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The Soft Machine

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The Soft Machine Karl Jenkins: Rubber Riff album cover
2.08 | 85 ratings | 10 reviews | 9% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1976

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Crunch (2:40)
2. Pavan (2:43)
3. Jombles (3:01)
4. A Little Floating Music (2:51)
5. Hi-Power (2:58)
6. Little Miss B (2:40)
7. Splot (1:57)
8. Rubber Riff (2:42)
9. Sam's Short Shuffle (2:24)
10. Melina (2:52)
11. City Steps (3:03)
12. Gentle Turn (3:16)
13. Porky (2:49)
14. Travelogue (2:45)

Total Time: 38:41

Line-up / Musicians

- Karl Jenkins / keyboards, flute, sax

- John Etheridge / acoustic & electric guitars
- Carol Barratt / keyboards
- Roy Babbington / bass
- John Marshall / drums, percussion

Releases information

Library music originally recorded (live in studio) for De Wolfe Music under Karl Jenkins' name

ArtWork: Nick Bantock

LP De Wolfe ‎- DWS/LP 3331 (1976, UK) Sub-titled "Modern rock music feat. keyboards and guitar"

CD Blueprint ‎- BP190CD (1994, Europe) Reissue as by "Soft Machine"

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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Buy THE SOFT MACHINE Karl Jenkins: Rubber Riff Music

THE SOFT MACHINE Karl Jenkins: Rubber Riff ratings distribution

(85 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(9%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(7%)
Good, but non-essential (26%)
Collectors/fans only (32%)
Poor. Only for completionists (26%)

THE SOFT MACHINE Karl Jenkins: Rubber Riff reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Zac M
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars A low point for the Softs. Really, what it is is a collage of musical sketches composed by Karl Jenkins. The interesting thing is that according to John Etheridge, the guitarist at the time, says that all of these pieces were played live in the studio and completed in one day. This album has some pretty catchy instrumental passages, but also has some schmaltsy parts (e.g. Melina). Without a doubt, Softs is a much better album, but I feel that is harsh to give this a one star review because it does show Jenkins versatility as a composer and arranger. Besides, the music on hear was composed as "library music." I bought this not having high expectations, but, in the end, I found myself enjoying some of the compositions. This album should only be purchased bycompletists of Soft Machine's discography. Don't start here, considering this is the low point of the Softs career (na matter what lineup). Two stars.
Review by snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
1 stars Rubber Riff is mystic Soft Machine's album, recorded in 1976 (more or less at the same time as Six),but never released as band's album till 1994.There were plenty of different rumors circulated in Soft Machine fans circles about this release ,some bootleg tapes were available as well.Reality is quite prosaic - initially this album wasn't recorded as band's release,even if musicians line-up is very similar to Soft Machine's line-up of that time (the last musician from Soft Machine's classic line-up Mike Ratledge left the band already and is mentioned as "guest" on album's cover).

Rubber Riff was first of all demonstration of Karl Jenkins composer abilities, and in 1976 was recorded as "library music" album under the name Karl Jenkins - "Rubber Riff" (on UK label De Wolfe). Many years later,on the peak of Soft Machine's archival re-releases fashion,it was re- released by Blueprint as Soft Machine studio album.

Musically it contains what you should expect from album of such concept - relaxed fusion- based pleasant music,very close to new age. It could be used perfectly as back-up music for weather broadcasts,geographic documentaries,etc, but hardly is interesting as independent musical release.

After commercial release of this album it became obvious where from real last Soft Machine's album " Land Of Cockayne" roots comes - first new age fashion was demonstrated by Karl Jenkins-led Soft Machine incarnation still in year 1976!

Album strictly for completionists.

Review by Warthur
1 stars Rubber Riff is above all else two things: firstly, it is a selection of Karl Jenkins compositions performed by Karl and some Soft Machine bandmates in order to be sold on as "library music" - the sort of incidental music intended to be licensed cheaply, usually for use as background music for weather forecasts and cheap adverts and things like that.

Secondly, and more enragingly, it is a nasty little fraud perpetrated by Blueprint, who reissued it in 1994 as a lost Soft Machine album. It is nothing of the sort and was never intended to be anything of the sort; the bland light fusion muzak pieces on here were never intended to be full Soft Machine pieces, they were a side project lashed together quickly in order to make some extra scratch.

As a Karl Jenkins solo album, the music here is anonymous, forgettable, and trite. As a package offered to the CD buying public, it is a scam and an outrage. Do not be fooled. I am no fan of the Karl Jenkins-led incarnation of Soft Machine but even I wouldn't besmirch their reputation by passing this rot off as a Softs album.

Latest members reviews

3 stars It's inevitable this album is trashed on a prog site. Progressive rock was never made to be incidental music - the foundation of the earliest progressive rock was making a loud, landscape altering sweeping statement. Therefore, this made for background "library music" doesn't really fit the bi ... (read more)

Report this review (#1948255) | Posted by WFV | Saturday, July 14, 2018 | Review Permanlink

3 stars I love this album. Similar to the 1976 recording "The Guitar of John Renbourn" this is just a collection of pre-muzak snippets to be used to play in libraries. Not imaginative, not exciting, boring, dull, pedestrian, many adjectives can be used to describe this entry in Soft Machine's catalo ... (read more)

Report this review (#1133087) | Posted by Suedevanshoe | Monday, February 17, 2014 | Review Permanlink

2 stars A stain on a good band's reputation. I am not sure if the band knew that these tapes was going to be released under the Soft Machine monicker. According to the biography, several members was in the dark here during the recording. Karl Jenkins needed to make some jingles and small pieces ... (read more)

Report this review (#253878) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Tuesday, December 1, 2009 | Review Permanlink

2 stars How this album got released to the public I'll never know, not because the music is generic,but because DeWolfe recordings are meant for muzak companies and jingles. Rubber Rift was just a experiment to see if Karl Jenkins could make it in the jingle buisness in 1976 with the Soft Machine name ... (read more)

Report this review (#86093) | Posted by downtheroad25 | Monday, August 7, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars As with my assessment of "Land Of Cockayne", I apparently go against the norm with "Rubber Riff". I think that this album, while certainly not similar to anything else ever released by the Softs, is absolutely essential to understanding their evolution. These pieces are lovely, intriguing and ... (read more)

Report this review (#22103) | Posted by | Thursday, June 3, 2004 | Review Permanlink

1 stars Karl Jenkins' music is very far removed from the Softs of Wyatt and Ayers, this hardly really passes as a 'Soft Machine' album. As the other reviewers have pointed out, the later stuff is really forgettable. ... (read more)

Report this review (#22102) | Posted by | Wednesday, February 4, 2004 | Review Permanlink

1 stars Only serious fans of Soft Machine who can't live without hearing every single note they played should buy this. It's best described as a Carl Jenkins sketchbook - short ideas jotted down and played by a late line-up with John Etridge on board. To be honest, its a bit of a stinker! ... (read more)

Report this review (#22101) | Posted by | Thursday, November 13, 2003 | Review Permanlink

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