Though they were together for a shade less than a year, Matching Mole
certainly managed to put a lot of music down on tape during their brief existence. Not only did they do two studio albums, but there were also a few live recordings made; in fact, with the release of this collection of BBC sessions, the amount of live material available by the band now exceeds their studio output. Though five of the tracks from one of the sessions included on this CD (from July 27, 1972) were issued in the mid-'90s on BBC Radio 1 Live in Concert
, this release also includes material from three additional 1972 sessions, adding up to a good value with 78 minutes in all. The sound quality is very good, even on the tracks described in the notes as "off-air" recordings, on an assortment of songs, most of which were also represented on their pair of studio LPs. There are also some numbers that didn't find their way onto those albums, notably "Lithing and Gracing" (here heard in two versions) and Kevin Ayers
' "No 'Alf Measures," a whimsically jazzy highlight of this collection. If you have other Matching Mole
live or studio releases, you'll know what to expect: cerebral jazz-rock fusion, not far from what drummer Robert Wyatt
's just-ex-group Soft Machine
were doing in the early '70s, with little in the way of conventional rock songs (and virtually nothing in the way of vocals). The witty liner notes by bassist Bill MacCormick
recounting his memories of the band are a nice bonus, even if they don't comment in much depth about the specific recordings on this disc.