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The Soft Machine - Spaced (1969) CD (album) cover

SPACED (1969)

The Soft Machine

Canterbury Scene

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5 stars Drones and Growls, floating distortions... about as different from Softmachine 2 as it can be... Not for your typical hairyknuckled Holdsworth, or Gental Giant fan ... you can hear the timbres and naughty bits of softmachine 3 all over this thing...

Recomended for all of us perverted noise fans the world over!

Report this review (#22133)
Posted Tuesday, December 9, 2003 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars This music was very quickly recorded in 1969 as the soundtrack for a multimedia 'happening' in London, and as such was never intended as a mainstream release. There is a lot of experimentation with tape loops and odd electronic effects. According to Hugh Hopper's informative sleeve notes, the original tape lasted 90 minutes, but there were long sections of background noise that could be safely edited out.

This is all very different to the majority of their other releases, although as noted above there is some similarity with 'Third'. SOFT MACHINE were never this experimental on their 'official' albums, and as such it's a very interesting document. Don't expect jazz fusion or whimsical little songs, but if you love genuinely experimantal music this may well tickle your fancy.

Report this review (#22134)
Posted Friday, December 17, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars This may be the most demented workthe Softs ever released, at least that I've heard. This was originally composed as background for a multimedia event of this title in the time period between the second and third album; so the sense of experimentation and personal challenge for the Softs was growing exponentially. This album represents an edited version of the event comprising tape loops, sonic experiments and some of the most possessed and inspired Mike Ratledge keyboard ever commited to tape along with some pulse style drumming from Robert Wyatt. The thirty two minute fourth section is absolutely astounding;This recording captures the band growing in intellectual depth and complication stretching the improvisations into a more avant garde direction. This is an inspired performance with some fascinating improvisational experiments.
Report this review (#57029)
Posted Saturday, November 19, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars Three stars. Lucky me that I found this record, because it sounds so fresh and unique. It was very hard for me to find it on the Web for downloading a couple of years ago.

Recorded in 1969, this was a very logical step on the part of the Softs before they would craft perhaps their most mind-blowing track, the 18-minute 'Facelift' on the "Third" album (1970). And man, "Spaced" is awesome. Let me sell this to you.

The record opens with a lengthy and monotonous, yet still interesting, 'Spaced One'. All you will hear is bass humming, a wah-wah organ or bass (whichever case it may be), and the sound of drum pounding that sounds like it was slowed down on tape and wound up sounding like a train hitting the rails, which is pretty cool. All of that is followed with a track any Softs fan, big or small, should be able to recognize as a track that sounds like its twisted sibling clip from 'Facelift'. To keep your interest in it, there is a lot of backwards keyboard work accompanying the groove. Track three sounds like it has a keyboard part from 'Eamonn Andrews'. When you get to the 1:25 time-mark, you will hear something quite out-of-place because it sounds microtonal. Me personally, I'm cool with that because that part sounds to me like an ice-cream truck tune. Who is up for some ice-cream?

Now let's discuss the fourth track, a long sound collage named 'Spaced Four'. I think that everyone who enjoys the music of Klaus Schulze and Faust will find this a very interesting piece of work. It does sound like garbage. You probably know about the concept of demonic possession, right? For the first time I understood what a soundtrack to a demon possessing a garbage bin could sound like. Since you may not be able to understand this interpretation, let's try another one: a demon possessing your Windows Media Player or a CD player or whatever you would be using for playing this. Don't you think that fuzz organ sounds like some kind of a corny violin Mellotron?

The fifth track sounds a bit hilarious. It has some melancholic jazzy parts on an electric piano and a saxophone, as well as the drum parts, dubbed on one after another, that together sound suitable only for salsa dancing. Then it just gets to the point when you can't dance. The next track features even more of the band having fun in the studio. It sounds like they took 'We Did It Again' and just messed it up, playing it in a start-stop kind of way. All of that mess gets a crazy supplement from the drummer. This is a very childish effort that goes on for four minutes. To close the deal, we hear the last one of my favorites on the album, the melancholic and ambient 'Spaced Seven' featuring a backwards combo of a saxophone part and an electric piano part, where the latter sounds surprisingly poignant, thanks to the backwards tape-playing and the excellent choice of chords.

Ratings/comments (if you have to ask):

1. 'Spaced One' - ** ; 2. 'Spaced Two' - **** ; 3. 'Spaced Three' - *** ; 4. 'Spaced Four' - *** ; 5. 'Spaced Five' - *** ; 6. 'Spaced Six' - ** ; 7. 'Spaced Seven' - **** ;

Stamp: "I like it."

Report this review (#719631)
Posted Monday, April 9, 2012 | Review Permalink

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