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The Soft Machine - Third CD (album) cover


The Soft Machine


Canterbury Scene

4.21 | 971 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
2 stars Lots of jazz noodling, simple chord progressions and extended instrumentals; in other words, not much really good music.

Apparently it was becoming acceptable in 1970 to release double albums of primarily improv playing, given Miles Davis' Bitches Brew the previous year and other similar releases. I'm glad that trend did not continue. Third features only four songs, but each of these "songs" is basically three or four extremely simple melodies (in some cases, the more appropriate term would be "freakout" or "groove") repeated for about five minutes with lots of sax and fuzz organ noodling placed on top. I won't even call these jams, because that insinuates some kind of virtuosity or meaningful progression: the feature instruments really play neither of these most of the time. Some of these grooves are certainly enjoyable, such as the distored middle section of Facelift, the up-tempo section of Moon in June about two-thirds through, and most of Slightly All the Time, but there doesn't seem to be much thought put into transitions and progression of the pieces.

As with most double albums, there's just too much filler and padding. Unfortunately, with Third we are forced to be patient to be rewarded with the truly enjoyable parts. There are many times when I'm just not that patient, and instead put on Nine Feet Undergroud by Caravan, which to my ears is everything that Soft Machine is trying to do with Third, except just much better all around. There is some four-star material, but simply not enough to earn a four-star rating.

Flucktrot | 2/5 |


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