Friday, August 24, 2012

OSCILLATIONS: "Moon in June" by Soft Machine

This side long track (19:11) from Soft Machine's THIRD album (a double!) at first seems indicative of the psychedelic excesses of the late sixties and early seventies until you sit down and give it a careful listen.  It's a manifesto of sorts,   as it creatively tramples the cliches inherent in its title in three distinct sections.  The first is the last of Soft Machine's forays into vocal music,  with drummer Robert Wyatt providing a suitably sensual lyric as introduction:

On a dilemma between what I need and what I just want
Between your thighs I feel a sensation
How long can I resist the temptation?
I've got my bird, you've got your man
So who else do we need, really?

Now I'm here, I may as well put my other hand in yours
While we decide how far to go and if we've got time to do it now
And if it's half as good for you as it is for me
Then you won't mind if we lie down for a while, just for a while
Till all the thing I want is need
Till all the thing I want is need

I want you more than ever now
We're on the floor, and you want more, and I feel almost sure
That cause now we've agreed, that we got what we need
Then all the thing us needs is wanting

I realized when I saw you last
We've been together now and then
From time to time - just here and there
Now I know how it feels from my hair to my heels
To have you on the horns of my dilemma
- Oh! Wait a minute! -

Over - Up - Over - Up - ... Down
Down - Over - Up - Over - ... Up

Living can be lovely, here in New York State
Ah, but I wish that I were home
And I wish I were home again - back home again, home again

There are places and people that I'm so glad to have seen
Ah, but I miss the trees, and I wish that I were home again
Back home again

The sun shines here all summer
Its nice cause you can get quite brown
Ah, but I miss the rain - ticky tacky ticky
And I wish that I were home again - home again, home again...

Living is easy here in New York State
Ah, but I wish that I were home again

Just before we go on to the next part of our song
Let's all make sure we've got the time
Music-making still performs the normal functions -
background noise for people scheming, seducing, revolting and teaching
That's all right by me, don't think that I'm complaining
After all, it's only leisure time, isn't it?

Now I love your eyes - see how the time flies
She's learning to hate, but it's just too late for me
It was the same with her love
It just wasn't enough for me
But before this feeling dies
Remember how distance can tell lies!

You can almost see her eyes, is it me she despises or you?
You're awfully nice to me and I'm sure you can see what her game is
She sees you in her place, just as if it's a race
And you're winning, and you're winning
She just can't undertsand that for me everything's just beginning
Until I get more homesick
So before this feeling dies, remember how distance tells us lies...

Singing a song in the morning
Singing it again at night
Don't really know what I'm singing about
But it makes me feel all right

His seemingly stream of consciousness singing/talking/scatting works well in this context, but must really be heard to understand the genius of Wyatt's lyrics and delivery,  and provides a suitable gateway for Hugh Hopper's fluid fuzz bass and Mike Ratledge's traumatically distorted organ sound to blast through. The expanded lineup at work here includes future Soft's mainstay Elton Dean on saxophone and saxello, among other wonderful british players.  The superb jazz/rock/experimental hybrid of the second section eventually gives way to a tape manipulated drone that brings an entropic end to a wonderfully realized "song".  Pataphysics never sounded so good.

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