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The Soft Machine - Floating World Live (Bremen 1975) CD (album) cover

FLOATING WORLD LIVE (BREMEN 1975)

The Soft Machine

 

Canterbury Scene

3.80 | 29 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Squire Jaco
4 stars This is my favorite period of Soft Machine (which frequently puts me in the minority among my colleagues), I'm a huge prog/jazz fusion fan, and Allan Holdsworth is one of my favorite guitarists. Unfortunately, this cd does not live up to much of the hype associated with it. Do not buy this cd if you just expect to hear "non-stop jams" or a live concert of AH backed by members of Soft Machine. Yes, AH charges out of the gate with some searing guitar runs through the first few songs of the album, especially "Bundles" and "Land of the Bag Snake". But then you sort of lose sight of him for long stretches in the middle of the album where other players' solos and a mix of softer jazz take over. That's where this album faltered for me.

Not that AH is the only star here - he's not. But let's face it, Ratledge's annoying 6-minute keyboard solo "North Point" is a real distraction, sounding like a cross between a pinball game and Pong. And while I love drums and think that Marshall is a fine drummer, I've rarely heard a drum solo longer than 3 minutes that I could enjoy. His drum solo is 10 minutes long. Too long. The best of the non-AH solos is Babbington's distorted bass guitar solo, though (again) 6 minutes gets to be kind of a drag. The album ends strong with the funkier jams "Riff III" and "Endgame" that sandwich around the more Camel-like "Song of Aeolus".

This album is of interest to those who need to hear a blossoming AH jamming through the unique prog/jazz of mid-70's Soft Machine, and there is at least 45 minutes of music here that I really enjoyed. The production is good, and the band plays well off of each other. But I actually like the "British Tour '75" cd better, featuring guitarist John Etheridge instead of AH (I know - sacrilege!). There you'll find some simply stunning guitar workouts all the way through, including the ENTIRE Hazard Profile. (Note: You won't escape the 10-minute drum solo there either. Or a 4-minute "Space-Invaders"-like keyboard solo. Dang!)

For me, the moments of excitement and awe were too often interrupted with overlong self- indulgences and a lack of inspiration. I really wanted to like this more...

Squire Jaco | 4/5 |

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