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The Soft Machine - Seven CD (album) cover

SEVEN

The Soft Machine

 

Canterbury Scene

3.59 | 162 ratings

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daveconn
Prog Reviewer
3 stars SOFT MACHINE settles into a sedate mix of jazz and progressive rock on "Seven", suggesting the mellower side of KING CRIMSON and CAMEL minus the vocal identity. The tracks usually fade into one another, separated by short instrumental segues and occasionally veering into different directions during a single song, led by KARL JENKINS' solos and MIKE RATLEDGE's keyboard patterns. Drummer JOHN MARSHALL takes the spotlight for "D.I.S." but otherwise remains in the background, as does bassist ROY BABBINGTON; for the most part, it's Ratledge who anchors the material. Compared to the work of, say, BRAND X, "Seven" is a dreamy affair, making use of mesmerizing keyboards, percussive effects that evoke wind chimes, bubbling basswork, and horns that occasionally approach the phrasing of a violin (in fact, JEAN-LUC PONTY fans may find this music reassuringly similar). Although the band generates some interesting grooves on "Tarabos" and "Down the Road", even these are contained in well-defined borders.

"Seven" does not boast stunning solos or grandiose ideas; it's understated but effective as a collage of small, soft pieces placed together. Though hardly a jewel in the genre, and limited by a lack of fresh ideas, at least it's not standoffishly noisy.

daveconn | 3/5 |

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