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The Soft Machine - Third CD (album) cover


The Soft Machine


Canterbury Scene

4.21 | 984 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
5 stars (third of a series of eleven)

The masterpiece (or meisterwerk) from this band and the first one to start the slow but implacable and mercyless progression/transformation of a psychadelic caterpillar into a superb fusion butterfly. Only four tracks (one per side as this was a double vinyl) but what tracks they are.

Only one track with vocals (Moon In June.... from memory) but they are wordless as Wyatt has learned to use his incredible voice as another instrument. The Out Bloody Rageous tune is my fave on here and Facelift is the first real influence of Hopper in this group. Slightlly All The Time is also a gem. The band is becoming much a reed (or brass) oriented Jazz-rock as Elton Dean joins as official member and for a few weeks ,"ex- Keith Tippet Group" Charig and Evans had joined too but this was not to last. Please not that all these reed players were extremely active on the prog scene also playing in Crimson albums as well as in Centipde's lone album Septober Energy (which should deserve inclusion on this site). However Charig and Evans will come back for later albums as guests. The four tracks are full of very successful improvisation but the structure is definitely progressive.

If you are looking to indulge in a Canterbury-styled album, this astounding album is much recommended but maybe not the most representative of that musical current: you might want to try Hatfield & the North.

Sean Trane | 5/5 |


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