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Soft Heap - Soft Head: Rogue Element CD (album) cover


Soft Heap


Canterbury Scene

3.99 | 21 ratings

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Tom Ozric
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Here is yet another Canterbury 'Super-group', Soft Head. (H)ugh Hopper on Bass, (E)lton Dean on Saxes, (A)lan Gowen on Keyboards and (D)ave Sheen on Drums. When (P)ip Pyle replaced Sheen, they obviously became Soft HEAP !! This is a live recording from 1978, and has an amazingly clear sound and great depth. The LP features 5 tunes, very Jazzy and Avant-Garde, but what else could you expect from these guys ?! Side 1 : 'Seven For Lee' (8.40) An Elton Dean composition with a 7/8 rhythm, Hopper's superb Bass riff 'stitching the canvas' for Dean to paint his colourful, blowing Saxello notes all over - dear Elton's lungs must've had the capacity of an aircraft hanger to play like this !! The song does slow down at one point to allow for Hopper's Bass solo, but returns to the 7 riff until the end. All the while, Gowen's mesmerising choice of notes on his Fender Rhodes epitomises cool shades and a lounge chair. This stuff is way too sophisticated for joss-sticks. Hopper's 'Seven Drones' (4.00) presents us with some free-form noodling, random bashings and burblings, but comes together during a brief spell in the middle of the song for an almost sentimental melody, then falls apart again. Very challenging, but engaging too. Out of the rubble emerges Gowen's tricky 'Remain So' (5.05) with virtuosic performances from all but Elton (who seemed to take a back seat for this one). Full of varying tempo's and abrupt stop/starts, the main section shows off Gowen's mastery of the Fender Rhodes and at various points, a dash of Mini-Moog. Truly tasteful and adventurous. On the flipside, another Gowen track 'C.R.R.C' (13.52) treats the listener to some seriously sultry and seductive moods, real candle-lit dinner for two (or one as is my case) music - smooth indeed, but not very exciting. Finishing up the record is another piece from Dean 'One Three Nine' (6.17), a faster paced tune with bouncy melodies, and, as always, great playing. Because of its overt Jazziness, it may only appeal to fans of Canterbury and Fusion, but it's an excellent listen indeed.
Tom Ozric | 4/5 |


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