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Why is the Soft Machine missing in the Top 100?

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jamesbaldwin View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jamesbaldwin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Why is the Soft Machine missing in the Top 100?
    Posted: January 07 2020 at 17:23
In the Top 100 there are all the main Canterbury groups: Caravan, Gong, Hatfield and the North except what I consider the main group, the Soft Machine. Their first three albums (and even others) are fantastic, yet they are not present in PA's Top 100.

How do you explain it?

1) Because they did very good albums but not a great masterpiece

2) Because they make more jazz rock than progressive music

3) Because not everyone likes Wyatt's pataphysical voice

4) Because they are too difficult, not very commercial, not easy listening

5) Because............ Why ???








Edited by jamesbaldwin - January 08 2020 at 10:50
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Catcher10 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 07 2020 at 22:32
"Because, blah-blah-blah-blah....."

I'll skip my thinking as there seem to be a lot of sensitive people on this site nowadays LOL

I agree 100%, the Softs should be there, many should not. But that does not stop me from spinning them on my turntable.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote richardh Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 08 2020 at 00:24
In general it's because they probably did 2 minutes of weird stuff that was not good and so the album gets dropped a whole point for it. However that theory doesn't explain SEBTP being the number two ranked album ( More Fool Me).

In my opinion you have to decide whether their albums are correctly rated. 5 of their 12 albums are rated over 4 stars with the highest being the third album at 4.21. Prog is not a pissing contest . They are well regarded and have one album that is more highly regarded. I suggest you read the reviews if you want to find out why they don't garner more 5 star reviews.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Psychedelic Paul Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 08 2020 at 00:59
I listened to the Soft Machine 3 album again recently, but I STILL couldn't get into their music, even though I generally like Canterbury Scene music.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mortte Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 08 2020 at 02:15
I think Caravan is the greatest Canterbury band, then comes Gong, then Soft Machine & Matching Mole equally. Maybe the reason is that they made only those two first album, that you can say prog, on the other hand first is more protoprog. After that they went into fusion, Third is masterpiece, but although I like albums that come after that, they really not my big favourites. I love Ayers solos much more than Soft Machine.

Edited by Mortte - January 08 2020 at 02:16
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Lewian Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 08 2020 at 04:42
There's hardly any overlap between my personal top 100 and PA's top 100, so I can't tell really, but one thing in common is that Soft Machine don't appear in either, and that's despite the fact that I like them a lot. But it's two different questions whether a band as a whole is great or whether they produced one or two albums that really make it to the top. Chances are that during their best times they changed their approach too much from one album to the other, and also their line-ups, so that they didn't give themselves time to mature quickly enough in one of their styles to produce one 100% convincing album in their prime. Of course it's not impossible to land in the top 100 with the first album, but the very best achieve both freshness and maturity, and most artists don't get there immediately. Actually I think 2018's Hidden Details is a very confident and mature album, as is, for example, Seven, but these are in a certain way understated and lack some "spectacular" qualities that excite a big number of people here.


Edited by Lewian - January 08 2020 at 04:43
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Meltdowner Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 08 2020 at 04:56
I remember Third was in the top 100 not so long ago, it was probably pushed down by some new and popular albums.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote richardh Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 09 2020 at 00:47
Originally posted by Meltdowner Meltdowner wrote:

I remember Third was in the top 100 not so long ago, it was probably pushed down by some new and popular albums.
 

this happens a lot

I get a bit fed up saying but the best option is to filter the top 100 and only include albums with 1000 ratings . However Soft Machine still don't in the top 100 because none of their albums have 1000 ratings. Therefore I conclude that they are just not popular enough. Why this should be I really don't know as they are a legendary band for sure.

BTW Soft Machine 3 has 988 ratings so I changed the filter to this number and then they are number 73. Interestingly though all the other albums have at least 1000 ratings as there are none with ratings between 988 and 1000 that crash the list. Its definitely worth playing with the filter options!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Chaser Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 09 2020 at 06:12
Third is an absolute classic that I play quite regularly.
 
It certainly should be in the top 100 IMO. 
 
In fact I would have it in the top 50
 
It's much better than many of the other albums in the top 100, but, as others have said, the ratings get screwed by a small number of fan boys for new albums
 
So, I totally agree regarding Third
 
Some of the other Soft Machine albums don't gel with me quite so much
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (2) Thanks(2)   Quote miamiscot Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 09 2020 at 08:38
I love it when people sing the praises of Third but consider Tales From Topographic Oceans bloated...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote dr wu23 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 09 2020 at 14:43
^ Yes..you are right they are both 'bloated' as you put it.......but there still should be a Soft lp in the top 100.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote hugo1995 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 09 2020 at 15:32
Probably because the band turned w**ky after Third because what his face left.

Don't get me wrong, Jazz is great, and Fourth is a good album.

It's just literally that a prog band with psychedelia and pop influences all of a sudden turns into Jazz in the next album. Not fusion, Jazz.

I don;t know what happened to Soft Machine after that, I lost interest. So did everyone else.

Second and Third are genuinely in my top albums of all time. Third is top 5.

edit: lol is there seriously a language filter on this forum? we've seen it all, and we can't even drop a f**king f bomb lol. Remember when Punk killed Prog and jonny and sid went on TV and swore a lot. They really hated prog and it's probably for reasons like this, let me curse!


Edited by hugo1995 - January 09 2020 at 15:34
Moon Safari - Blomljud, Egg - Egg, Egg - Polite Force, ELP - Trilogy, Frost - Milliontown, Soft Machine - Third, Gong - You, Opeth (Everything pre watershed), Miles Davis - Bitches Brew
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jamesbaldwin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 09 2020 at 20:15
I think the Soft Machine is too innovative, too creative, too difficult to be appreciate easily.

In my opinion they are similar to Family: both bands have changed the line up and their music a lot in few years, and both bands came from the beat, the psychedelia of the sixities.

The other bands of the Canterbury scene played a more orthodox (and easier) prog rock.


Edited by jamesbaldwin - January 09 2020 at 20:16
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote richardh Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 11 2020 at 00:50
The other thing that occurred to me is that albums become a lot less memorable when they don't have a proper name. I really hate it when artists just go 1,2,3 etc. WTF . Pick a proper name ffs. For this reason I'm more likely to play Bundles than an album just called 3 or Third.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote moshkito Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 12 2020 at 11:31
Originally posted by richardh richardh wrote:

The other thing that occurred to me is that albums become a lot less memorable when they don't have a proper name. I really hate it when artists just go 1,2,3 etc. WTF . Pick a proper name ffs. For this reason I'm more likely to play Bundles than an album just called 3 or Third.

Kinda strange to think/hear this ... there are, and were, a lot of artists and folks that do not like to "name" things because they suggest something that is not a part of their piece, and the idea of titles with just the sequential order was closer to that, than it was about some kind of meaning or idea about the music ... besides the obvious fact, that if it is a TRUE IMPROVISATION, the idea that it might mean something will be really hard to discuss since it goes everywhere and all over the place.

Again, I think that we're pretty much saying that improvisation is not valid music, without a title. And I think this is the idea/meaning behind Robert Wyatt's book title ... the music had stopped being "different every time", specially if it had to give in to the conventions of pop music!

BTW, I do not, name my poems at all and over 250 of them go strictly by their first line and nothing else ... simply for the sake of identification ... I have never felt comfortable with the naming of anything I do, just about, although it seems fine in the novels/stories I do. But numbers would not work for me, either, since it would take away the time/space element for me, that is so important to what I do ... and this would be another thing to ask/discuss about SM's work ... and I, personally, do not have a hard time with it, but imagine Shakespeare naming all of his plays in numbers ... would you read play #5 or #6? Instead of this or that? ... I imagine that Richard is quite right on that one!


Edited by moshkito - January 21 2020 at 11:42
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tendiwa Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 14 2020 at 12:27
I never really got into Third, but I really like their first two albums. The first one remains one of my all time favourite albums, along with Electric Ladyland, In The Court Of The Crimson King and Tokyo Anal Dynamite.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote hugo1995 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 16 2020 at 15:16
Third is a prog fans dream tbh. 4 20 minute track. I think the last track Out Bloody Rageous has the longest continuous organ solo I've ever heard. And it's f**king amazing.

There was seriously no band like Soft Machine. 
Moon Safari - Blomljud, Egg - Egg, Egg - Polite Force, ELP - Trilogy, Frost - Milliontown, Soft Machine - Third, Gong - You, Opeth (Everything pre watershed), Miles Davis - Bitches Brew
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Borris Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 07 2020 at 21:55
Soft Machine has always been special to me and I'm one of those weird people that loves the changes that happen with the personnel changes. The first two albums are the psychedelic pop albums, and the first one had Kevin Ayers who is a solo artist i love.

Third is weird a really murky recording quality but very inventive.

Fourth has a much clearer recording and way closer to straight jazz, but they were still pretty experimental. But there is music on this that has just become a part of me.

5th is a transition and it has some good music on.

6th the arrival of Karl Jenkins I'm not that keen on the live album, but the studio album is fantasic if very disparate, Chloe and the Pirates is one of my favourite soft Machine tracks

7 is nearly all Karl Jenkins it has nothing of the experimental feel of the earlier albums, but I like the music.

Bundles Alan Holdsworth on guitar cool compositions great cover

Softs - their most beautiful album a highly under rated album.

The Land of Cockayne - For me this has a kind of Henry Mancini vibe and I don't find that a bad thing a nice collection of music.

They'd certainly have something in my top 100
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote moshkito Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 09 2020 at 07:34
Hi,

I think that SM is not going to be in a long list because it has no SONGS ... and our list is predicated on SONGS ... and nothing else, other than the favoritism of most folks. 

And the band, when it started and in its first albums ... was not quite interested in being a "song" band, and this, eventually gave the idea that SM was "Different Every Time" ... which became the name of Robert Wyatt's book ... and this is something that is really hard for "progressive music" listeners ... a band that continues changing and is different on the next album, and then the drummer has to leave, but he creates something even more different, in ROCK BOTTOM and RUTH IS STRANGER THAN FISH ... (couldn't help it!) ... which kinda made SM all of a sudden seem not so creative and important ... and because they could not play the same piece the same in two different nights (remember ... different every time!), it made this a very difficult band to be appreciated by a lot of fans ... only a hard core jazz fan would enjoy this ... and I'm not sure that many of the folks that like it (here) are hard core jazz fans that can appreciate the free form in a jazz style.


Edited by moshkito - February 09 2020 at 19:39
... none of the hits, none of the time ... now try finding your own mirror/art! www.pedrosena.com
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote BrufordFreak Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 09 2020 at 11:19
Lack of polish in the performances and sound rendering (engineering) of the early recordings.
The highs are high but the lows are low.
Their sound is really difficult to pinpoint since they were always changing.
They never put out a solid album of great songs, start-to-finish, until Bundles.
All of the above.
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