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The Soft Machine - Virtually CD (album) cover


The Soft Machine


Canterbury Scene

3.70 | 37 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
3 stars In the last two weeks I have reviewed a few posthumous live recording of SM , and found a few superb albums that every Machine fan shopuld own! However I do not think this is one of them although the line-up present here is a classic one. The recording date should be among the last that Robert Wyatt played with them, before getting "sacked" (on his own admission Wyatt realized later that SM was the band that made him miserable) by Ratledge who did not like his singing.

I think that this night in Hamburg was definitely not one of their best unless you are into Elton Dean's work. Clearly he had taken over the band - maybe not in writing credits , but certainly in influences and he will soon be responsible for the hiring of Phil Howard as replacement of Wyatt, the band taking an even worse twist towards free-jazz , before Howard getting fired by Hopper and Ratledge. In theses tapes Dean is all over with his sometimes disciordant sax improvs and his rather good El piano in doubling Ratledge, but really , the track listing however interesting it might be is unfortunately very deceiving (IMHO) and most tracks being played in a much better version elsewhere but on this album. For once , Cuneiform releases a sub-par album (this remains a personal view point , because I have met fans who think this album is one of their best) , but this ios an exception. IMHO , you might want to try Noisette or Live In France.

Sean Trane | 3/5 |


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