Newly-remastered footage of pioneering British psych outfit Soft Machine is headed for release as Facelift France and Holland. The three-CD/DVD set will arrive on March 25th via Cuneiform Records and showcases the earliest known footage of the 1960s Canterbury group.
After emerging as forefathers of the 60’s psychedelic movement across the pond in 1966—sharing the stage with Pink Floyd, Jimi Hendrix, and more—Soft Machine reached the dawn of a new decade in 1970. The band moved toward a more eclectic jazz-rock sound and also scaled back personnel to a modest quintet of Mike Ratledge (keyboards, flute), Robert Wyatt (drums, vocals), Hugh Hopper (bass, guitar, alto sax), and Elton Dean (alto saxophone, saxello, flute, keyboards), with contributions from Lyn Dobson (soprano saxophone, flute, harmonica, vocals). With this lineup—which would last from January to March 1970—the band performed at Paris’ Théâtre de la Musique on March 2nd, footage of which comprises the meat of the release.
Facelift France and Holland contains the only known video of the five-piece lineup. Though bits and pieces of the set exist on YouTube, this will mark the first official release of the entire show, originally broadcast by France’s Pop 2. Footage of the concert was also previously released in 2008 on Live In Paris 1970, but archivists have gone through the original footage once again to improve video quality as well as remove soundtrack issues including fake applause and hard edits.
The new release includes the only professionally-recorded performance of “Out-Bloody-Rageous” with Dobson on second saxophone. It also contains the only professionally-recorded performance by the quintet of “Facelift”, with the second appearing on the group’s breakthrough album Third, released in June 1970. In addition to the March 1970 concert in Paris, Facelift France and Holland also hosts a previously-unreleased performance at Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw on January 17th. Cuneiform
Facelift France And Holland – SOFT MACHINE