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The Soft Machine - Fourth CD (album) cover


The Soft Machine


Canterbury Scene

3.49 | 305 ratings

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Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer
4 stars I think the reason I like this album so much is because Hopper composed most of it. This is very jazzy, but at at the same time it's not normal Jazz. There are lots of dissonant and Avant-garde passages plus some Free-Jazz improvs which makes this a little difficult to digest if your not into this style of music. This is SOFT MACHINE's first all-instrumental album much to Wyatt's disappointment. He would leave after this recording.

"Teeth" is a Ratledge composition and it does have it's moments (haha). Keys, drums and sax are quite prominant early as we get outbursts of sounds until a steady melody arrives with throbbing bass. Sax leads the way though. Very jazzy. It stops before 3 1/2 minutes and then we get blasted with sounds including fuzz. Keys lead the way 4 1/2 minutes in but the music changes so often. Ratledge does lead the way though from 6 1/2 minutes in to the end with some fuzzed out organ runs. "Kings And Queens" is a Hopper tune. This is perhaps my favourite along with parts of "Virtuality". This one is dark with some atmosphere. Wyatt really shines with his intricate drum work. Sax comes and goes. The piano is reserved and the bass is subtle. Some dissonant sax late. "Fletcher's Blemish" is such a unique title. It fits the music though. This is Elton Dean's baby, and the Free-Jazz maestro offers up just that, a Free-Jazz improv. Avant-garde is the word folks.

"Virtuality" is divided into 4 parts and takes up side two of the album. This is Hopper's suite. Part 1 features some alto sax as Wyatt keeps very busy. He seems to shine on the Hopper tunes. The sax stops as bass comes in around 1 1/2 minutes, the sound is very reserved. Keys also join in around 3 minutes as it seems to build. A fuller sound 4 1/2 minutes in as sax returns. Part 2 opens with fuzz organ and horns. The sax and drums become more prominant. This continues until we get more of a melody after 3 1/2 minutes. This sax led passage continues to the end of this part. Part 3 really does't have a lot going on. This is darker and more atmospheric. I like it. Lots of fuzz bass 2 minutes in to the end of this part with atmospheric keys helping out. Nice. Part 4 continues with the almost spacey vibe as atmospheric keys, bass and sax all play in such a laid back style. The sounds slowly build. Then it ends.

A solid 4 star album for me. I find this one adventerous at times but always rewarding.

Mellotron Storm | 4/5 |


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