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The Soft Machine - Live At Henie Onstad Art Centre CD (album) cover

LIVE AT HENIE ONSTAD ART CENTRE

The Soft Machine

 

Canterbury Scene

4.18 | 29 ratings

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toroddfuglesteg
5 stars "Is this Jazz ? Rock ? Progressive ?" "No, it is Soft Machine !"

This is a conversation printed in this digi-pack and it perfectly sums up the two gigs which now have been turned into this double album. So do we need another Soft Machine live album ? Not really. The material on this album is more or less the same as Grides from some years ago. There are some differences though........

The sound quality here is absolutte superb and miles better than the other live albums from this period, including Grides. The packaging of the CDs is also the most special I have ever seen. Instead of splitting the CDs up in songs, each CD has been mastered as one track. This is not Ipod friendly, but who cares. The songs flows into each other and makes one song so why destroy the feeling by splitting up this CD in tracks.

This double CD comes as a digi pack. The paper thin digi pack is not the sturdiest I have ever seen and easy to tear up by accident. So handle this album with utmost care, please. I would suggest a better packaging. But that is a minor flaw. Included in the package is a third multimedia CD with tonnes of information about the Henie Onstad Centre, the band, the artist and other stuff I have not been able to access yet due to a lack of time. What I have seen so far is excellent and it has given me a full immersion in the concept behind the two concerts. The picture and the art work is also excellent. But strangely enough, any track list or any other references to the tracks Soft Machine loosely runs through on the two CDs here has been omitted from this album. By purpose, I guess. But I have never seen this done before on an album.

Finally, the music.......... The music is mostly taken from Third, Fourth and Fifth. Both CDs is Soft Machine at their most introvert and improvisational. The music is neither jazz, rock or progressive. It is Soft Machine from the Third to Fifth era. The musis is very dense with Elton Dean's various windhorns as the dominant instrument. Hugh Hopper is barking away on his bass and Robert Wyatt is beating the life out of the drums in the background. Mike Ratledge is keeping it all together on his tangents. The songs flows and ebbs into each other without any efforts. The band is firing on all their cylinders. Which explains why these two gigs is still so revered in the Norwegian prog rock scene.

If you love the above mentioned studio albums; this is probably the ultimate live album for you. This album is a strange brew though. Very eclectic and so Soft Machine ! I think this live album is excellent and on the same level as the Floating World Live (Bremen 1975) album. But it showcases a totally different band than the one who did Bundles and Softs. Both bands are called Soft Machine though and carry their DNA profile. Herein lays the essence of Soft Machine.

This album is excellent and a sure purchase for everyone into Soft Machine. I put my (bad) reputation on line here and gives it five stars.

5 stars

toroddfuglesteg | 5/5 |

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