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The Soft Machine Live At Henie Onstad Art Centre album cover
4.14 | 31 ratings | 4 reviews | 35% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Live, released in 2009

Songs / Tracks Listing

Disc 1.

Slightly All The Time
Fletcher's Blemish

Disc 2.

Neo-Caliban Grides
Eamonn Andrews
All White
Kings and Queens
Pigling Bland

Line-up / Musicians

- Mike Ratledge / keyboards
- Robert Wyatt / drums
- Elton Dean / saxophone
- Hugh Hopper / bass

Releases information


The Soft Machine live in 1971 at an Art exhibition at the Henie Onstad Art Centre, Oslo Norway.

Release date 16. November 2009
Out on Reel Recordings with kind permission by the Henie Onstad Art Centre

Re-released on 2 x LP (vinyl) by SMALLTOWN SUPERJAZZ (STSJ187) in 2010 (track list is the same minus one song - "Noisette", altern cover)

Thanks to toroddfuglesteg for the addition
and to snobb for the last updates
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THE SOFT MACHINE Live At Henie Onstad Art Centre ratings distribution

(31 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(35%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(45%)
Good, but non-essential (19%)
Collectors/fans only (0%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

THE SOFT MACHINE Live At Henie Onstad Art Centre reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars Here's another excellent live release from SOFT MACHINE that has come out of the woodwork.The sound quality is very good as this was professionaly recorded at the Henie Art Centre in Oslo, Norway on February 28 1971. This two disc set shows the band playing some of their classics, and as usual both discs have no breaks between songs as the band just put their heads down and played.

Disc one features "Facelift", "Virually", "Slightly All The Time" and "Fletcher's Blemish". Keyboards and cymbals standout early with no real melody. Some fuzz before 4 1/2 minutes. Check out Ratledge after 6 minutes as the drums pound. It settles down around 11 minutes. A change before 12 1/2 minutes as the sax comes to the fore and the tempo picks up. Keys, bass and drums all sound amazing. A calm 17 minutes in as sounds come and go. Sax and keys sound great 21 minutes in. Fuzz 28 minutes as it changes. A calm after 31 minutes with cymbals. Fuzz before 34 1/2 minutes. It's intense before 36 1/2 minutes then it ends with applause.

Disc two features "Neo-Caliban Grides", "Out-Bloody-Rageous", "Eamonn Andrews", "All White", "Kings And Queens", "Teeth", "Pigling Band" and "Noisette", around 55 minutes of music. Outbursts of sounds come and go to start then it settles as we get some dissonance.This is insane ! Sax, drums and keys seem to be playing on their own oblivious to each other until they unite with fuzz. It settles before 8 1/2 minutes then the tempo picks up. Killer stuff. It settles again 12 1/2 minutes in then kicks back in at 16 1/2 minutes. Some vocal experessions from Wyatt a minute later as it calms right down.The vocals and sound echo before 21 minutes. It kicks back in after 22 minutes with keyboards, bass and drums. Fuzz follows. A change 32 minutes in as we get some outbursts. Fuzz is back 36 minutes in. It settles before 41 minutes and continues to settle back .A change after 43 minutes as relaxed sax plays over the drums, bass and keyboards. Major fuzz a minute later. Applause before 47 minutes as the set ends.The encore track kicks in before 48 1/2 minutes with drums then keys. Lots of fuzz follows. It settles back before 51 minutes. The sax is intense after 52 minutes. Great section. It settles back before 54 minutes but then the fuzz kicks in for the big finish.

Again i'm reminded of what febus said with all the live archival SOFT MACHINE albums. "Where do you draw the line !" Well this one is incredible and I agree with Torodd that this is a sure purchase.

Review by snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Last decade was rich on Soft Machine's archival releases from classic period, but it's nice there are still unknown gems coming to market again and again. "Live at Henie Onstad Arts Centre 1971 " was recorded between Third and Four studio albums and mostly based on material from them both.

Usually great archival Soft Machine's releases comes from Cuneiform or MoonJune labels, but this album is released by less-known Toronto-based Reel label (and re-released by Norwegian Smalltown Superjazzz for Europe a year later) - and the release is surprisingly good! Sound quality and mastering are great both, and even if track-list isn't very unique, this recording contains possibly the most complete band's concert recordings from their classical period ever.

The release contains two live sets,each on separate CD, with rarely full concert sound (many similar recordings come from broadcasting archives or other small venues),with great hall acoustics. Band shows their rock energy in full, but at the same time you can hear their most continued sound experiments there. Both sets of compositions start with the modal tape looping experiments (influenced by Terry Riley),and it takes quite a big part of all concert's time.

Then both sets continue with complex and inspired jazz rocking jams,demonstrating band at its best.Soft Machine are in their classic line up as quartet, music is full of Elton dean sax solo improvs and Ratledge dynamic keyboards sound,but all musicians have enough space for improvisation there.The band's line-up,presented there on this live recordings,will be changed very soon, but this double CD is excellent evidence how great they were as live improvisational jazz rock band at the top of their career.

Review by Warthur
4 stars Archival live releases from Soft Machine have become thick on the ground these days, but releases like this one show why - the band were absolutely dynamite in in this phase of their existence and the recording quality on this appearance in Norway is superb. This hails from around the release of Fourth, so we're quite late in Robert Wyatt's tenure in the group; vocal performances and psychedelic whimsy are out, growling jazz fusion is in. You get much of Third here (minus, of course, the vocals-heavy Moon In June), plus selections from Fourth and early takes on material which would materialise on Fifth, plus a few numbers which Soft Machine extensively performed live but didn't really set down in the studio; the overall sound is a bit sharper and more disciplined than Third, a bit more lively than Fourth and Fifth.

Latest members reviews

5 stars "Is this Jazz ? Rock ? Progressive ?" "No, it is Soft Machine !" This is a conversation printed in this digi-pack and it perfectly sums up the two gigs which now have been turned into this double album. So do we need another Soft Machine live album ? Not really. The material on this album is ... (read more)

Report this review (#260089) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Saturday, January 9, 2010 | Review Permanlink

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