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The Soft Machine - Softs CD (album) cover


The Soft Machine


Canterbury Scene

3.88 | 242 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars Whether this collection of well schooled musicians should have been flying under the name Soft Machine at this stage is debatable. The music bears no resemblance to the early Avant Garde semi jazz noise created by Elton Dean, Hugh Hopper, Mike Ratledge and Robert Wyatt and most prominent on their most known album Third. Of this unique quartet only Ratledge survives to make it to Softs and only features on two cuts and even then as a special guest. As the Soft Machine developed each new musician entering the ranks became more technical and the Softs became a very disciplined outfit. But with that discipline came sacrifices. The loose free form jams and originality of the earlier music was now redundant. Instead the music became more tightly structured and the music condensed into shorter more accessible formats. Softs is a good album, a good incidental album with a more focused and forgiving production than what had graced the Bundles album. Alan Holdsworth has been replaced by John Etheridge on guitar but the difference if minimal but equal in flair yet with very little passion. Personally I prefer Soft Machine without guitar and miss the wild soloing by Elton Dean jamming and riffing along with Ratledge. Not a true Soft Machine album but the Karl Jenkins led group made a decent enough album in Softs which could be best described as Acid Muzak with a solid progression.
Philo | 3/5 |


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