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The Soft Machine - The Peel Sessions CD (album) cover


The Soft Machine


Canterbury Scene

4.02 | 41 ratings

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4 stars This is less a review, more a footnote to the wise words from other contributors.

The crown jewels of this collection are the John Peel session Soft Machine recorded as a septet with four horn players borrowed from Keith Tippett. It is the only available recording of this line-up. The themes are endlessly fascinating, the horn arrangements revelatory and the solos much more focussed than later, perhaps less effective recordings of the same material. Every player is on top form and the band swing like mad, no matter how far they stray into exotic time signatures and strange harmonic landscapes.

The session was recorded as a single, organic 20 minute set that started with Mousetrap/Noisette/Backwards and ended with Esther's Nose Job. On this release, and the earlier Triple Echo vinyl, the performance was inexplicably butchered by splitting it into two tracks and then placing them in the wrong order!

If you want this seminal work exactly as recorded in 1969, buy the BBC Radio 1967- 1971 collection on the Hux label rather than this compilation.

| 4/5 |


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