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The Soft Machine - Six CD (album) cover


The Soft Machine


Canterbury Scene

3.51 | 224 ratings

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Zac M
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Ah, now we're getting somewhere. Again, Soft Machine changes it's lineup adding Karl Jenkins, another former Nucleus member. Jenkins breathes new life into the band, adding keyboards and various winds (including his great oboe playing) into the mix). Sadly, this is High Hopper's last with the band; the Softs were never ones for keeping a stable lineup. Sixth is most definitely a major improvement over the previous release.

This double album consists of both live and studio material by the new lineup. The live sides are full of the vibrance and certain energy both Fourth and Fifth lacked. The intro to the live set is very, very similar to an intro Nucleus would have created a few years earlier. In fact, this is the first album where the band actually starts to sound like Nucleus. Highlights on the live side include "Gesolreut," "Riff," and "37 1/2."

The studio sides are a departure from the Dean style avant-jazz that was incorporated into previous releases. The tracks here are more mellow and laid-back (the energy's still there, don't worry), minus the album closer, Hopper's "1983," which is very avant-garde, much like 1984, Hopper's solo album. "Chloe and the Pirates" is one of my alltime favorite Softs pieces, primarily because of Jenkin's incredible Jazz-Rock Oboe playing. It's truly the highlight of the studio sides.

This album is sure a breath of fresh air after Fifth. Once again (do I have to really say it again...), this album is essential to Softs fan. Overall, I tend to like Seven more, but in the scheme of things, Sixth is much more impressive and important; they both still get the same rating from me. Four stars.

Zac M | 4/5 |


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