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Soft Machine Legacy

Canterbury Scene

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Soft Machine Legacy Burden Of Proof album cover
3.80 | 47 ratings | 7 reviews | 19% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2013

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Burden Of Proof (5:51)
2. Voyage Beyond Seven (4:53)
3. Kitto (1:50)
4. Pie Chart (5:07)
5. JPS (1:03)
6. Kings & Queens (6:46)
7. Fallout (6:59)
8. Going Somewhere Canorous? (1:13)
9. Black And Crimson (5:05)
10. The Brief (2:27)
11. Pump Room (5:19)
12. Green Cubes (5:33)
13. The Landed On A Hill (3:03)

Total time 55:09

Line-up / Musicians

- John Etheridge / guitar
- Theo Travis / tenor saxophone, flute, Fender Rhodes
- Roy Babbington / bass
- John Marshall / drums, percussion

Releases information

CD Esoteric Antenna - EANTCD 1015 (2013, UK)
CD Moonjune Records - MJR052 (2013, US)

Thanks to Ivan_Melgar_M for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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SOFT MACHINE LEGACY Burden Of Proof ratings distribution

(47 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(19%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(43%)
Good, but non-essential (32%)
Collectors/fans only (4%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

SOFT MACHINE LEGACY Burden Of Proof reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Ivan_Melgar_M
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Symphonic Prog Specialist
4 stars Wow, Why have I've been missing this for years?

After almost 40 years of listening Progressive Rock, that regional sub-genre called "Canterbury Scene" has remained as a mystery unsolved for me. It is Prog, no doubt about this, but is it also Jazz, Psychedelia or Folk? Maybe is it a delicate blend of all the previous tags. Well each band is a totally different universe, in this case SOFT MACHINE LEGACY combines elements of Jazz, Psyche, a hint of Folk and Rock, with unusual dexterity, to the point that a Symphonic fanatic as me, enjoyed their latest release Burden of Proof from start to end despite not being my first option of music.

When opened the album that Leonardo Pavkovic from "Moonjune Records" kindly sent me, was surprised to find that since the release of Steam, the solid bassist Hugh Hopper was no longer with them (Just learned last week he had passed away), but no matter how much I liked his style and recognize his abilities, I find that Roy Babbington is simply amazing.

It's also refreshing to find that despite the years of activity, the band is able to evolve, if Steam was almost exclusively Jazz, Burden of Proof is a fantastic combination of sounds, styles, genres and moods that takes the listener trough different musical soundscapes that seem to have been created to be fused. There's no time for rest, each song and passage is a different surprise.

It's hard for me to make a song by song review, not being an expert in the genre, but I know what I like so will mention some of my favorite songs, starting with the elaborate opener Burden of Proof where John Etheridge interplays with Roy Babbington, while Theo Travis is allowed to wander to add the magic and John Marshal in the drums is like the glue that keeps the individual efforts together. Simply delightful.

Of course I have to mention Kitto, a chance for John Etheridge to demonstrate how skilled he is. What I found surprising is the unusual atmosphere he creates, something I would expect more in Terje Rypdal, but as I said before, this musicians are really versatile and able to musically satisfy listeners of different genres.......1.50 minutes of refreshing and adventurous music.

The complex Kings and Queens is another favorite, because they leave Jazz territory in order to offer us an oneiric Psychedelic trip that reminds me of early Proto Prog, but this time with a sweet and mysterious flute to add a folksy touch. Prog fans will be delighted with this marvelous song.

Last but not least, I need to mention the mind-blowing Black and Crimson, an extremely interesting experiment, where Etheridge sticks to a Santana oriented melody, while Babbington, Travis and Marshal are liberated from any tie to the main theme and allowed to do whatever they want in Free Jazz style. Please pay special attention to Babbington's performance, because it's breathtaking.

The fact that I mention only a few tracks doesn't mean that I don't like the others (Damn, I forgot the frantic Green Cubes), because all the material in the album is extremely interesting with no weak moments, but if I were to mention all musical pieces, would need several pages and would be impossible to read due to the length.

The rating is only an anecdote, because if I could I'd go with 4.5 stars, but being that Prog Archive only admits full stars, will go with 4.

Review by kev rowland
4 stars The Softs are back with their first studio album since the passing of Hugh Hopper in 2008, as incredibly it is six years since the release of 'Steam'. The line-up is John Etheridge (electric guitar), Roy Babbington (bass), John Marshall (drums and percussion) and Theo Travis (tenor sax, flute, piano), which has to make it one of the longest serving line-ups in the extremely long history of the band (either as The Soft Machine, Soft Machine, The Softs, or Soft Machine Legacy). They may have been going down this furrow of jazz-fusion for more than thirty years, but they still don't show any sign at all of slowing down or running out of ideas. A special mention must go to Andrew Tulloch who mixed and mastered this album as the sound is incredible, allowing every touch and nuance to shine through.

The album is a combination of pre-agreed structures and melodies with improvisation and the result is a delight from the beginning to end. The interaction between all of the musicians is of the type that only comes with years of playing in this sort of environment, where there is trust between everyone and a firm understanding of what they are all working towards. "Kings & Queens" is a masterpiece of understatement with Roy's simple repeated bassline allowing the others to expand the theme. While on "Fallout" Roy and John Etheridge start the piece linked as one, in perfect harmony and control before they start to expand. Everyone interested in fusion and jazz will have come across Soft Machine sometime in their musical education, and take it from me that 'Burden of Proof' is a more than worthy addition to their body of work.

Review by ProgShine
COLLABORATOR Errors & Omissions Team
3 stars If you're a Progger that has a minimum of interest in what happened in the early days you're aware of the Soft Machine name. Soft Machine was a band that existed between 1968 and 1981 or so and released many albums, especially in the Jazz Rock/Fusion field.

In the early 2000's the band got together again, but as it wasn't the original line up anymore they decided to form an 'almost' new band, Soft Machine Legacy and so far they have released a mix of albums. The live albums have Soft Machine old works mixed with new tracks. The studio albums are filled with completely new material.

Burden Of Proof (2013) is their 3rd studio album and it was released by Moonjune Records with Esoteric Antenna distribution. The album was produced by the band itself and recorded by another big name in the Jazz Fusion scene, Beppe Crovella, at the Electromantic Synergy Studio, in San Sebastiano da Po, Italy, in August 2012.

If you know the band's sound already you'll not be surprised with what you're going to find in Burden Of Proof (2013). John Marshall (drums and percussions), Theo Travis (saxophones, flutes and piano), John Etheridge (guitars) and Roy Babbington (bass) keep delivering the Jazz Fusion of the previous works.

The album starts with the title-track and soon jumps to 'Voyage Beyond Seven'. The third track, the guitar-driven 'Kitto' is quite interesting. But so far the Smoky Jazz Club feeling of 'Pie Chart' is the most interesting, full of great saxophones lines the music takes you for a ride, like a movie.

'JSP' is nothing more than a minute noise, and quite unnecessary on the album. The following track, 'Kings And Queens' is another great example on the album, hypnotic bass riff and great flute work. 'Fallout' is one more good track full of weird tempo riffs. The middle gets a bit boring tough. Then comes another quick-one-minute kind of track 'Going Somewhere Canorous?', another unnecessary piece of music.

'Black And Crimson' continues with the Burden Of Proof (2013) path and by now it's very clear that Soft Machine Legacy is a great band when they actually write their material with a good melody line, like on this one. They're a far better band then when they just keep playing in some improvised jam. Especially after the next track 'The Brief', then it's even more clear.

To finish the album we have 3 more tracks. 'Pump Room', a good mid-tempo theme with weird guitar solos and 'Green Cubes' comes in the improvised format again. The last one is 'They Landed On A Hill' with its space rock feeling of emptiness.

Burden Of Proof (2013) is for sure the best album of Soft Machine Legacy so far, but really not my cup of tea. Maybe I'm not the best person around to review a Jazz Fusion album, but the improvised-jam-in-the-studio kind of thing bothers me. For my own good sake in this album the band decided to bet their coins in a 50/50 game. And when they play rehearsed compositions they do great!

(Originally posted on

Review by Windhawk
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars UK band SOFT MACHINE LEGACY is the longest lasting of a succession of bands formed by former members of the legendary UK band Soft Machine. This particular continuation of The Soft Machine was formed in 2004, and have since then performed live on a number of occasions, documented on three CDs and one DVD, and from 2006 and onwards they have been recording and releasing new material as well. "Burden of Proof" is their third studio production, released by Moonjune Records in 2013.

Soft Machine Legacy have made themselves a strong third studio album with "Burden of Proof": excellent musicianship throughout, with an attention to subtle details many artists could learn a lot from. The sheer diversity in style will make this one an uneven experience for many, but those with a taste for instrumental jazz rock will find plenty to enjoy on this one, and those among them who are thrilled by improvised material with more of a free-form expression just as much as by more tightly controlled and performed compositions should find this CD to be a most thrilling experience indeed.

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars I would highly recommend any of the three SOFT MACHINE LEGACY studio albums. This is the most recent studio release by the band which features Ethridge on guitar, Babbington on bass, Marshall on drums and Travis on sax, flute and Fender Rhodes which really adds to the sound here for me.

"Burden Of Proof" opens with spacey keyboards before it kicks into a jazzy mode around a minute with the spacey keys continuing. Sax joins in but when it stops after 2 1/2 minutes the guitar takes over. They will continue to trade off. A really good track. "Voyage Beyond Seven" is sax driven early on which i'm not big on but man does this turn for the better 1 1/2 minutes in when the sax stops and we get some intricate guitar and other sounds that come and go. So cool. It feels like an improv here, very innovative. The song ends as it began but the middle section just kills. "Kitto" features intricate guitar lines throughout intertwining and complimenting each other. "Pie Chart" is a lazy sax driven tune but I love when the guitar replaces the sax in this jazzy number. Sax is back but the guitar returns late. "JPS" is cymbals and drums throughout. Oh John Marshall you certainly love your solos. Nice piece. "Kings And Queens" is such a chilled tune. This all sounds so good as the flute joins in early before being replaced by the guitar, but the flute returns before 3 minutes. Excellent song.

"Fallout" has lots of prominent sax but check out the experimental section that starts around 1 1/2 minutes in. So good! It ends like it began. "Going Somewhere Canorous?" is a short piece dominated by cymbals and guitar. "Black And Crimson" is a top two track for me. I just love the Fender Rhodes here but the bass, drums and guitar really add a lot as well. The sax replaces the guitar 2 1/2 minutes in but it stops a minute later as the keys, drums and bass continue. The sax is back late. "The Brief" is drums galore early on as the sax joins in. "Pump Room" is so catchy as it really grooves. A really good rhythm section happening here. The sax comes in playing over top but then check out the guitar expressions that replace it. This is great! The sax is back before 4 minutes trading off with the guitar. "Green Cubes" is a top two as well. Sparse sounds come and go including flute, drums and guitar expressions. Man the guitar kills in this one. Sax arrives and some nice bass 3 minutes in but man the guitar begins to light it up later on after the song kicks into a groove. "They Landed On A Hill" features melancholic keys and guitar and they both seem to echo. A very cool way to end this very solid release.

Easily 4 stars and God bless Elton Dean and Hugh Hopper, both former members.

Latest members reviews

4 stars Soft Machine Legacy is a bunch of musicians who continued in the same mood Soft Machine once did. They have earlier recorded two records 2006 and 2007 and now comes their third one "Burden of Proof" 2013. The cover seems to be a notepad or a wallpaper with handprints on. These people play on thi ... (read more)

Report this review (#1066425) | Posted by DrömmarenAdrian | Saturday, October 26, 2013 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Were they going somewhere canorous? No, they landed on a hill, black and crimson, a pump room near Kitto, filled with green cubes and kings and queens! After the brief fallout, they started a JSP voyage beyond seven, something like a pie chart! Always remaining connected to its planet Soft Mac ... (read more)

Report this review (#965425) | Posted by Music By Mail | Monday, May 27, 2013 | Review Permanlink

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