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The Soft Machine - Softs CD (album) cover


The Soft Machine


Canterbury Scene

3.88 | 242 ratings

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3 stars Down to just Ratledge

Apparently by the time the band entered Abbey Road in the spring of 1976 Mike Ratledge was the last remaining original member of the Machine, and in a reduced capacity at that. He performs on but two tracks. Karl Jenkins seems to be the man in charge of things at this time, writing the lion's share of the material. This album is a controversial title to fans, many of whom see it as somewhat illegitimate but others who name the title as their favorite. I think there are several very good tracks even if the overall album doesn't leave a lasting impression. This is not just a typical jazz rock album by any means-there are clearly portions that sound like quite different. Listen to the gorgeous acoustic guitar on "Aubade" which is the intro to the fabulous "The Tale of Taliesin." Tale features a relaxing, repeating piano backdrop for some gorgeous electric leads patterns that spring forth from John Etheridge. The drumming can get a bit busy in jazzy Bruford fashion leading to a shift halfway through to a harder edge fusion jam. This continues into "Ban-Ban Caliban" with some wicked jamming.really quite tasty. Then things take a turn with "Song of Aeolus" which seduces you: a quiet and gentle keyboard backdrop for sleepy leads and very slow beat. The consistency seems to wane quite a bit in the second half with some space keys attempts, a drum solo, and some wankery that puts the flash over any kind of thoughtful songwriting. So as mentioned, a few very good tracks and the rest a very mixed bag. Probably one for the fans mostly. The French SFM issue features a decent bio from that particular period. 5/10

Finnforest | 3/5 |


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