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The Soft Machine - Third CD (album) cover

THIRD

The Soft Machine

 

Canterbury Scene

4.21 | 652 ratings

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EMLonergan
5 stars This album is arguably the highpoint of Soft Machine's music, being among all the albums that they released, the most experimental, most free flowing, creative and imaginative one. At first, an unusual and hard to absorb form of music, that would seem to push the limits of jazz itself, with long, non-linear compositions and eccentric timbres. This may be very displeasing to the casual listener, however, this very same eccentricity would turn out to be the one thing that allows this album to be so brilliant.

This album shows a departure from the psychedelic pop format that was present in one and two, and represents the blossoming of all the inner talent that the musicians could possibly squeeze out of themselves, and shows the surfacing of the one thing that truly matters in music: Imagination. Listening to this album would put you in a state of jazzy bliss, would you ever venture to the point of attempting to really eliminate the barriers that one can build between oneself and the music. This is NOT ready made music. It requires you to open up the pop-shaped mind that develops after so many years of sugar-coated music. The reward is tremendous. Not only does this allow you to enjoy the very spirit of the music of this album, but it opens the eyes of those who are used to songs of such easy accessibility that lack, in consequence, real personality and character because they choose to follow the restricted formulas of popular music. Of course accessibility has an upside, but the benefits of being able to enjoy less accessible music are infinitely superior, given the fact that the pop shaped songs limit the music tremendously, strangling the very soul of the music. This album represents the most perfect example for the argument that favors less accessible music.

The leading characteristic that makes people love or hate this album is the improvisational touch that results from the artists decision to make music with absolute freedom, allowing every drop of talent and creativity to be added into the musical mixture without any limitations whatsoever. The result is a form of Progressive-Free-Jazz Rock that is unseen in any other musical scenario and deserves to be well rated for its originality and uniqueness. Robert Wyatt's drum work is amazingly complex and well thought out in this record, the saxophones are perfectly used as solo instruments as they dictate the melody, Mike Rattledge plays the keyboards supporting the melodic structure just as well as he develops endless, dazzling solos. Hugh Hoppers bass playing is equally amazing as the phrases never repeat themselves and shift key accurately. Finally, the sound effects must be mentioned. Most of the tracks have long, intricate intros, that make perfect use of the psychedelia that was born in the first two albums, but this time, there is no conflict between the musical elements, and they are well combined. Psychedelia works well with Jazz, pop doesn't.

Generally speaking, this is the work of art that shows all of Soft Machines potential at it's maximum, being unique not only within all of the music that the band has produced, but also within its entire musical parameters. 5 well deserved stars for this album.

EMLonergan | 5/5 |

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