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Soft Machine Legacy - Burden Of Proof CD (album) cover


Soft Machine Legacy


Canterbury Scene

3.79 | 47 ratings

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4 stars Wow, Why have I've been missing this for years?

After almost 40 years of listening Progressive Rock, that regional sub-genre called "Canterbury Scene" has remained as a mystery unsolved for me. It is Prog, no doubt about this, but is it also Jazz, Psychedelia or Folk? Maybe is it a delicate blend of all the previous tags. Well each band is a totally different universe, in this case SOFT MACHINE LEGACY combines elements of Jazz, Psyche, a hint of Folk and Rock, with unusual dexterity, to the point that a Symphonic fanatic as me, enjoyed their latest release Burden of Proof from start to end despite not being my first option of music.

When opened the album that Leonardo Pavkovic from "Moonjune Records" kindly sent me, was surprised to find that since the release of Steam, the solid bassist Hugh Hopper was no longer with them (Just learned last week he had passed away), but no matter how much I liked his style and recognize his abilities, I find that Roy Babbington is simply amazing.

It's also refreshing to find that despite the years of activity, the band is able to evolve, if Steam was almost exclusively Jazz, Burden of Proof is a fantastic combination of sounds, styles, genres and moods that takes the listener trough different musical soundscapes that seem to have been created to be fused. There's no time for rest, each song and passage is a different surprise.

It's hard for me to make a song by song review, not being an expert in the genre, but I know what I like so will mention some of my favorite songs, starting with the elaborate opener Burden of Proof where John Etheridge interplays with Roy Babbington, while Theo Travis is allowed to wander to add the magic and John Marshal in the drums is like the glue that keeps the individual efforts together. Simply delightful.

Of course I have to mention Kitto, a chance for John Etheridge to demonstrate how skilled he is. What I found surprising is the unusual atmosphere he creates, something I would expect more in Terje Rypdal, but as I said before, this musicians are really versatile and able to musically satisfy listeners of different genres.......1.50 minutes of refreshing and adventurous music.

The complex Kings and Queens is another favorite, because they leave Jazz territory in order to offer us an oneiric Psychedelic trip that reminds me of early Proto Prog, but this time with a sweet and mysterious flute to add a folksy touch. Prog fans will be delighted with this marvelous song.

Last but not least, I need to mention the mind-blowing Black and Crimson, an extremely interesting experiment, where Etheridge sticks to a Santana oriented melody, while Babbington, Travis and Marshal are liberated from any tie to the main theme and allowed to do whatever they want in Free Jazz style. Please pay special attention to Babbington's performance, because it's breathtaking.

The fact that I mention only a few tracks doesn't mean that I don't like the others (Damn, I forgot the frantic Green Cubes), because all the material in the album is extremely interesting with no weak moments, but if I were to mention all musical pieces, would need several pages and would be impossible to read due to the length.

The rating is only an anecdote, because if I could I'd go with 4.5 stars, but being that Prog Archive only admits full stars, will go with 4.

Ivan_Melgar_M | 4/5 |


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