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The Soft Machine - Fourth CD (album) cover

FOURTH

The Soft Machine

 

Canterbury Scene

3.46 | 226 ratings

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Oneiromancer
4 stars Clearly an extension of Third, Fourth pushes Robert Wyatt vocals away and heads towards free-jazz. This is a particurlarly important point at the Softs career, seen that they seem to have "spent" all the inspiration here (leading to their poorest effort, which in IMHO is Fifth): Ratledge's intense, dynamic and breath-taking "Teeth" is arguably an early-Fusion masterpiece, and Hopper, who wrote more than a half of the album, explores either gorgeous atmospheres (particurlarly on the fuzzy organ and a very sensitive sax work) either short and ever changing moods on Virtually. Both songs shouldn't let the listener down or bore him such as Fifth.

Kings And Queens and Fletcher's Blemish, however, are a deception. The former, penned by Hopper, is somewhat repetitive and dry, which give a hint of his later compositions on Soft Machine and his subsequent leaving. And the latter song was written, if I am not mistaken, by Elton Dean. His approach to avant-garde and atonalism surfaces here for good and, unless you enjoy that sort of music, most people are likely to find almost annoying or even acuse it of not being music at all.

As the album consists of about 30 minutes of Hopper and Ratledge greatest work (along with Third and Volume Two, although the latter is very different), I wouldn't take very long to recomend it to any "regular" proghead or jazz/fusion lover. Have fun!

Oneiromancer | 4/5 |

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