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The Soft Machine - Third CD (album) cover

THIRD

The Soft Machine

 

Canterbury Scene

4.21 | 696 ratings

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Queen By-Tor
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Jazz from somewhere wonderful

There are a lot of albums in the progressive scene that utilize jazz music, there's even an entire subgenre dedicated to the mix! But even with all of the albums to emerge from the Canterbury or Jazz rock scenes, Third is still one of the most solid, the most mesmerizing, and the most impressive. This is one of those albums that can simply captivate you and leave you in a state of bliss as the table turns round and round. As with other ambitious prog albums of the day this one is very ambitious and takes many listens to finally click, and with 4 songs on 4 sides this is hardly surprising. Still, it's one of the most rewarding albums out there, and well worth getting into.

Of the 4 compositions none of them are weak, but some stand out above the others. Most notable of the whole bunch is the zoned out and totally bass-driven Slightly All The Time, which for children of the '90s almost sounds like it could have been the inspiration for the soundtrack to SimCity in its groove, but at 19-minutes manages to develop enough themes and go through enough movements to be truly impressive. The other standout among the bunch is the fan-favorite, Moon In June, a gorgeous tune that happens to be the only one on the album to contain vocals. This one comes off as more of a traditional prog epic thanks to its structure as opposed to free-flowing jazz as the rest of the tracks are, but is still just as impressive with its subtle keyboards and upbeat melodies.

The other two songs on the album are just as good, if more inaccessible than the other two. The album opener Facelift gets things of to a very thick start as it goes through 5-minutes of cacophony before actually starting with some smooth saxophone which develops as the rest of the song moves along. Out-Bloody-Rageous is a challenging and smooth piece which develops somewhat more like Slightly All The Time but still manages to stay unique with its own personality and becomes a little bit more 'cynical' in sound than its brothers for some reason, but still manages to maintain the album-wide sound.

All in all this is a tough record to get into but ultimately highly rewarding. Certainly essential, this is one of those 'key-records' that everyone who has a progressive music collection should hear. All you need to know is that it's jazz funneled into a progressive outlet and expressed though excellent musicians. 5-stars out of 5 and sublimely perfect from start to finish.

Queen By-Tor | 5/5 |

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