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The Soft Machine - The Soft Machine CD (album) cover

THE SOFT MACHINE

The Soft Machine

 

Canterbury Scene

4.08 | 369 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

apps79
Special Collaborator
Neo Prog Team
2 stars Legendary Canterbury band and one of the first progressive groups along with countrymen Caravan.They were formed in 1966 by former ''Wilde flowers'' members drummer Robert Wyatt and bassist/vocalist Kevin Ayers along with Mike Ratledge on keys and Daevid Allen on guitars.Soon the band had an intense live activity even outside UK, costing their shortness to a trio,as Daevid Allen was Australian and was refused reentry on English ground due to expiration of his visa.The band had to carry on and in 1968 they recorded their first self-titled album for Probe Records (and for Barclay in France),an album which succeeded several re- issues through the years to come.

We are talking about 1968 here and as expected the sound is very dated,having lost much of his freshness nowadays.However the talent of the band is certainly there.What I can absorb from this album is actually a band deeply rooted in a typical 60's psychedelic sound but with a tendency for improvisational structures.Vocal harmonies follow also the path of somewhat ''sweet'' vocal lines, sometimes they are good,sometimes they sound rather hilarious.Fortunately ''Soft machine'' was given a lot of space for instrumental music,where the band uses the improvisational mood of Jazz music without sounding jazzy at all.Wyatt is always linked with his drum kit,offering strong,tight yet schizophenic drumming with Ayers contributing with heavy bass lines.Ratledge works often on his own,adding a personal sound,which alternates between familiar psychedelic organs and experimental, almost jamming passages.Yet I'm not exactly sure if this combination of pleasant psych with experimental rock is very well balanced.

Nevertheless this is generally a good debut with the band trying to find their own identity,twisting from Psych Rock to hints of what was going to come in the future.However it will propably please more fans of late 60's psych,but it would be nice if anyone tried to seek for this legendary band's early roots.

apps79 | 2/5 |

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