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The Soft Machine - British Tour '75 CD (album) cover


The Soft Machine


Canterbury Scene

3.81 | 32 ratings

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The Quiet One
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Bundles Live: Etheridge's Version

When I came to ProgArchives looking for Soft Machine, I found they were in the Canterbury sub-genre(which I had no idea what type of music it was), having been this my first Soft Machine album and the only album I had then, I thought Canterbury was Jazz Fusion, so I bought Caravan albums and more of Soft Machine, I had a unexpected surprise that was that they really didn't sound like Jazz Rock, well that's going a bit far, but really nothing alike this album that's for sure. I then knew that Soft Machine had changed into a straight-forward Jazz Rock outfit with a guitarist in the mid 70's.

British Tour '75 represents Soft Machine in that phase, their Jazz Rock phase or you can also call it the ''Guitar'' phase of Soft Machine. With new guitarist John Etheridge replacing the unmatchable Allan Holdsworth which had just left after playing on Bundles, which John had admired and found difficulty to play his solos, yet in this album he shows that he's capable of it and even sounding unique. The only original member on this one being legendary Prog keyboardist, Mike Ratledge, which is now more of an additional musician rather than the leader of the band as he had been in the early days, since the keyboard role had been split between him and Karl Jenkins two years prior to this, but besides that, the songwriting department is mainly focused on Karl Jenkins' compositions .

Anyways back to the album, this live album compromises most of the Bundles album plus a jam called Sign of Five, some solo spots and future material from the up-coming album, Softs. The songs from Bundles feature improvements and some changes from the original, plus the fantastic live sound which adds a special atmosphere in which Bundles was lacking of. Also the fact that almost in it's entirety it barely features applauses from the audience and that each song flows directly to the other, is one big bonus. The solo spots on the other hand are a bit too extravagant and a bit noisy; JVH with excessive use of electronics, while Sideburn is another endless drum solo by John Marshall.

All in all, British Tour '75 is one splendid straight-forward Jazz Rock live record, in which if you're a fan of the genre you definitely must check this out since Soft Machine plays a very singular type of Jazz Rock not in the likes of Return to Forever and Mahavishnu Orchestra neither Weather Report. If you're a Soft Machine fan of the early more jazzy and spacey era, this might be a great entrance to the new sound Soft Machine have been developing already since the release of Six.

4 stars. Excellent addition to any Jazz Rock/Fusion collection.

The Quiet One | 4/5 |


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