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The Soft Machine - Volume Two CD (album) cover


The Soft Machine


Canterbury Scene

4.06 | 533 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars Anarchy in the UK!!!

This is the most exprimental Soft Machine record and the last one before they turned into a jazz ensemble. Kevin Ayers left the band so the softs are a three piece unit now. Describing "Volume Two" is a bit hard since it's not structured as your average record. The album was way ahead of it's time and I have no doubt this guys were influenced by Zappa as well. I see some similarities with "Absolutely Free" or "Uncle Meat" as regards structure since "Volume Two" is a constant flow of music (white noise sometimes) that is divided into two "suites": Rhythmic melodies and Esther's nose job. The record starts with an introduction in whick the band announces that they are going to delight us with The British Alphabet!! As you can see the record borders on insanity. Then we have something resembling an actual tune called "Hibou Anemone and Bear" ( those song titles are priceless) One aspect of Volume two that is worth commenting is that you can hear the jazzier style the band was embracing and would fully develop in the next couple of albums. Songs on volume two , while short , have several mood changes to keep you entertained. In that aspect this is a short but intense album. As usual , lyrics are naive and hilarious in typical Canterbury fashion. Right after that , we have the alphabet sang backwards. Hulloder has quite particular lyrics , Dada was here is sang in spanish!! ( porque no soy feeeeelliiiiizzz en la es-cue-la , es que puedo coonfiar en alguien que no esta??...) Adding a jazzy touch , quite an unique song. After two short interludes we have a number called "Out of Tunes" that ends the first suite. The song is pure white noise and it resembles "The ritual dance of the young pumpkin" by the Mothers of Invention. In all that mess , the listener may find some phrases by Caravan's "Place of my own". The second side includes the "Esther's nose job" suite which will be usually played in most concerts by the band. In this side there isn't that much cacaphony and the structure is more song orientes. There are some very beautiful vocal melodies by Robert Wyatt , the song itself is about Kevin Ayers and it's time in Spain. "Dedicated to you but you were not listening" is the only number off the album that includes guitar. "Fire engine passing" is the second part of the aftermentioned tune. "Pig/Orange skin food" has some of the funniest lyrics ever within progressive rock. The last 7 minutes of the album are more jazz oriented including loads of experimentation by Mike Ratledge, anticipating what was to come...

And if you wonder why I didn't put any paragraphs in this review... let's say that this is the only way to describe "Volume two" This is music without any form , uncohesive just like what you finished reading.

crimson87 | 5/5 |


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