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The Soft Machine - Backwards CD (album) cover


The Soft Machine


Canterbury Scene

3.45 | 38 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

4 stars Well, the quality of the posthumous Soft Machine live albums never fails to amaze me. There are some truly duds among them. But the overall quality is great.

This is strictly not a true live album. It is more a compilation album of three recordings, going backwards from the most recent to the oldest stuff. A very smart way of presenting these recordings in my view.

The party starts with an absolute amazing version of Facelift. I should now hasten to add that the line up is the classic Ratledge, Dean, Hopper & Wyatt lineup. The ultimate Soft Machine lineup, in my view. I don't think many would argue with that view though. They creates a monster version of Facelift, full of life and dynamics. Simply stunning.

A rather short, but sweet version of Moon in June follows. Again, a very dynamic version. Another shortish version of a 3rd number, Esther's Nose Job follows on from that one again. A very good version of this Soft Machine standard song, it is. All in all, these three songs taken from Third is simply excellent and proves why this band was/is so great.

The archive stuff continues with a short version of Facelift before we dip into Hibou Anemone and Bear for some minutes. The version of Facelift still contains the best of this song, but it is not that dynamic and is really lacking the x-factor the original has. Not to mention the x-factor from the first version on this album.

The final track and the oldest track is a rather space rock version of Moon in June. This is the twenty minutes long demo version of this classic song and is alone worth the whole purchase price of this album. The difference between this version and the version appearing on Third is like the difference between an eagle and a shark. Robert Wyatt sings in a whimsical way and the jazz stuff is very much in the background. Elton Dean too is missing. That is not a good thing. But yet again; this song highlights what Soft Machine could had been if they had continued down the space rock path instead of going the way Elton Dean wanted. I prefer Elton Dean and the Third album. But this version of Moon In June is really interesting and cast a different light on Soft Machine, the band and the legend.

In short; Backwards is a very interesting album. The first three tracks are excellent on their own. The Moon In June demo alone justifies this album. This is not a fully blooded live album though. It is more a historical artifact and that is how it should be treated. .......And it contains some cracking excellent music too.

4 stars

toroddfuglesteg | 4/5 |


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