This gem from the archives has never been formally released yet contains the basis of the work that Wyatt was to produce with Soft Machine in the years to follow. A long way from Ship Building, ’68 is a collection of four pieces recorded in the US after the ‘Softs’ had finished a tour of that country in support of Jimi Hendrix. There is a reference to this in the line ‘Thank you Noel and Mitch’ from the epic ‘Rivmic Melodies’, an 18 minute tour of musical possibilities often with only Wyatt’s voice and drums, but joined by pianos among other instruments. It contains ‘The British Alphabet’, which is proper Zappa zany and a shade tiresome but Wyatt’s sense of humour keeps you interested enough to persist to the better parts, of which there are many. The other extended work out is ‘Moon in June’ which showed up on Soft Machine’s Third. This contains some highly melodic ramblings in a style that could be termed loose, yet is intriguing at the same time.
In terms of content ’68 is something of a demo but the sound quality is anything but considering its vintage. Something of a must have for any student of formative jazz/rock, this is also a great example of Wyatt’s remarkable imaginative flair and innate humanity.