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The Soft Machine - Fourth CD (album) cover

FOURTH

The Soft Machine

 

Canterbury Scene

3.46 | 224 ratings

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progismylife
3 stars Even before Robert Wyatt leaves Soft Machine distinct changes can be heard. The first thing that is noticeable is the big step towards jazz/rock. This album is dominated by Hugh Hopper's compositions which is a good thing since I feel that Ratledge's contribution (Teeth) seems to lack any bite when compared to Hopper's Virtually suite. The only thing that saves the opening tack from being a dull intro to an otherwise great album is Elton Dean's playing and Roy Babbington's double bass contributions.

This travesty is soon countered by the following track, Kings and Queens. This is one of my favourite Hopper penned songs. The repetitive bass line keeps the song in order and doesn't have extreme changes in sound like the previous song did. Following is Elton Dean's song Fletcher's Blemish. This one is a good outlet for Dean's free jazz style playing and is highly enjoyable even if it lacks a bit of centrality

Now for my favourite part of this album, the Virtually suite. One of Hopper's finer moments. These four tracks more than make up for the lag felt by Teeth. The prominent bass playing from Hopper is superb. The one thing this suite lacks is an ending.

Overall this is a great album for those who like the jazzier side of the Canterbury Scene. The music is great with a few blights here and there, but is mostly up to standard. Something that irked me is how Wyatt's playing seems to be shunted to one side and not given enough attention. A great album, but a downer after the superb Third. 3.5/5 stars.

progismylife | 3/5 |

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