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Soft Heap - Soft Heap CD (album) cover


Soft Heap


Canterbury Scene

3.55 | 46 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars Soft Heap were something of a short lived minor Canterbury super group. Containing members of both Soft Machine and Hatfield And The North Soft Heap was the only album released by the band, a live album A Veritable Centaur was released in 1995, and while a strong enough album it would be hard to envision where the band could move to without making the same statement all over again with regards a second Soft Heap studio release. Though live the band must have been a very different and very viable ensemble. The Soft Machine line up that featured both Hugh Hopper and Elton Dean produced arguably their most creative and exciting music, and along with drummer Pip Pyle and keyboard player Alan Gowen Soft Heap would look to have the ammunition to hark back to those days but ultimately the album never reaches the heights that might have been expected. The tunes are good, some light avant-garde prog, some jazz workouts highlighted by Elton Dean's idiosyncratic sax lines, but never get into a solid cohesive gear. Gowen does his best to add a differential layer and even recreates a Mike Ratledge type distorted line but without the ingenuity. For the most part, collectively, Soft Heap sounds like parts of Soft Machine's Fourth and 5 albums and more an attempt to recapture old glories and roll back the years rather than to stamp their authority to create a new energy and a new unit. The name Soft Heap is far too obvious. Had this line up and subsequent album emerged a few years earlier it might have been a more energised and urgent effort but for 1979 Soft Heap sounds out of time, but leaving the critical opinion to one side, Soft Heap is a good album, especially the rolling dreamy jazz of "Petit 3's" with Dean producing some sweet saxophone, but what lets it down is the obvious attempt to rehash a genuine Soft Machine vibe now that the Karl Jenkins led one had finally disbanded.
Philo | 3/5 |


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