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The Soft Machine

Canterbury Scene

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The Soft Machine Other Doors album cover
3.60 | 37 ratings | 3 reviews | 22% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2023

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Careless Eyes (2:28)
2. Penny Hitch (6:49)
3. Other Doors (4:51)
4. Crooked Usage (8:29)
5. Joy of a Toy (3:24)
6. A Flock of Holes (2:18)
7. Whisper Back (1:41)
8. The Stars Apart (4:23)
9. Now! Is the Time (2:16)
10. Fell to Earth (5:51)
11. The Visitor at the Window (4:08)
12. Maybe Never (2:26)
13. Back in Season (7:17)

Total Time 56:21

Line-up / Musicians

- Theo Travis / tenor & soprano saxophones, flutes, Fender Rhodes piano, electronics
- Freddy Baker / fretless bass
- John Etheridge / guitars
- John Marshall / drums

- Roy Babbington / bass (2,9)

Releases information

Cover: Lasse Hoile
Label: Moonjune Records (NA), Dyan Records (UK/EU), Tonefloat (Netherlands, Vinyl)
Format: Vinyl, CD, Digital
June 30, 2023

Thanks to mbzr48 for the addition
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THE SOFT MACHINE Other Doors ratings distribution

(37 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(22%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(46%)
Good, but non-essential (30%)
Collectors/fans only (3%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

THE SOFT MACHINE Other Doors reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Mirakaze
COLLABORATOR Eclectic Prog Team
2 stars It's got a little more going for it than its predecessor, but not much. There's very little spark in these performances and no sense of adventure or refreshment in these compositions. The title track at least boasts a catchy theme and "Fell To Earth" has a pretty cool walking bass section (courtesy of new bass player Fred Baker who along with John Etheridge seems to be either the only one who gives a hoot or the only one who manages to transmit this band's still amazing live energy onto tape) but the general tendency of songs on this album is to just sort of plod along until they don't anymore. The loungy, sanitized rearrangement of "Joy Of A Toy" and the pointless, scholastic rerecording of "Penny Hitch" don't help. There's undoubtedly more embarrassing ways to spend the tail end of your career but it's still a little disappointing to see what was once one of Britain's most boundary-pushing jazz/rock bands reduced to putting out sickeningly safe middle-of-the-road albums like this every couple of years.
Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars 4.5 stars. After hearing of John Marshall's passing I ordered this record just to have the last studio album that John played on. Is it sad that he passed after announcing his retirement after this record? He got to do what he loved right to the end which I think is pretty cool. Loved him when he was with NUCLEUS and it was 1972 when he joined SOFT MACHINE and I really feel he is the king of drum solos. His rhythm partner of late Roy Babbington retired after the previous studio album "Hidden Details" but returns to play bass on "Penny Hitch" which he did originally on "Seven" plus he plays a duet you could say with the new bass player Fred Baker on "Now! Is The Time". Fred by the way has played in the past on solo albums by Pip Pyle, Phil Miller and Dave Sinclair so very much qualified to be here.

The only thing keeping me from giving this 5 stars is that 3 of 4 song section beginning with "Joy Of A Toy" from the debut and included "Whisper Back" and "The Stars Apart" which are all fine just not in the same league as the rest of the album in my opinion. The rest of the album is subtle and chilled. Feels like some improvizing is going on at times with the drums, bass and whoever else isn't the soloist during these passages. Surprisingly trippy and atmospheric and Theo Travis helps with this adding electronics throughout the album. Attention to detail and I love Marshall on here, he seems like he's playing random stuff a lot but man with the Fender Rhodes, those guitar expressions, electronics and flute I just love the mood. It really was when I sat down and really listened to this album that it clicked big time.

The spirit of "Softs" is very much a part of this record in fact this would have been a great followup to it. This is headphone music, just so much going on and yet it is a reflective recording as well. I am blown away by most of these tracks but I think my favourite is "Fell To Earth" where we get some grit in that guitar and the opening sax could be Mel Collins from his "Island" performance. Some experimental stuff going on here, I mean check it out 2 minutes in. The closer "Back In Season" is a highlight with the electric piano in fact "Softs" really comes to mind here. Love the flute too.

Again the flute and Fender Rhodes are incredible on the opener "Careless Eyes", some soaring guitar leads too. Love "Penny Hitch" from one of my favourite SOFT MACHINE albums "Seven" and "Crooked Usage" the longest piece on here at 8 1/2 minutes. This song encapsulates what this album is about with the improv sounding bits with no melody, the flute and electric piano all shine and it's experimental late. "The Visitor At The Window" reminds me of the covid situation where many meeting apparently were done this way. I like it but I like "Maybe Never" even better. It's so chilled with the fluttering flute and guitar expressions along with the electronics, bass and drums.

With Marshall and Babbington out of the picture I was thinking it might be time to put SOFT MACHINE to bed and then I heard this album. Keep them coming boys!

Latest members reviews

5 stars "Other Doors by Soft Machine is easily a five star rating. It's everything you would expect from this great, great, band.I think the band is improving with ageless grace. Let me begin: "Carless Eyes" flute intro; pensive guitar; notes echo over. keyboard vibes in heavy echo. This piece is short; ... (read more)

Report this review (#2951070) | Posted by rik wilson | Wednesday, September 13, 2023 | Review Permanlink

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