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The Soft Machine - Bundles CD (album) cover


The Soft Machine


Canterbury Scene

4.07 | 310 ratings

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3 stars The Soft Machine - Bundles (1975)

Soft Machine started as a psychedelic/Canterbury rock band, going to progressive fusion after their second album. After a series of ground-braking fusion albums we arive at the '75 Bundles album with a totally different. Only Mike Ratlidge from the original line-up appears on this album and I myself think the band would have done some good if they had come up with a new band-name. However, there's still a line-up of brilliant jazz-rock musicians; among whom is one of the most bizarre skilled guitarist, Allan Holdsworth. Though not a melodic genius, he surely is one of the fastests guitarplayers and his special technique has been practiced by almost all other major guitarplayers. This album would prove to be a highlight of his career, his solo's are great throughout. That is, if you can stand the brilliant technical approach and lack of emotional commitment. On wind-instruments we find Karl Jenkins, also a very talented musician and my favorite of the album (only his free playing reminds me of the masterfull psychedelic jazz moments of Third).

What does Bundles have to offer? Solid, professional polished fusion with perfect musicianship but flat peformance. Moreover, the production is perfect and the composition is good, but never too exciting. This album could be pointed at as the architipel seventies polished fusion albums. All songs are instrumental. It reminds me of the conventional pieces of Return to Forever and the Gazeuse-album by Gong. Fans of these exsamples shouldn't hesitate; this album is a safe buy.

Conclusion. Good fusion & superb musicianship, but not very memorable, innovative or catchy. Recommended to fans of fusion and technical achievements on instruments. Fans of the Canterbury approach (for whom for example Gazeuse was a letdown) should look elsewhere. Three stars, can't get attached to this album though I like a lot of the instrumentation.

friso | 3/5 |


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