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The Soft Machine - Jet Propelled Photographs CD (album) cover


The Soft Machine


Canterbury Scene

3.08 | 23 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars This album is reviewed elsewhere under the title FACES AND PLACES VOL. 7, and it's a collection of very early Soft Machine demos, performed by Robert Wyatt (drums and vocals), Daevid Allen (lead guitar), Kevin Ayers (bass and vocals) and Mike Ratledge (organ and piano).

Apparently Daevid Allen hates the album, and he's indignant that it is even available, as he's not happy at all about his guitar playing on some of the tracks. It's true that he sounds amateurish on cuts like "She's gone" and "I'd rather be with you", but he's delightful on the immortal "Memories" (which he later included in his BANANAMOON album); moreover, the psychedelic fuzz-guitar he employed to some effect on early Gong albums like CAMEMBERT ELECTRIQUE is immediately recognisable.

Although I'd advise everyone who simply wants to find out about the Softs to start with their first three legitimate albums, this collection will be an absolute must to anyone who already knows and enjoys the band. Not only do you get to hear a full half hour of fascinating perfomances (crisply recorded) by the band's first incarnation, you'll also recognise many key passages from the band's first two albums, as well as the immortal "Moon in June" in embryonic form, with lyrics that sound surprisingly conventional (early Beatles style, almost) and non-Dadaist. It's amazing to note that so many of Mike Ratledge's lovely keyboard arrangements are already in place (he must have written some of them in the cradle!) and it's a delight to hear such energetic, jazz-tinged singing from Robert Wyatt, with a few characteristic vocal contributions from the great Kevin Ayers thrown in for good measure.

Essential to "Canterbury" fans; just a good album to everyone else.

fuxi | 3/5 |


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