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The Soft Machine - Softs CD (album) cover


The Soft Machine


Canterbury Scene

3.88 | 242 ratings

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Zac M
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This album represents the best of the post-Wyatt days. Karl Jenkins plays the main role as composer and plays keyboards with a little help from Mike Ratledge, who now appears as a guest musician on two tracks (Song of Aeolus and Ban-Ban Caliban). This album evokes a certain emotional intensity and builds upon each theme as each piece progresses. Now, on to the review.

The album starts out with Aubade, a short intro featuring sax and guitar, the sax being played by Alan Wakeman, whom I am assuming has no relation to Rick Wakeman. It sets of the mood nicely. Next comes The Tale of Taliesin, which builds with intensity as the piece goes on. John Ethridge presents himself as a stunning guitarist. This piece bridges with Ban-Ban Caliban a furioso of sorts and is full of lots of energy. Side one closes with Song of Aeolus.

Side two starts out with Out of Season, and while many people find this track boring and repetitive, I love it. The piano melody is so simple, but soon is enhanced by Etheridge's wonderful acoustic guitar. This wonderful piece bridges into Second Bundle, a cool synth piece similar to pieces like the French and German Lessons off of Seven. Next comes the ever-famous Marshall drum solo. It starts out being a bit noodley and avant-garde, but is still an interesting track to listen to. The Camden Tandem is a short featured duet between Marshall and Etheridge, which ends just as Nexus, another short Jenkin's composition begins. One Over the Eight harkens back to the sound of some of the members ex-band, Nucleus. All the players on the album get a chance to play in this funky, up-tempo piece. Alan Wakeman's sax is excellent here. After that flourish comes a simple acoustic guitar tune played by the underrated John Etheridge. It's a nice way to close an outstanding album.

This album really deserves five stars. Karl Jenkin's compoitional skills here are just as evident as those with Nucleus. I highly recommend this album. It's definitely the best of the post-Wyatt years and is highly underrated. 4.5 stars

Zac M | 4/5 |


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