jazz-fusion powerhouse that deftly finds the familiar Canterbury sounds trading off with the frigid progressive electronic and Krautrock soundscapes that punctuate the album's run. "God Song" is a tender prognosticator of Wyatt's future solo works beginning with his heart wrenching "Rock Bottom." Both the final two tracks "Flora Flight" and "Smoke Signal" tackle more technically infused Canterbury jazz-rock chops that showcase the band's excellent instrumental interplay.

This one seems to divide the prog world between those who prefer a more straight forward approach and those who love the wild and unrestrained experimental boldness. I fall into the latter as i find this album would sound a little sterile if it weren't for the explorative nature of Krautish escapist portals and extended instrumental improvisations. This is a well balanced album in those regards as things are never allowed to steal the show for an over extended amount of time. Unfortunately MATCHING MOLE was never to record a third album. The band broke up in September 1972 after a tour with Soft Machine as Miller joined Sinclair in forming Hatfield and the North and although Wyatt reformed the band which consisted of MacCormick, ex-Curved Air keyboardist Francis Monkman and jazz saxophonist Gary Windo to record a third album, all of that was quashed when Wyatt fell from a window in June 1973 which changed his life forever as he was unable to continue as a drummer. For my money, LITTLE RED RECORD is one of Wyatt's crowning achievements. The dense complexities require multiple listens for the magic to present itself but i'm personally blown away by this album. One of the highlights in my personal Canterbury Scene

 Matching Mole by MATCHING MOLE album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.63 | 240 ratings

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Matching Mole
Matching Mole Canterbury Scene

Review by Kingsnake

2 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 beautiful melodies (especially the piano-parts).

But the humor is just to much. I can't be bothered with this amount of humor in music. I do like Caravan and Supersister, but they are enjoyable to listen to. This is just annoying. "this is the verse, this is the bridge, this is the chorus or just another part of the song".

The music sounds like a jam-session, not like worthy compositions. It would have been funny if someone I knew did this, while being stoned. But it's not for me. Sorry.

 Matching Mole by MATCHING MOLE album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.63 | 240 ratings

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Matching Mole
Matching Mole Canterbury Scene

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

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.

 March by MATCHING MOLE album cover Live, 2000
3.90 | 27 ratings

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March
Matching Mole Canterbury Scene

Review by Walkscore

3 stars Decent sound, but performance patchy.

This is another official live bootleg-like release of a gig in Europe in 1972, released in 2002. The sound quality is great, but the performances are decidedly mixed. I think the band took a while to warm up, as the first three tunes in particular are quite poor. The opener, March (from Little Red Record) is almost unrecognizable, but not in a good way - that is, not because they were playing around with the structure and melody, extending it beyond its usual moorings, but instead because they don't seem to be able to play it! Also, the keyboards are way too low in the mix - hearing this on the radio one would be hard-pressed to identify a keyboard at all. Of course, being a Softs fan, I like a challenge, but the two tracks that follow are again not very well played. Things pick up in the middle of the disc, however, during "Part of the Dance". The best track, and the reason for getting this album, is "No 'Alf Measures" which not only is new (not appearing on any other Matching Mole album), but is the best song/performance in this set. The last two tunes continue on with the better playing exhibited in this track, ending with an instrumental version of Caravan's "Waterloo Lily", thus ending on an up note (which probably explains some of the 4-star ratings). But overall, the performances are too mixed, and too esoteric (even compared to Matching Mole's other work), for this is to be anywhere near 4-star material. Indeed, it is probably in the larger scheme of things only of interest to pre-existing fans - if this is your introduction to MM you will get a skewed idea of the band. But it raises to 3 PA stars for me on the strength of its clean sound quality, and the stronger performances/improvisations in the second-half of the set. Overall, I rate this 5.9 out of 10 on my 10-point scale, which translates to 3 PA stars.

 Little Red Record by MATCHING MOLE album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.91 | 197 ratings

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Little Red Record
Matching Mole Canterbury Scene

Review by Walkscore

4 stars Unique Classic. Close to 5 Stars!

This Fripp-produced album is a unique statement. Loosely framed as a quasi-concept album built around the idea of a 'Little Red Record' (like Mao's Little Red Book) this is an album/band that doesn't take itself too seriously, yet like the Softs, was somewhat revolutionary in a musical sense (and with some thoughtful commentary by Wyatt about socialism too!). It is really too bad it was to be there last studio album, and the last studio album before Wyatt's accident, and there is so much potential here, and Wyatt really shines. The album begins extremely well. An intro with unique (yes!) singing that leads into "Marchides", a short but amazing tune built around fast-cascading electric piano runs up and down the keyboard, with bass and guitar playing slow melodic lines over top, while Wyatt drums up a storm. The rest of side 1 involves three compositions with some complex lines (particularly on McRae's "Brandy as in Benj") but otherwise built around improvisations over repeated chord progressions, with excellent solos from McRea (piano) and McCormick (fuzz bass). "Gloria Gloom", the firs tune on side 2, is amazing - beginning with ethereal synth bells ala Tangerine Dream/Eno but then leading to a Canterbury-style classic of Wyatt's (where he ruminates about the socialist cause). Henry Cow would cover this tune in the middle of their "Beautiful as the Moon..." suite, which can be heard on the Henry Cow 'Concerts' album. Following this is "God Song", which is one of Wyatt's humourous yet simultaneously poignant solo pieces. Excellent and unique (you have to hear it)! (Another version of this song can be heard on the Wyatt solo collection 'Solar Flares Burn for You', which is also excellent). The rest of side 2 of the album involves band improvisations, with "Flora Fidgit" fading out and into "Smoke Signals". This is what the Softs might have sounded like without Ratledge but if Wyatt had remained. I like it better than the first Matching Mole album. I consider this an essential album for anyone who likes or is interested in the Canterbury sound. Very innovative. I actually give it 8.9 out of 10 on my 10-point scale, which is 0.1 away from 5 PA stars.

 Little Red Record by MATCHING MOLE album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.91 | 197 ratings

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Little Red Record
Matching Mole Canterbury Scene

Review by ALotOfBottle
Collaborator Heavy Prog Team

4 stars "We are determined to liberate Taiwan!"

Soon after their eponymous debut, Matching Mole hit the road and toured western Europe, appearing on various TV shows and festivals. It was at that time that David Sinclair left the band to play with Hatfield and the North and later on Caravan's For Girls Who Grow Plump in the Night. He was replaced with Dave MacRae, a jazz keyboardist from New Zealand, who was already credited as a guest on Matching Mole's debut album. In July of 1972, about half a year after their first work, the band entered the doors of London's CBS Studios to record Matching Mole's Little Red Record. The release was produced by Robert Fripp of King Crimson. In addition, the band invited Brian Eno, the pioneer synthesist, to guest on their album.

The title of the release is an allusion to Chairman Mao's Little Red Book, known as the Maoist bible of the cultural revolution period. The cover art portrays the band members on what looks like a Chinese communist propaganda poster. The inspiration for the cover painting came from a Chinese postcard with a caption that read "We are determined to liberate Taiwan!" Despite a lot of controversy, the group, in fact, had nothing to do with idea for the album art, as the drawing was designed by CBS' graphic designers. Robert Wyatt even admitted that he did not particularly like the design. Wyatt's lyrics on Little Red Record have also been an object of heated discussion. The artist declares that the fight for the righteous socialist world should also be expressed in music and confesses that his beliefs are closer to the Chinese communist world rather than the degenerated capitalist west.

Musically, Little Red Record is a quintessential Canterbury scene album. Matching Mole's style is notably different from their debut album. The group got rid of the song-oriented ballads almost entirely and introduced an even higher amount of jazz-fueled improvisation to their music. However, showcasing the group's members' musical skill does not seem to be the aim of the numerous improvisational passages that appear so frequently on Little Red Record. The heavy repeating passages, which often do provide a base for instrumental solos, create musical tension, which makes the music on this record incredibly moody and full of distinctive mysticism. The typical tongue-in-cheek, Canterbury-styled arrangements are common. This becomes evident with pre-recorded voices and sounds of various conversations played over the band's music, giving the album an eccentric appearance.

The high amount of jazz influences on Little Red Record compared to Matching Mole might partly be caused by the new keyboard player, Dave MacRae. His extensive use of Fender Rhodes electric piano adds a very fusion-esque element to the band's sound, at times similar to the one of Soft Machine. Similarly to Dave Sinclair, MacRae is extremely proficient in many diverse musical situations ranging from as far as subtle drone touches to accurate rhythm keyboard play to rapid, pronounced solo parts. Robert Wyatt's drumming is very dense. He finds himself comfortable playing heavy, varied rhythms in odd time signatures. His characteristic vocals also appear, but more often in a spoken word scenario. Although it may not seem like it at first, Bill McCormick's basslines play a crucial role in Matching Mole's sound, building a strong musical foundation for other members. David Sinclair's fuzz organ solos are replaced with those on Phil Miller's guitar, which he plays with an astonishingly precise touch. Brian Eno with his VCS3 synthesizer is responsible for ambient, electronic passages, creating striking, mystic soundscapes.

The album opens with "Starting in the Middle of the Day, We Can Drink Our Politics Away", which features a male choir supported by a repeating piano passage. The lush, surrounding organ sound builds up tension, which is discharged with a loud, rapid jazz jam on "Marchides". The next track, "Nah True's Hole" is based around a repeating pattern with a conversation in the background. In fact, the female voice belongs to Julie Christie, a famous English actress, who is credited as Flora Fidgit. The things she says are erotically-charged and work particularly well with the passage in the background. On "Righteous Rhumba", Robert Wyatt's lyrics talk about the utopian socialist vision and his repellence towards the capitalist world. "Brandy as in Benj" is a jazz-based piece, aimed at displaying the instrumental skill of Matching Mole's members. "Gloria Gloom" starts out with Brain Eno's lengthy synthesizer texture and resolves into Robert Wyatt's politically-charged song. Towards the end, Eno's input comes back, closing the song in a dark, agitating manner. "God Song", the only acoustic piece, sounds a bit like song-oriented tracks from Wyatt's solo releases. "Flora Fidgit" is another jazz jam, in ways similar to what Soft Machine were doing at the time. The album is closed with "Smoke Signal". The track features tense ambient soundscapes with Robert Wyatt's drum solo. Towards the end, one is capable of hearing soft melodies, sounding as if trying to break through, which eventually fade way.

Matching Mole's iconic Little Red Record could best be described as an eccentric political jazz statement with great musicianship. The controversy the band caused with its appearance and title may partly be responsible for its success. The concept and performance is very interesting and original. This is a legendary Canterbury scene album and is without a doubt a must-listen! Recommended!

 Matching Mole by MATCHING MOLE album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.63 | 240 ratings

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Matching Mole
Matching Mole Canterbury Scene

Review by ALotOfBottle
Collaborator Heavy Prog Team

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!

 Matching Mole by MATCHING MOLE album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.63 | 240 ratings

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Matching Mole
Matching Mole Canterbury Scene

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.

 Little Red Record by MATCHING MOLE album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.91 | 197 ratings

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Little Red Record
Matching Mole Canterbury Scene

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Robert Wyatt's brief post-SOFT MACHINE project has never really drawn me in. I can appreciate some of the humour, political commentary, and certainly the musicianship, it just never feels like something that I want to come back to. I tire of his tongue-in-cheek approach to singing and of some of the obtuse challenges his music poses to the listener. It's as if he purposely wants to test his fans for their loyalty by, at times, producing grating or cerebral music.

1. "Starting in the Middle of the Day, We Can Drink Our Politics Away" (2:31) opens the album in a very positive, exciting fashion with 'operatic' vocals of M. Wyatt performing some awesome vocalese over Dave McRAE's pretty piano play backed by Brian ENO's synthesizers. (10/10)

2. "Marchides" (8:25) is a funky, fuzzy, fuguy feeling song of avant jazz leanings. The musicianship is excellent; the bass annoys. (10.5/15)

3. "Nan True's Hole" (3:36) psycho-sexual scene played out in the foreground that not even the presence of the guitar of Robert Fripp (7/10)

4. "Righteous Rhumba" (2:50) or the "King Crimson" sound can save these two songs. (8/10)

5. "Brandy as in Benj" (4:24) babeling Robert Wyatt over some solid, good instrumental music that gets better after the babeling stops. (9/10)

6. "Gloria Gloom" (8:06) more psycho-sexuality issues on full display while the music loses its lustre and momentum a bit. (10.5/15)

7. "God Song" (2:59) acoustic guitar and electric bass play behind Robert's plaintive voice. The three sound a bit out of sync and uninspired. (6/10)

8. "Flora Fidgit" (3:26) sounds like a demo or outtake of some excercise that was decided to be used at the last minute to fill space on the final album. The keyboard work in the second minute is nice. I don't like the bass mimicking the lead melodies from guitar and keys. (6/10)

9. "Smoke Signal" (6:37) the album's excellent finale does it's best to save the otherwise mono-focused album. Nice percussion play in the first two minutes, great keyboard-led dreamscape in the middle three, and nice chord base for the finale. (9/10)

Three stars.

 Matching Mole by MATCHING MOLE album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.63 | 240 ratings

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Matching Mole
Matching Mole Canterbury Scene

Review by BORA

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 Wyatt's works and somewhat reminiscent of "Moon In June" from Soft Machine - Third. The other musicians are leading Canterbury artists with impeccable credentials and the end result is a masterpiece.

Wyatt's gentle singing soon gives way to a somewhat dark, largely improvised group effort with unmistakable jazzy elements. Beautiful layers of soundscapes created with due complexity - akin to fine, well-matured wine.

A fine blend of Psychedelic and Jazz creates an atmosphere that's bordering on tripping without using any substance. Best enjoyed after dark with the lights off. Indeed, the experience could be likened to journey after which with head still spinning one slowly returns to the mundane realities. Excellent work - and probably one of a kind achievement by all involved. A true gem!

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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