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The Soft Machine - Fourth CD (album) cover


The Soft Machine


Canterbury Scene

3.49 | 305 ratings

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the philosopher
3 stars Robert Wyatt's last record with the Soft Machine, although you will not hear his presence. In this stage the Soft Machine has turned into a jazzrock/ fusion group much like the 2nd and fourth composition on Third. No vocals and no psychedelic influences anymore. This was the main reason for Robert Wyatt to leave this great group.

In comparison with the Third this record is far less avant-garde, but more abstract. There are no repeating catchy melodies anymore. Because of this it did last much longer for me to appreciate it, but it finally did. The first side contains three compositions with different speed and moods. There is some nice interaction between the saxophonist Elton Dean and the key player Mike Ratledge.

Hugh Hopper is the main composer of the Fourth. Instead of his incredible "Facelift" on the Third these compositions are not avant-garde, but jazzrock. The compositions on the second side are even a bit tame, with some moments for some easy bassnotes; Hugh Hopper is the bassist after all!

This record is not the sought after follow up of the Third. It's still quiet good, but is less memorable and impressive. The musicianship is great, but for my taste it get's a bit too abstract . Some more influences of Wyatt should have done it some good...

the philosopher | 3/5 |


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