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The Soft Machine

Canterbury Scene

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The Soft Machine Six/Seven album cover
3.39 | 11 ratings | 4 reviews | 0% 5 stars

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Boxset/Compilation, released in 2004

Songs / Tracks Listing

CD 1 - 75:59
1. Fanfare (0:42)
2. All White (4:47)
3. Between (2:26)
4. Riff (4:30)
5. 37 1/2 (6:50)
6. Gesolreut (6:14)
7. EPV (2:46)
8. Lefty (5:00)
9. Stumble (1:36)
10. 5 From 13 (5:18)
11. Riff II (1:24)
12. Soft Weed Factor (11:11)
13. Stanley Stamp's Gibbon Album (5:56)
14. Chloe And The Pirates (9:26)
15. 1983 (7:53)

CD 2 - 43:10
1. Nettle bed (4:51)
2. Carol Ann (3:44)
3. Day's eye (5:05)
4. Bone fire (0:33)
5. Tarabos (4:30)
6. D.I.S. (3:02)
7. Snodland (1:51)
8. Penny hitch (6:38)
9. Block (4:18)
10. Down the road (5:48)
11. German lesson (1:50)
12. French lesson (1:00)

Total Time: 119:09

Line-up / Musicians

- Hugh Hopper / bass, sound effects (CD 1)
- Roy Babbington / acoustic & electric bass (CD 2)
- Karl Jenkins / oboe, baritone & soprano saxophone, recorder, piano, celeste
- John Marshall / drums, percussion
- Mike Ratledge / piano, celeste, organ, synthesizer

Releases information

Demon Records (UK) #740
Edsel #2604481

Thanks to Rivertree for the addition
and to ProgLucky for the last updates
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THE SOFT MACHINE Six/Seven ratings distribution

(11 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(0%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(55%)
Good, but non-essential (36%)
Collectors/fans only (0%)
Poor. Only for completionists (9%)

THE SOFT MACHINE Six/Seven reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars The Soft Machine - Six/ Seven

This compilation is The Soft Machines six and seventh album released together for the price of one CD. A real treat if you like their music. There is a coherence in The Soft Machineīs sound on Six and Seven that justifies this release.


The sixth album from The Soft Machine called Six is where The Soft Machine again began to spark my interest after the jazzy Fourth and Fifth. Six is a very jazzy album as well but itīs like some of the old psychadelic parts have returned. The are much nicer here though and not quite as edgy as they were on Third, but they are there.

The album is divided into a live part and a studio part. The live part is very well performed and with a really good sound quality. There is a lack of audience appreciation between the songs though and that pretty much kills the idea of a liver performance IMO. Riff II which is the last song of the live set does include audience noises though and itīs nice to hear. The music on the live part does remind me of Fourth and Fifth but the relentless sax soloing isnīt as hysterical as on the two previous albums and there are actual structures in some of the songs. 5 from 13 (for Phil Seamen with love & thanks) is a good example of a great theme itīs just too bad that what could have been a great song is ruined by a boring drum solo. The theme returns in the end of the song though.

The studio part of the album consists of 4 songs where especially The soft weed factor is a slow building song with some great themes. The studio part is generally the most likable seen from my point of view.

The musicianship is great and Hugh Hopper says goodbye to The Soft Machine with 1983, which is a typical Hugh Hopper composition. Drummer John Marshall is now a fulltime member of the group ( he only played on half the tracks on Fifth) while saxophonist Elton Dean has been replaced by Karl Jenkins who is a bit more restrained in his playing style than Elton Dean was.

Six is a more accessible album than both Fourth and Fifth but itīs still way too jazzy and unstructured jamming to satisfy my taste and Iīll rate it 2 stars.


The Seventh album from The Soft Machine called Seven is a step in the right direction for the band. I canīt hide that their last four albums really havenīt been to my taste but with this album they have left the very unstructured and jamming jazzy approach that has haunted their music. Seven is much more streamlined and pleasant to listen to. Fans of the more avant garde jazzy parts of The Soft Machine will be disappointed with Seven. The Soft machine has a much more accessible sound on this album and there are even traces back to their Canterbury roots which I find very enjoyable.

Nettle bed starts the album and itīs a great song. IMO itīs obviously the best song here and it points toward their early Canterbury sound. Untill D.I.S. all songs are good. There are some really good jazzy themes in songs like Carol Ann, Day's eye and Tarabos. D.I.S. is one of those songs where I have to ask why I should waste my time with something like this which seems to be random notes played just for the sake of it. A step back on an else good album. Unfortunately Snodland continues the bad trend as it is a short interlude which is really unneccessary. Penny Hitch and Block seque into another. Penny Hitch being the structured part with themes and Block being the solo part. Down the Road is a pretty good song too while The German and the French Lesson songs are short rather unnessassary songs.

The musicianship is good but the bass is a good deal more subdued after Hugh Hopper has left which is a real shame. Roy Babbington is also a great bassplayer though and delivers what he should. Mike Ratledge is as a pleasant surprise very dominant with lots of soloing as a contrast to the constant wailing sax soloing on Fourth and Fifth. John Marshall is a great drummer and he delivers some good tight playing on Seven.

The sound quality is becoming more modern but itīs still great seventies sounding.

Seven has ignited my almost dying interest in The Soft Machine again even though the jazzy part of The Soft Machineīs sound never really appealed to me. This album is much better than the previous three and deserves a 3 star rating for that.

The combined conclusion after listening to these two albums is that this idea deserves a 3 star rating.

Latest members reviews

4 stars Strange combination of two albums. "Six" was the first jazzy LP I bought (second hand) as a teenager. At that time my understanding of Jazz was restricted to Zappa's "Hot Rats", Colosseum "Live" and perhaps some groovy bits by Traffic. Little I realized then that "Six" will be a catalyst in m ... (read more)

Report this review (#963078) | Posted by BORA | Monday, May 20, 2013 | Review Permanlink

3 stars This is a nice two for the price of one 2 cd set. As far as I gather, there is no extra tracks here. Soft Machine went more or less straight jazz on this album. Karl Jenkins took over the band and ran it his way. There is nothing straight about Soft Machine though. Their jazz has their own ... (read more)

Report this review (#250365) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Friday, November 13, 2009 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This compilation is actually (as the name most obviously suggests) two albums (Six and Seven.surprise, surprise) put together. I will give a short overview of these together but will hopefully write a review of each album sometime later this year. Six and Seven continue on from what Five st ... (read more)

Report this review (#119361) | Posted by progismylife | Sunday, April 22, 2007 | Review Permanlink

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