On their rousing new live disc for MoonJune, Live Adventures
, SML covers more vintage Soft Machine repertoire than on previous releases, yet reinvigorates the tunes by means of fresh arrangements and expansive, protean improvisation. Soft Machine partisans will rejoice at the inclusion of such repertory gems as Gesolreut
, in which the band lays bare the funky heart of its signature elliptical ostinato with steaming soli and propulsive grooves; As If
, an oblique rereading of the Mike Ratledge piece marked by spectral guitar shadings and Travis's shakuhachi-like flute etchings; and the stirring, elegiac Song of Aeolus
. And fittingly, the band pays heartfelt tribute to the dearly departed Hugh Hopper with a rendition of his iconic Facelift
, artfully investigating the intricate twists and turns of its singular long-form melody. This is no potted history of Soft Machine, but a living, breathing music.