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The Soft Machine

Canterbury Scene

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The Soft Machine Jet Propelled Photographs album cover
3.08 | 30 ratings | 4 reviews | 10% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Boxset/Compilation, released in 1989

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. That's How Much I Need You Now (2:29)
2. Save Yourself (2:45)
3. I Should've Known (7:30)
4. Jet Propelled Photograph (aka Shooting at the Moon) (2:33)
5. When I don't Want You (2:49)
6. Memories (2:59)
7. You Don't Remember (3:45)
8. She's Gone (2:11)
9. I'd Rather Be With You (3:40)

Total Time: 30:41

Line-up / Musicians

- David Allen / guitar, vocals
- Robert Wyatt / drums, vocals
- Kevin Ayers / bass, vocals
- Mike Ratledge / keyboards

Releases information

CD release
Produced by Giorgio Gomelsky Charly, 1989

Thanks to mogorva for the addition
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THE SOFT MACHINE Jet Propelled Photographs ratings distribution

(30 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(10%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(13%)
Good, but non-essential (70%)
Collectors/fans only (7%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

THE SOFT MACHINE Jet Propelled Photographs reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by fuxi
3 stars This album is reviewed elsewhere under the title FACES AND PLACES VOL. 7, and it's a collection of very early Soft Machine demos, performed by Robert Wyatt (drums and vocals), Daevid Allen (lead guitar), Kevin Ayers (bass and vocals) and Mike Ratledge (organ and piano).

Apparently Daevid Allen hates the album, and he's indignant that it is even available, as he's not happy at all about his guitar playing on some of the tracks. It's true that he sounds amateurish on cuts like "She's gone" and "I'd rather be with you", but he's delightful on the immortal "Memories" (which he later included in his BANANAMOON album); moreover, the psychedelic fuzz-guitar he employed to some effect on early Gong albums like CAMEMBERT ELECTRIQUE is immediately recognisable.

Although I'd advise everyone who simply wants to find out about the Softs to start with their first three legitimate albums, this collection will be an absolute must to anyone who already knows and enjoys the band. Not only do you get to hear a full half hour of fascinating perfomances (crisply recorded) by the band's first incarnation, you'll also recognise many key passages from the band's first two albums, as well as the immortal "Moon in June" in embryonic form, with lyrics that sound surprisingly conventional (early Beatles style, almost) and non-Dadaist. It's amazing to note that so many of Mike Ratledge's lovely keyboard arrangements are already in place (he must have written some of them in the cradle!) and it's a delight to hear such energetic, jazz-tinged singing from Robert Wyatt, with a few characteristic vocal contributions from the great Kevin Ayers thrown in for good measure.

Essential to "Canterbury" fans; just a good album to everyone else.

Review by Warthur
3 stars These early sessions by the Softs, available under a wide variety of and with a range of different cover packaging (the Charly release on CD seems to be the one most commonly available at the moment), are amongst the only recordings we have of the band in its early incarnation, with Kevin Ayers and Daevid Allen still in the band. That said, if you're expecting some sort of bizarre hybrid of Volume One-era Soft Machine and early Gong, you're going to be disappointed: with singing duties shared between Kevin Ayers and Robert Wyatt, this album musically and lyrically resembles an earlier, simpler version of the band's first official studio album.

And to be honest, that's precisely what it is. Most of the songs here would eventually appear on the first Soft Machine album, be released by Kevin or David during their solo careers, or end up cannibalised by Wyatt as components for "The Moon In June" on Soft Machine's Third. And in each case, the songs benefit from a few more years of polishing; in this incarnation, the band is clearly on the way to establishing its own style, but nonetheless still shows the influence of its psychedelic peers. It's a decent psych album, a little slower and calmer than the usual Soft Machine offering, but you can tell that a lot of work and development occurred between this and the recording of Volume One. Jet-Propelled Photographs (or whatever you happen to call it) is normally sold quite cheaply, so it's not bad value for money if you are a Soft Machine enthusiast who'd like to own some earlier, dreamier versions of classic Softs songs, but if you're just getting into the band then it's not very representative of their sound.

Review by siLLy puPPy
3 stars Although these demos of the first lineup of SOFT MACHINE were recorded as far back in 1967, they wouldn't see the light of day until this compilation was released in 1972 under the title "Faces And Places Vol 7." For some strange reason, not content with simply re-releasing these 10 tracks under the same name over the years, it has also been released under the following titles: "Jet-Propelled Photographs," "Jet Propelled," "At The Beginning," "Memories," "Soft Machine 1967 Demos," "London 1967,"Les génies du Rock n°042: At the Beginning"and simply "Soft Machine." Almost as many titles for this compilation as there are tracks!

These tracks which were supposed to be SOFT MACHINE's first album are all that exist of the 1967 lineup with Daevid Allen, Kevin Ayers, Mike Ratledgte and Robert Wyatt. What we get here is a sound not too far removed from the Wylde Flowers' version of jazzy pop songs that have a slight progressive edge to them but light-years away from the more masterfully developed debut album that would finally emerge after the departure of Daevid Allen.

These tracks are actually pretty good as far as 60s pop oriented songwriting goes and I find this to be a gleeful little listen every now and again. Nothing else at the time sounds like this and although this isn't even close to the full on jazz-fusion that would take off in just a few short years, it is an interesting relic of history that shows a legendary band finding their own sound. A few of these would be spruced up to be included on the first album and some of them would be used on solo albums by individual members. Hardly essential but certainly sufficiently entertaining and a glimpse into their inchoate ideas.

Latest members reviews

3 stars I have to admit I was not looking forward to listening to Soft Machine's earlier demos. This CD is the collection of their earlier demos and I was listening to it as a soundtrack to the excellent book about Soft Machine (Out Bloody-Rageous) I was reading. I was in for a nice surprise though. ... (read more)

Report this review (#250762) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Sunday, November 15, 2009 | Review Permanlink

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