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The Soft Machine - Third CD (album) cover

THIRD

The Soft Machine

 

Canterbury Scene

4.21 | 680 ratings

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UMUR
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Third is the ( yes youīre right) third album from The Soft Machine. One of the most influential Canterbury scene bands. I really enjoy their two first albums which have the whimsical Canterbury vocal style and the soft jazz/ rock style ( and a shot of psychadelia) that characterizes that style. This third album is pretty far from that style though to my great disappointment. Soft Machine have changed into a jamming jazz/ rock combo with the emphasis on jazz. Now I ainīt that big a fan of jazz music unless itīs incorporated into rock and itīs the rock music that is the dominant part and I must say that Iīm very biased towards this album. There is a great influence from Miles Davis Bitches Brew album here that canīt be denied even though The Soft Machine is of course still rooted in Canterbury.

The album consists of four tracks which are all very long ( 18 - 19 minutes). Facelift starts the album and itīs the worst song here IMO. Lots of noisy organ sounds start the song. This intolerable noise lasts for a lot of minutes before some real music kicks in. Besides the enjoyable jazz themes which are primarely played by the brass section this song consists of endless be-bop/ free jazz soloing that I canīt stand. For me Facelift is a really bad start to Third. I almost stopped listening after that song. Slightly all the Time is a bit more moderate jazz/ rock but Iīm still not enjoying myself much.

Moon in June is clearly the best song on Third. First of all it has vocals from Robert Wyatt and it has a much more dark and psychadelic mood. There are many great parts in this song ( just listen to Hugh Hopperīs bass playing. Itīs really great) but also some annoying parts. Overall itīs a great song though. Out-Bloody-Rageous is allright but again too jazzy for me.

The musicianship is outstanding and one of the things I do enjoy when listening to Third. Robert Wyatt is an adventurous drummer, and the same can be said about bassist Hugh Hopper and keyboardist Mike Ratledge. To explore new ground is the key sentence on Third. Both structurelly and style wise. There are lots of different brass players on the album and they all play a big part in the new sound of The Soft Machine.

The production is very good.

Over 70 minutes of music is a lot to swallow and it has taken me some time to get through Third. I think itīs a very inaccessible album, but it has grown a little on me since my initial listening session. It will probably never be my favorite Soft Machine album ( that spot is reserved for Volume 2) but I know that it will grow even more on me if I keep listening. It started out as a 2 star album for me, but since I can hear potential and it has grown a bit on me I will rate it 3 stars. Iīm a bit undecided though so I might up- or downgrade Third in the future.

UMUR | 3/5 |

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