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Soft Machine Legacy - Steam CD (album) cover


Soft Machine Legacy


Canterbury Scene

3.76 | 33 ratings

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Easy Money
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars I'm not sure why these guys decided to call themselves Soft Machine Legacy, with three Soft Machine members on board and a woodwind player who can channel Elton Dean without sounding totally derivative, seems to me that this is none other than Soft Machine itself. I was curious what the always futuristic Soft Machine would sound like in the middle of the first decade of the new century. Would one of the first proto nu-jazz bands be using drumnbass rhythm patterns, DJ loops and Laswell styled psychedelic dub mixing? The answer is no, none of those things. All the same, this new Soft Machine (Legacy) still sounds modern, and fortunately still sounds very much like The Soft Machine we have all come to know and love over the years.

The music on here is almost like a retrospective of their whole career, tempered with some modern sensibilities. The classic 3rd through 5th albums are well represented by Theo Travis' soprano sax and flute solos that are often given that classic Soft Machine tape loop echo treatment. Guitarist John Etheridge recalls the heavier more guitar driven versions of the band when either he or Alan Holdsworth held the guitar chair. Meanwhile, the modern influences show up in the implied hip-hop shuffle in some of John Marshall's beats, as well as the Ronald Shannon Jackson styled 'drum line' fills and patterns. Overall the band seems to have picked up influences from the tough lean NYC knitting factory scene and Miles' stripped down keyboardless screaming guitar outings with Mike Stern and Marcus Miller in the early 80s.

This is a great album, and if you like this band you will not be disappointed. My only complaint is the same as with many Soft Machine albums, this band never really writes a memorable melody, but it's a minor flaw in that they more than make up for that deficiency with creative jazz rock that never looses site of the importance of sound texture, something that is completely lost on many other fusion bands.

Easy Money | 3/5 |


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