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THE SOFT MACHINE

Canterbury Scene • United Kingdom


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The Soft Machine picture
The Soft Machine biography
Formed in Canterbury, UK in 1966 - Disbanded in 1984 - Reformed in 2015
(SM members would reconvene under several monikers along the years)

The band started playing as such in 1966 but their first record, a single, came out in 1967.
The very last concert was in 1984 at Ronnie Scott's on July 30/31 and August 1-4.
Band members at that concert were Paul Carmichael (bass), John Etheridge, Karl Jenkins, Dave McRae (once upon a time keyboard player with Matching Mole), Ray Warleigh and John Marshall.

The name of the band is similar to the book with the same title written by William Burroughs: "The Soft Machine".
Besides this, different formations/groups tour under names as "Soft Machine Legacy" (2004-2015), "Soft Works" (2002-2004), "Soft Ware" (1999-2002), "Soft Mountain", "Soft Heap (1978-1983) and "Polysoft"

The probably most important and influential band to grow out the Canterbury Scene was SOFT MACHINE. The band emerged as the quartet of Robert WYATT (drums, vocals), Mike RATLEDGE (keyboards), Kevin AYERS (bass, vocals) and Daevid ALLEN (guitar, vocals). Through a persistence of personnel changes (totalling ~30), their sound was to changed continually over the years of their existence. This band along with CARAVAN (both to come out of the formative WILDE FLOWERS), would influence the emergence of the Canterbury Sound (MATCHING MOLE, EGG, HATFIELD & THE NORTH, and many more). Many careers began with SOFT MACHINE: Robert WYATT (MATCHING MOLE band and solo artist), Kevin AYERS (later his own WHOLE WORLD band and solo artist), and Daevid ALLEN (later GONG and solo artist). Virtuosic instrumentalists such as Hugh HOPPER, Mike RATLEDGE, Elton DEAN, Allan HOLDSWORTH, (briefly) Andy SUMMERS, Roy BABBINGTON, John MARSHALL and Karl JENKINS were attracted to MACHINE's ranks through out its history, leaving us a series of ground-breaking albums.

Now, briefly - what is the music like? The SOFT MACHINE were, for many listeners, the standard against which all jazz-rock fusion, including many of t...
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THE SOFT MACHINE Videos (YouTube and more)


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THE SOFT MACHINE discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

THE SOFT MACHINE top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.98 | 634 ratings
The Soft Machine
1968
4.04 | 579 ratings
Volume Two
1969
4.19 | 1119 ratings
Third
1970
3.58 | 396 ratings
Fourth
1971
3.42 | 302 ratings
Fifth [Aka: 5]
1972
3.52 | 266 ratings
Six
1973
3.64 | 301 ratings
Seven
1973
4.10 | 447 ratings
Bundles
1975
3.91 | 277 ratings
Softs
1976
2.03 | 76 ratings
Karl Jenkins: Rubber Riff
1976
2.97 | 163 ratings
Land of Cockayne
1981
3.87 | 218 ratings
Hidden Details
2018

THE SOFT MACHINE Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.93 | 88 ratings
Alive & Well - Recorded in Paris
1978
3.25 | 38 ratings
Live at the Proms (1970)
1988
4.03 | 41 ratings
The Peel Sessions
1990
4.24 | 23 ratings
BBC Live In Concert 1971
1993
3.72 | 20 ratings
BBC Radio 1 Live In Concert 1972
1994
3.60 | 44 ratings
Live At The Paradiso
1995
3.30 | 26 ratings
Live In France (Paris)
1995
3.71 | 43 ratings
Virtually
1998
2.48 | 22 ratings
Live 1970
1998
4.04 | 65 ratings
Noisette
2000
3.43 | 35 ratings
Backwards
2002
1.23 | 12 ratings
Facelift
2002
4.08 | 43 ratings
BBC - Radio 1967 - 1971
2003
4.08 | 35 ratings
BBC Radio 1971 - 1974
2003
2.78 | 9 ratings
Somewhere In Soho
2004
3.57 | 14 ratings
Soft Stage BBC In Concert 1972
2005
1.91 | 2 ratings
Orange Skin Food
2005
3.18 | 13 ratings
Breda Reactor
2005
3.35 | 16 ratings
Soft Machine & Heavy Friends BBC In Concert 1971
2005
3.80 | 32 ratings
British Tour '75
2005
3.81 | 49 ratings
Floating World Live (Bremen 1975)
2006
4.40 | 64 ratings
Grides
2006
2.63 | 24 ratings
Middle Earth Masters
2006
3.06 | 27 ratings
Drop
2008
4.18 | 29 ratings
Live At Henie Onstad Art Centre
2009
4.47 | 31 ratings
NDR Jazz Workshop, Germany, May 17, 1973
2010
4.00 | 1 ratings
Daevid Allen & Gilli Smyth With The Soft Machine Family: Live At The Roundhouse 1971
2012
4.06 | 14 ratings
Switzerland 1974
2015
4.70 | 18 ratings
Live at The Baked Potato
2020
3.00 | 1 ratings
Facelift France & Holland
2022

THE SOFT MACHINE Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.48 | 29 ratings
Alive in Paris-1970
2008

THE SOFT MACHINE Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.50 | 2 ratings
The Soft Machine (Compilation)
1970
3.18 | 21 ratings
Face and Place Vol. 7 [Aka: Jet Propelled Photographs, Aka: At the Beginning]
1972
4.37 | 53 ratings
The Soft Machine Collection [also released as: Volumes One and Two]
1973
3.95 | 18 ratings
Triple Echo
1977
3.73 | 2 ratings
Rock Storia E Musica: Soft Machine
1983
3.09 | 28 ratings
Jet Propelled Photographs
1989
3.26 | 9 ratings
The Untouchable Collection (1975-78)
1990
4.30 | 5 ratings
As If...
1991
3.13 | 4 ratings
Soft Machine (Live & Demos)
1994
3.56 | 7 ratings
The Best Of Soft Machine...The Harvest Years
1995
3.33 | 33 ratings
Spaced (1969)
1996
3.59 | 27 ratings
Fourth / Fifth
1999
3.25 | 4 ratings
soft machine
2000
2.00 | 15 ratings
Man in a Deaf Corner: Anthology 1963-1970
2001
3.00 | 9 ratings
Turns On Vol. 1
2001
2.15 | 8 ratings
Turns On Vol. 2
2001
1.67 | 8 ratings
Kings Of Canterbury
2003
3.39 | 11 ratings
Six/Seven
2004
4.01 | 9 ratings
Out Bloody Rageous (Anthology 67-73)
2005
1.23 | 4 ratings
The Story of Soft Machine
2005
3.96 | 18 ratings
Original Album Classics
2010
2.50 | 2 ratings
Tanglewood Tails
2014

THE SOFT MACHINE Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.03 | 11 ratings
Love Makes Sweet Music
1968
3.71 | 7 ratings
Why Are We Sleeping?
1968
3.78 | 9 ratings
Soft Space
1978
3.67 | 3 ratings
Bundles (Promo Single)
2010

THE SOFT MACHINE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Volume Two by SOFT MACHINE, THE album cover Studio Album, 1969
4.04 | 579 ratings

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Volume Two
The Soft Machine Canterbury Scene

Review by JohnProg

3 stars As with their debut album, Soft Machine makes another chaotic, messy, unfocused and to some extent experimental work, with several interesting but only sketchy ideas (such as the great "Hibou, Anemone and Bear" which is the prelude to their next album) that could have been great pieces had they been more elaborate. Even so, this album adds elements that its predecessor did not have and that would be very characteristic of the band: wind instruments -mainly saxophones, with their interesting way of harmonizing-, quite rhythmic piano and sounds closer to Jazz than to pop and the rock of his first album.
 The Soft Machine by SOFT MACHINE, THE album cover Studio Album, 1968
3.98 | 634 ratings

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The Soft Machine
The Soft Machine Canterbury Scene

Review by JohnProg

3 stars Work totally indebted to the experimental spirit that surrounded the bands of that time: from its free flow - without an apparent structure -, where the band slips between pop/rock songs (I hear small references to Procol Harum and The Kinks) and pseudo-jazz improvisations , even direct experimentation with sound, especially the one carried out with the Hammond organ (which will have a characteristic sound in the band): all this with a strong presence of Robert Wyatt -both on drums and on vocals-.

In spite of everything, or perhaps as a result of this experimentation, it is an irregular work, with interesting moments -like the start of the album- and other less impressive ones (especially at the end with the extended song 'Why Are We Sleeping?).

 Fourth by SOFT MACHINE, THE album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.58 | 396 ratings

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Fourth
The Soft Machine Canterbury Scene

Review by HandelBach1968

5 stars Indeed, the top of Canterbury. Usually, the album most praised by many is precisely the "third", but contrary to this frequent opinion, I have to disagree, considering this particular record the best in the entire discography of the band (at least during its free jazz experiments of the Wyatt-Ratledge era), and, in accordance with my great love for the band, the pinnacle, the culmination of all Canterbury Rock. First of all, because this album is extremely balanced, and, of course, less experimental than the previous two works, which contributed to the fact that in the end, by 1971, the band became a benchmark in its genre. Unlike, for example, "the third", I find this album less stretched in duration, and, accordingly, more "dry", more material-rich. In it you will not find such avant-garde revelations as, for example, from the organ introduction on Facelift. To a lesser extent, this album will be a dissonantly sharp improvisation on 7/8 as in Ester Nose Job, and in general it is not so experimental. But here it will be important to note that precisely because the group stopped going into life experiments, this work therefore came out so - very high-quality, without noise and excesses - a kind of diamond. Speaking in detail about the compositions, the album opens with one of the leading numbers of the album - "teeth" - which immediately sets the tone for the record with its initial contrabass intro. Next comes the general interaction of the collective, built on a dense groove of percussion and rich polyrhythmic threads of rhythms. Improvises a violently roaring saxophone. He creates his phrases under the general instrumental hum, and the resulting sound is saturated with both beauty and energy. The band is already setting the bar on this track. Following the compositional pattern of "fast/slow", on the second track - "kings and queens", the band takes a more "Andante-", in musical terms, tempos and in an uncomplicated 3/4 measure, it seems to build its material from a simple ostinate Hopper riff - a simple but memorable octave motif that is so characteristic of it. The composition itself is moderate in nature, and allows the listener to relax a little after the "tooth-crushing". Perhaps this number will even seem boring to someone, but I think it is very indicative for the group - moving away from rigidity and assertiveness, here it explores another side, a different mood of its genre, giving birth, in fact, to a gloomy and slightly "closed" thing. Here you can clearly hear the abundance of additional wind instruments, with which, in the person of cornetist Mike Charig and trombonist Nick Evans (if these names seemed familiar to you, but you can't remember where they came from, then I will note that these two, as well as the saxophonist of the band - Elton Dean - played in the sextet of pianist Keith Tippett), with whom the band experimented a lot at that time. "Fletcher Blemish" is probably the most radical track of the album. Frightening with its unrelated atonal and chromatic passages, the lack of a clear rhythmic section, indeed, this spot, drawn with bold and very dense strokes from instrumental parts, seems to look back a couple of years and can become a worthy competitor to the "facelift" or some particularly avant-garde numbers from "volume two". The work is really frightening - a kind of jazz musical expressionism inspired (conditionally) by some Schoenberg or Berg. "Virtually" is a four-part twenty-minute suite, the authorship of which, I believe, belongs to the whole group. This is an excellent example of a compositional improvisational material that is good in size, divided into many small subsections. Here you will find unison saxophone/organ solos, and a blurred electric piano with a long distance to ambient. And the rebellious rhythms of the skillful Wyatt game, and again the complicated Hopper parts. And in general, "Virtually" is a very substantial thing, which, despite the predominance of gray, minor shades in it, will definitely not let you get bored. I give the album a strong five, justifiably forbidding it to be the best album of the band and, as I said, representing it - one of the best albums of Canterbury. This is a very mature work, recorded in the best composition for the group - stronger than the already brilliant "third". Perhaps, and I won't hide it, the reason lies in my so strong love for the band, but in my three-part review I tried to point out the merits of this work objectively and I hope that you understand me
 Live At The Paradiso by SOFT MACHINE, THE album cover Live, 1995
3.60 | 44 ratings

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Live At The Paradiso
The Soft Machine Canterbury Scene

Review by Mirakaze
Collaborator Eclectic Prog Team

2 stars Among the myriad of Soft Machine live albums released since the 90s, this one, recorded around the release of their Volume Two album and being (if I'm correct) the only one to capture a live performance of the band at this crossroads moment after the departure of Kevin Ayers but before the advent of their transformation from psychedelic rock into jazz, is indeed a valuable historical document. Unfortunately, this does not automatically translate into an enjoyable listening experience. Surely enough, the audience at the show must have had a great night because the musicians are in (mostly) great form and are giving it their all, but the sub-par audio quality on this record sadly ensures that disappointingly little of it can be made out here: Hugh Hopper's famous fuzzed-up bass is barely audible and Robert Wyatt's vocals can only be heard intermittently (although they may have done him a favour there with how tired and slightly hoarse his singing sounds, in stark contrast with his drumming).

That leaves Mike Ratledge to save the album: he most certainly tries his best, producing sublime free-form noise assaults during his solo spots and otherwise holding down all the lead parts with great skill, but it's a tall order to recreate the entire Volume Two album using only a single tinny-sounding organ. Even on the studio album, the band relied on multiple keyboards and a group of wind players; in the end, this recording can only seem monotonous by comparison. I can only recommend this for a one-time listen to big fans of the band or fans of general noise rock.

 Volume Two by SOFT MACHINE, THE album cover Studio Album, 1969
4.04 | 579 ratings

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Volume Two
The Soft Machine Canterbury Scene

Review by Hesedingking

5 stars What an album! Discovered this a few months ago, when I got the 'volumes 1+2' CD from Ebay. I knew, what to expect, having listend to Third and other recordings made by the Softs und both Albums by Robert Wyatts' Matching Mole, but neither of them has captivated me as much as this album. Loads of improvising and instrumental doodling here(in a good way!) Whith it's cacaphonies and Robert Wyatts' "unusual" singing this album can be a proper earrape for the unexperienced listener, but if you have tipped your toes in avant-garde Jazz, or if you're looking for some weird stuff, then this album is for you.

Volume 2 contains the experimentation also featured on Third, here it is a bit more compact and the improvisations don't feel lengthy at all. The psychedelic mood of the 60s is still present on this album, but in a good way! It's not that weird happy-hippy-music of it's time, but rather an intense mix of psychedelic songwriting, Jazz, avant-garde improvisation and a lot of canterbury nonsense. Clearly 3 young men having a lot of fun.

Rivmic Melodies: 5/5 Stars

Esthers Nose Job: 4.5/5 Stars

Final Rating: 5 Stars

 Noisette by SOFT MACHINE, THE album cover Live, 2000
4.04 | 65 ratings

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Noisette
The Soft Machine Canterbury Scene

Review by Mirakaze
Collaborator Eclectic Prog Team

4 stars In the crowded field of Soft Machine live albums, Noisette positively stands out for multiple reasons: first of all, it was recorded on January 4th at the Fairfield Halls in Croydon, the same night on which the band would record the version of "Facelift" that would end up on their famous Third album later that year. This also makes Noisette one of the rarer recordings to feature Lyn Dobson, and thus one of the few Soft Machine albums to prominently feature a flute (not to mention scat vocals from anyone besides Robert Wyatt); secondly, it captures the band right in the middle of their transition from psychedelic prog rock to experimental jazz fusion. Therefore, interspersed with pieces which would remain a main staple of the band's live catalog for a couple of years like "Mousetrap" and the jazzed-up rearrangement of "Esther's Nose Job" (as well as a very early version of "Teeth", here titled "12/8 Theme"), we get a droning, minimalistic take on "Eamonn Andrews" that runs for over twelve minutes, and as a real bonus treat at the end of the album, the band entertains the audience with a tripped-out version of "We Did It Again", a song that was to quickly disappear from their setlist but which is here presented in a noisier and jazzier fashion, with Elton Dean channeling the middle ground between the old and the new Soft Machine styles really well.

And that leads me to the final pro, which is that the instrumental performances are absolutely stellar. The band had an exceptionally good night on that January date in Croydon, with Mike Ratledge furiously assaulting his organs and Elton Dean blowing his lungs out; both are more free and unashamedly let loose than at possibly any other point in their career, and the rhythm section backs them up beautifully the whole time. It's just an amazing document of how good this band really was during their prime. An essential listen for any Soft Machine fan; just a damn good experience for any prog or jazz fusion aficionado.

 Live 1970 by SOFT MACHINE, THE album cover Live, 1998
2.48 | 22 ratings

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Live 1970
The Soft Machine Canterbury Scene

Review by Dapper~Blueberries

2 stars I have always had a strong soft spot (no pun intended) for Soft Machine. Their unique playing style mixed with their use of my Avant Garde and more awkward structure gives them a feel like no other. Listening to all of their discography was a treat to go through, learning how their sound evolved more and more. It was definitely a fun experience. I figured that I should give them another spin for old times sakes. It's always good to hear one of your favorites play live is it not? A lot of times live material can improve an already great song ten folds, so when I saw the track listing for this album, I was pretty excited to get back into that weird Soft Machine groove. However, I was met with something quite, different instead.

Let's start with the positives first, it definitely feels like they are trying to improve on the songs found on their last 3 albums at the time, The Soft Machine, Volume 2, and Third. They play a lot more loudly, and they definitely sound more exciting. Not only that but the charm the songs have definitely do get increased a bit more compared to their studio version. Out-Bloody-Rageous definitely goes pretty strong especially I'd say, despite it being an excerpt. Not only that but I do like the new more jazz like interpretation of their older songs like Fire Engine Passing With Bells Clanging and Orange Skin Food, making these more bland to decent songs into much more intricate and almost beautiful at times.

However that is where I think the good stuff ends since this album, isn't really that good. One of the biggest things that stick out like a sore thumb is the production quality. The quality is not really that good, heck in the first two songs, the two excerpts of Facelift and Moon In June has some of the lowest quality I have heard in a live concert, and even for the 70s this is low. It does improve after that though, but I still hear some after feedback in the recording still. Not only that but they sound a bit too bombastic for my taste. It sometimes gets way to ear grating to where I was almost tempted to just skip the songs entirely.

We should also take note of the more shorter songs on the album. While they can be interesting, a lot of times they feel like filler, especially Pig and A Door Opens And Closes. Heck the filler can persist to more longer songs like the 11 minute version of Facelift and especially the reprisal of 10:30 Returns To The Bedroom. It's filler that is highly unnecessary, it's to where I wonder why they didn't just make it a live album of Third with a few extra songs like Hope for Happiness, We Did It Again, Dara Was Here, and or Hibou Anemone and Bear. A lot of it is very unnecessary and just makes me scratch my head.

I cannot say I like this album, though I do not loathe it. It is a unique and it does have it's moments, however it feels like the less than favorable aspects of this album out way a lot of the good stuff on the album. To me it's pretty mediocre.

 Softs by SOFT MACHINE, THE album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.91 | 277 ratings

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Softs
The Soft Machine Canterbury Scene

Review by Dapper~Blueberries

5 stars Now usually after an artist release their best work, like Pink Floyd with The Wall, or The Mars Volta with Frances The Mute, stuff like that. They usually, afterwards, don't really make something that's as good or is bad afterwards. Not saying people still might not like them as much as their previous magnum opus, but most people especially hardcore fans might get disappointed and might drop the band before any more albums that might be actually good comes into play. However some bands manage to stand on thin ice and made it too the snowy forests safely. Look at Yes and Close to the Edge. Close to the Edge is one of the best Prog rock albums ever conceived and a lot of people both Yes fans or not regards it as their best work. After that album, they made Tales From Topographic Oceans, an album, while not as impressive as Close to the Edge, still brought out brilliant sounds into play. And it's both a surprise but a pleasantry that Soft Machine managed to do the same with their album, Softs, which came after Bundles, which too me, was their best work ever. So here are my views on the album.

The album starts off with this pretty little acoustic and woodwind song, Aubabe. It is a pretty and soft introduction to the album. It is like the calm before the storm in this case for Soft Machine. Relaxing but builds things up for the album. Speaking of which, we got our next song, The Tale of Taliesin. This song is kinda villainous for Soft Machine. You can definitely hear in their playing, it is laced with some evil in it. The guitars, the piano, even the drums sound a little evil, and I love it. It's like a villain in a superhero was just introduced and ready to make 'business' with the hero. After that we got Ban-Ban Caliban, which is such a cool track. That bass groove and shaker percussions, plus the drums make this feel so speedy and fun. It's sounds super nice and every instrument compliments each other nicely so well. After that lovely song, we now got Song of Aeolus. This song is a bit more in line with traditional Prog rock. Slow moving, slow building, with some space like synths and some amazing drum and guitar playing. It also sounds a little somber, like this a ballad of weeping instruments. It's honestly beautiful. After that we have Out of Season. This song is also slow moving, however it sounds more hopeful, like it's saying to stop crying, take my hand, and keep moving forward. It's so enigmatic in it's wake. After that somber yet joyful ride, we have Second Bundle. Another minimalistic track by the band. It is very keyboardy and has some interesting synthy noises in the back. It's like a river of noise, calm, but abundant. After that we have Kayoo. If you liked the drum solos on 5, and Bundles, you'll like this guitar/percussion solo on Softs. It's a good solo, I like it. Speaking of solos, The Camden Tandem. This is a really wild song, it has such a shredding guitar and drums, and the instruments compliment each other perfectly. Seriously Soft Machine's guitar work is fantastic the lot of the time. Now after that, we got Nexus, a prelude of sorts, building up the next song with guitars, pianos, and drums, like a drumroll sorta thing for the next jam. Speaking of which, we got One Over the Eight. It goes back to Soft's jazz sound they're best known for with some stellar horn work and drumming. It's a blast that emulates the past. Very nice. However everything must come to an end, and so does this album. The final track, named Etika, is a very sweet yet somber guitar playing. It's not big or grand, it's just something, a bow, to tie up a amazing record. However a little sad that this couldn't go any longer, but yet, it is still fantastic. I love it.

So yeah, if you haven't guessed, this album is amazing and definitely a must have for Soft Machine or Canterbury or any Prog rock fan. It's honestly surprising this record isn't as popular as any other album by Soft Machine cause this, this right here is greatness in the ears.

 Bundles by SOFT MACHINE, THE album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.10 | 447 ratings

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Bundles
The Soft Machine Canterbury Scene

Review by Dapper~Blueberries

5 stars Seven whole albums. Soft Machine really has done it all. With the psychedelic jazz of their debut and Volume 2, to their Canterbury mix of Fusion and experimental jazz with Third and Fourth, and their experimental masterpieces of 5 and Six. However in some cases they sort of fell off in some albums. Seven especially, with it's more lack luster performances on it's songs. That album sorta made me have second thoughts on the band as a whole. Did they fell off? Did they become a bad Prog band? However all and I mean ALL of these thoughts were immediately swept away after hearing this, absolute masterpiece. A new start for the band, and a damn good one at that. Their album Bundles.

The album's first song, or songs, are Hazard Profile Parts 1 - 5. This 17 minute suite is such a good way too start a Soft Machine record. Each part is a gold mine to get through with the most favored one being Part 1. This 9 minute groovy and jazzy song with some amazing guitar work and drumming leaves no other impression than awe inspiring. It is such an incredibly iconic song in the band's discography for a reason. The next part is a sweet and beautiful piano song. It is a sweet little tune that perfectly calms the mood and head after such an amazing song that Part 1 was. Part 3 is a pretty short track. Despite this, it has some great electric guitar playing, plus a pretty cool keyboard on top of it. This leads to Part 4, a surprisingly even shorter track, however packed into this small brick of a song is even more great guitar playing, drumming, and some great bass playing. After all of that, Part 5 leads in and we got some amazing tunes here. Some of the best horn work I have heard on a Soft Machine song. It's wild, it goes everywhere and enhances the already amazing bass and drums. I am surprised Part 5 isn't as beloved as Part 1, personally I think both are excellent songs from the album and are staples of the Soft Machine sound. Anyways, this suite is amazing, but I wish it was even longer.

Now we go into the next songs on the album. Gone Sailing is a little track played on a neat acoustic. It sounds like that Yes song I forgot about a little bit. I like it. Now we have the title track, Bundles. It is a pretty wild song. It is pretty groovy and the guitar work is still as good as ever. The next song is Land of the Bag Shark. This song is absolutely epic with that pretty hard drumming and keys that make the song feel so, so tubular. After that we got The Man Who Waved At Trains, this is a pretty cool track. It has some good bass and key playing despite the short time the song takes. After that's done we got Peff. This song is pretty fast, and it's pretty wild. It feels like a jazzy sprint to some unknown destination. Very nice. Now fair warning the next song is pretty weird, it's Four Gongs Two Drums. If you like percussionism than you'll enjoy this song, but if you don't really care than you may not like this song at all. Despite this, it's pretty cool. The gongs are super loud and the drums feel tribal like. But now we reached the culmination point, with The Floating World. This track is pretty lo fi in a way with some nice keyboarding and some interesting woodblock percussion, and some very beautiful woodwinds. This feels like the perfect ending for this perfect album, it's calming, it's relaxing, and it's a good end point for this record.

So if it isn't obvious, this album is amazing too me. It does everything right in a Soft Machine record and it makes these sounds that were established before even better. The only critic I have is that I wish it was longer, so I can love it even more.

 Seven by SOFT MACHINE, THE album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.64 | 301 ratings

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Seven
The Soft Machine Canterbury Scene

Review by Dapper~Blueberries

2 stars After 2 waves of awesome Soft Machine albums, the experimental but creepy and cool 5 and the joyful jazzy Six, I wanted more Soft Machine. I was digging the band and so I wanted more. So what better way than move up a digit. The album Seven. The cover kinda surprised me a bit, I first thought it was an 80s album at first with the digital and grid design of the album. I won't lie, it sorta worried me a bit?which sadly those worries were true.

The album starts off with Nettle Bed. It is a pretty cool song, very good drumming work and synth work, however the synth kinda made me worry a bit for this leading down. After that we have Carol Ann, a minimalistic track on the album. Unlike the minimalistic tracks on Six or 5, this is sorta lacking in ways. It does not feel like anything more than a E Piano being played, no jazziness or creepiness found within. Kinda of a let down. Now we return to form with Day's Eye, a return to form for Soft Machine. At that moment I thought that maybe my worries were just me overreacting and I should cool down since this song is a good song, sounds like something you'd hear in their early days with Third or Fourth. I liked it. I was starting to feel hopeful for the album especially with Bone Fire + Tarabos. Two interlinked but very well made songs that are very groovy, especially with that cool sounding electric piano. I was starting to hope for the best. Maybe the album wasn't so bad after all. And than DIS and Snodland played. Now look, I am totally fine, 100% fine, heck I encourage bands to go for more experimental routes. I really do. But this feels like a weird step back in terms of how Soft Machine does their experimental and minimalistic songs. Instead of these weird, beautiful, and sometimes creepy harmonies, we have these boring and lackluster ones instead. These two songs kinda ruined the album for me. However we got 3 cool songs too at least make up for the failing grades. Penny Hitch is a very cool and slow piece that I wouldn't mind hearing on a jukebox, Block is a very fun and groovy little tune, and Down The Road is super cool and crisp, like the best combination of this record's good elements and the previous two's best elements too create this cool jazzy tune. However if the record stopped there, I'd be a bit more forgiving on this LP, but than we got the Lessons. These 2 songs are more minimalistic lack lusters. Strange how these 2 1 minute songs have the power to make a man be mixed on one record.

So yeah I am very mixed with this record. When the songs are good, they are really good, but a lot of the songs are minimalistic and experimental but without the fun substance that make them good in the first place and right now, this might be my least favorite Soft Machine record because of these facts. Hope the next one will be at least good.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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