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The Soft Machine - Third CD (album) cover


The Soft Machine


Canterbury Scene

4.21 | 984 ratings

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Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars This is dedicated to two gentlemen who have recently passed away, one was a musician and the other his audience in solo form. "febus" was a much-admired reviewer/commentator/friend within PA who deeply loved and cherished his Soft Machine (a band that had a HUGE following in France). I had this in vinyl and cassette (remember those, kids?) and well, when I heard of Hugh Hopper passing I was a tad blue, went into a used CD shop (soon to be a distant memory) and what was sitting there, front and center? This album! I bought it ASAP, out of respect and opportunity.

This is a seminal landmark, vastly experimental at a time when experimenting with sex, drugs and rock n roll was the credo by which many wanted to live. The music inside has been well documented, so I will keep to a more impressionistic review , trying to capture the underlying ferocity of inspiration that gilded this recording from the opening "Facelift" groove to the "Return to the Bedroom" finale. The philosophy of this band was to boldly step beyond existing rock conventions and sonically abuse their instruments = a wildly distorted organ, a fuzzed almost nuclear bass and the choppiest polyrhythmic drumming ever! Decorating this mass of sound would be odd sax, deranged flute and weird strings. They called this osmosis of jazz, rock and prog, "Canterbury" (yeah, location, location, location). It remains as vital today as it was then, proving how much rock music has regressed in recent times. This is not easy listening, requiring patience, open-mindedness and a special mood to truly enjoy its ultimate message, that of a freedom of expression devoid of any strict conventions.

In Memoriam to Antoine aka "febus", here is his final paragraph from his stellar review: "THIRD is an album of wild experimentations, utter sheer beauty, delicate sound landscapes and scary instrumentations exceptional musicianship and creativity, uncompromising stance......and with all that it was quite a successful commercial album and their concerts at this time were well patronized and often sold out!! The MIKE RATLEDGE CROWNING achievement ...with a little help of his friends HUGH and ROBERT! There is nothing similar to THIRD, an absolutely unique experience, of course not for every one taste, but an unforgettable treasure when you get into it. Just dare!"

5 Hopping Anthonies

tszirmay | 5/5 |


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