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The Soft Machine - Live At Henie Onstad Art Centre CD (album) cover


The Soft Machine


Canterbury Scene

4.19 | 28 ratings

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4 stars Last decade was rich on Soft Machine's archival releases from classic period, but it's nice there are still unknown gems coming to market again and again. "Live at Henie Onstad Arts Centre 1971 " was recorded between Third and Four studio albums and mostly based on material from them both.

Usually great archival Soft Machine's releases comes from Cuneiform or MoonJune labels, but this album is released by less-known Toronto-based Reel label (and re-released by Norwegian Smalltown Superjazzz for Europe a year later) - and the release is surprisingly good! Sound quality and mastering are great both, and even if track-list isn't very unique, this recording contains possibly the most complete band's concert recordings from their classical period ever.

The release contains two live sets,each on separate CD, with rarely full concert sound (many similar recordings come from broadcasting archives or other small venues),with great hall acoustics. Band shows their rock energy in full, but at the same time you can hear their most continued sound experiments there. Both sets of compositions start with the modal tape looping experiments (influenced by Terry Riley),and it takes quite a big part of all concert's time.

Then both sets continue with complex and inspired jazz rocking jams,demonstrating band at its best.Soft Machine are in their classic line up as quartet, music is full of Elton dean sax solo improvs and Ratledge dynamic keyboards sound,but all musicians have enough space for improvisation there.The band's line-up,presented there on this live recordings,will be changed very soon, but this double CD is excellent evidence how great they were as live improvisational jazz rock band at the top of their career.

snobb | 4/5 |


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