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The Soft Machine - Third CD (album) cover

THIRD

The Soft Machine

 

Canterbury Scene

4.21 | 677 ratings

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colorofmoney91
Prog Reviewer
5 stars Third by Soft Machine is one of my favorite jazz-fusion albums of all time. Though by a band with roots firmly planted in the Canterbury scene, I consider this particular album to be extremely strong jazz fusion.

"Facelift" starts off abrasive and noisy with bleak electronic that would immediately shut most people off to this album and band for good. But wait, it gets much better! Though I find this noise to be interesting, more interesting droney instrumentation soon follows. Okay, maybe not accessible at all. If you're looking for anything accessible, you can safely skip the rest of this review and start looking for other music to listen to. However, if you're looking for some fantastic jazz-fusion jamming a-la-Miles Davis then this is where you want to be, for sure. The following passages of this track contain some of the bouncy Canterbury feel of songs by Caravan, it is strongly topped with heavy jazz sax barking and funky bass jives. A beautiful jazz flute solo enters eventually and really sets the mood for the latter half of the track, which sounds like the softer parts of Miles Davis' Bitches Brew or In A Silent Way. The bass leads a fantastic groove the whole way through during another wild sax improvisation.

"Slightly All The Time" is my personal favorite track of the album, following a much more subdued sound with another fantastic bass line while the sax improvises over lightly. One thing that I never usually comment on is drumming, because I don't know much about percussion at all, bu the drums on this track always sound absolutely perfect to me. The track picks up pace a bit near the center, but it still equally as soothing as before, only this time with beautiful flute improv fluttering in the scene. Shortly the track become dark and adopts an almost creepy sound, giving of the feel of an abandoned castle. Very atmospheric for jazz fusion. The last passage is mostly beautiful smooth jazz fusion that evolves to end the song in hard fusion sax mode.

"Moon in June" is my least favorite on the album because of the inclusion of vocals, but it still manages to be quite beautiful. I consider the vocals on this track to be very juvenile, but the music that backs the vocals is great and would definitely stand better on their own, and there is even a fantastic guitar improv during in between one of the vocal verses. When the vocals take a break, the keys take over in an absolutely beautiful passage right before heavy guitars introduce a racey guitar improv solo backed by more funky bass and staccato keys. The track ends in bizarre avant sounds.

I'm not going to bother outlining the last track, because this is jazz fusion and I'm sure you get the point. The last track isn't much different than the other tracks present on this album, needless to say that it also is fantastic and very beautiful.

Most jazz fusion fans with a love for Miles Davis' electric era will find a lot to love here, but this music is slightly more progressive in structure than work by Davis. I highly recommend this to my fellow jazzy proggers.

colorofmoney91 | 5/5 |

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