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The Soft Machine - Drop CD (album) cover


The Soft Machine


Canterbury Scene

3.06 | 24 ratings

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Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer
3 stars What might make this attractive to the SOFT MACHINE fan is that "Drop" is a live recording with drummer Phil Howard on it. He only played with the band for about 5 months before being asked to leave. He was originally asked to join by Elton Dean who he was already playing with in Elton's side project. Both Dean and Howard were both very much into the Free-Jazz scene and you can certainly see that SOFT MACHINE were headed in that direction on this live recording. After recording about half of "Fifth" Howard was sent packing, Dean would leave a few months after that, then Hopper would follow suit. Phil Howard who replaced Robert Wyatt was himself replaced by John Marshall. I should mention that this recording was taken from their tour of Germany back in the fall of 1971. I had to laugh at febus' review of the live album "Grinds" where he says: "How many more versions of "Facelift" or "Eamon Andrews" can you have ? You've got to draw the line somewhere".This was coming from perhaps SOFT MACHINE's biggest fan. Well I agree with febus and feel that "Grinds" and "Floating World Live" are much better live recordings than this. Just an opinion.

Funny but I cannot get into this album at all. I mean it's cool to hear Howard's style and the new freer flavour that the band had, but for me it doesn't compare to the "Grinds" album with Wyatt on it. I agree with what Man With Hat says in his review about the opening of the song "Drop" that it's almost a relief not to hear Howards prominant drumming as it's much calmer with electric piano. Elton Dean is also all over this record as he and Howard really do dominate.

So a good album for sure, and this rare glimpse at this version of SOFT MACHINE makes this worth checking out.

Mellotron Storm | 3/5 |


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