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The Soft Machine - Grides CD (album) cover


The Soft Machine


Canterbury Scene

4.40 | 62 ratings

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Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer
4 stars I dedicate this review to the legendary Hugh Hopper.

This live recording took place in Amsterdam on October 25th 1970. This is the classic SOFT MACHINE lineup of Hopper, Ratledge, Dean and Wyatt. They had actually taken a break from the recording studio where they were recording "Fourth" to do a mini tour. The songs here are pretty much all from "Third" and "Fourth", although the songs from "Fourth" will sound different from the studio versions because they really weren't completed as yet. The accompanying DVD is like the holy grail for SOFT MACHINE fans because there just isn't any other video of this lineup that has been released yet. And while it may be only 20 minutes long it still gives me goosebumps to see these legends play. I'm just going to focus on the cd for this review.

The first set begins with "Facelift" and check out the fuzz to open ! It settles quickly though with piano, drums and sax while Hugh's bass throbs along. Wyatt really impresses me here. A fuller sound 1 1/2 minutes in and Ratledge is on fire ! Wyatt is relentless while Dean adds some piano here. Sax after 6 minutes as it starts to wind down. Each of the songs during this first set blend into one another. "Virtuality" features lazy sax melodies as Hopper plays tastefully. Here we go 3 1/2 minutes in as the tempo picks up and the sound gets fuller. This continues until around 8 1/2 minutes when it settles as Wyatt and Hopper continue. Sax and fuzz before 11 minutes. It's pretty laid back the rest of the way as sax and fuzz continue. Some nasty fuzz to end it. "Out-Bloody-Rageous" is more uptempo and jazzy with Dean leading the way until Ratledge comes in around a minute. Elton takes over 3 1/2 minutes in. "Neo-Caliban Grides" is a Dean track from the "Fourth" sessions that was left off that album. It's a little experimental early as sounds come and go. The main melody arrives around 2 minutes. Again Wyatt is so impressive. The melody stops and we get some wicked fuzz 6 minutes in. Chunky bass after 6 1/2 minutes. Dissonant sax and odd metered drumming to end it. Applause ends the first set.

The second set begins with "Teeth" which is sax led for a minute then everyone joins in. Sax is again all over this one 2 1/2 minutes in. Ratledge brings the fuzz after 6 1/2 minutes. "Slightly All The Time" is where Wyatt shows how intricate he can be as Ratledge creates some atmosphere. Sax, bass, piano and cymbals follow. This sounds so cool. Fuzz before 7 minutes as the tension builds slightly (haha). Nice bass after 9 minutes. Fuzz to end it. "Eamonn Andrews" is a short jazzy track. Some killer fuzz a minute in. "Esther's Nose Job" is such a good title. It opens dramatically then sax comes in. The tempo picks up before 2 minutes. Love the bass sound before 5 minutes then the fuzz returns. Elton's turn to lead. It's the Dean / Wyatt show before 10 minutes. A big applause ends it. The encore song is "Slightly All The Time / Noisette" and it's my favourite. They bring it big time for the encore. Such a deep rich sound to open before the fuzz crashes in with electric piano and drums. It settles before 3 minutes. Crazy sax 4 1/2 minutes in then it calms right down after 5 minutes. Heaviness and chaos ends it.

Thanks for all the music Hugh !

Mellotron Storm | 4/5 |


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