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Soft Heap - Soft Head: Rogue Element CD (album) cover


Soft Heap


Canterbury Scene

3.99 | 22 ratings

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Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer
4 stars This is a live album recorded in a club in France in 1978. Alan Gowen, Hugh Hopper, Elton Dean and Dave Sheen make up this band.The first three are all gone now sadly. It's hard to believe when looking at the pictures of Alan Gowen in the liner notes that just three years from this recording he died of cancer while still in his thirties. In the liner notes it describes Alan as "a jazzer by nature, but his writing was dominated by elaborate and expansive themes. His playing had litheness and lightness which blurred what was scored and what was improvised. Running parallel jaunts with Elton's bitter-sweet saxello, Alan could wail in a way that stretched tonality to it's limit".

"Seven For Lee" opens with bass as light drums join in then keys. Sax before a minute. Great sound here. A calm arrives around 6 1/2 minutes then it builds with bass and drums. Sax before 8 minutes then keys. "Seven Drones" is a Hopper composition. Drums and dissonant keys lead the way as sax comes and goes. Bass before 1 1/2 minutes as the sax starts to play over top. The sax and keys become dissonant. Crazy stuff. It figures that this is a Hopper tune. "Remain So" picks up quickly with piano but the tempo changes often on this one. Bass takes over before 3 minutes. Sax is back late.

"Ranova" is a Dean composition and the longest at almost 17 minutes. It's mellow and slow to start with atmosphere. A beat changes that 4 minutes in. Sax is back a minute later and it gets pretty dissonant. The sax stops 10 1/2 minutes in as keyboards take over. Bass leads 14 minutes in but the sax returns before 15 minutes to the end. "C You Again" opens with sax and Elton does put on a show. Drums, bass and keys join in after 1 1/2 minutes. It's building 3 minutes in. "C.R.R.C" is another long one at 14 minutes. I like the sound here as keys and sax lead while the bass and drums are also prominant. The tempo picks up after 5 1/2 minutes. It calms right down a minute later with piano, bass and drums. "One Three Nine" is a jazzy little number with sax and keys leading. A bass solo after 5 1/2 minutes.

A very important document really of these talented men playing live. The electric piano, sax, bass and drums are played as only these men could play them.

Mellotron Storm | 4/5 |


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