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The Soft Machine - Land of Cockayne CD (album) cover


The Soft Machine


Canterbury Scene

3.01 | 176 ratings

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Special Collaborator
RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
4 stars The soft-jazz orchestral music of this album was misleading to me, as this has been my first Soft Machine album. I have to say that I liked it and I still like it very much, but it made difficult for me entering into the true Soft Machines, as Fourth was my second attempt and as many of you can easily understand they are two totally different things.

So let's forget for a while that they are the Soft Machine, or what remained of the band as elements like Wyatt and Allen were no longer in the lineup.

"Over And Above" opens the album with a Floydian guitar that after some passages becomes jazzy thanks to the sax and the slap on the bass (something absolutely not Floydian). A choir sings what can be considered the chorus, then it proceeds more or less in this way, giving room to short riffs of bass, sax and guitar. Easy maybe, but I really like it.

"Lotus Groves" is introduced by a bass harmonic and a gong. Then it becomes an electronic track, repetitive but short. Or better seems short but it's about 5 minutes. The fretless bass is the protagonist together with the bass flute that gives it a touch of "ambient".

"Isle Of The Blessed" is a short orchestral track suitable for a movie soundtrack. It's less than two minutes long but it can't be considered a filler. Nobody would write an orchestral arrangement for a filler. It's connected to the next track.

"Panoramania" is fusion. Rhythmic bass, funky drums and sax while the electric piano adds accents. One of the best album's things. There's a great piano solo in the second part.

A filler like "Behind The Glass Curtain" closes the A side.

"Palace Of Glass" opens the B-side. This is just the introduction to the amazing "Hot-Biscuit Slim" which I consider the best track. The two tracks are connected by a short but effective drums solo. The start is melodic, but the sax here is the most jazzy thing that can be found on this disc. Great bass and organ in the background. Excellent fusion.

"Black Velvet Mountain" is another slow orchestral moment on which the melody is carried on by strings until the guitar first, then sax come. There's a Wishbone Ash's song on Front Page News with a similar mood.

"Sky Monkey" is another jazz-fusion track based on sax and orchestra. Just a bit more jazz than the most jazzy parts of Camel's Rain Dances or Breathless. A great guitar solo, too.

The last 50 melodic seconds of "A Lot Of What You Fancy"....they can really be the Camel here.

A very good Jazz-rock album. Forget Robert Wyatt and Daevid Allen for a while and enjoy this album for what it is, instead of for what one can expect from Soft Machine.

4.5 stars

octopus-4 | 4/5 |


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