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The Soft Machine - Virtually CD (album) cover


The Soft Machine


Canterbury Scene

3.76 | 47 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

2 stars No newcomer should start here, since Virtually contains several of the band's fatal flaws and not so much of it's good sides.

Soft Machine was a band equally powerful live as it was in the studio, but with Dean's constant use of the saxello by the end of 1970, Ratledge's less time with untreated organ and more time with Rhodes electric piano, and Wyatt's lack of interest in what the band was doing make most 1971 performances sound lifeless and lacklustre, lacking a lot of the edge of the previous years. Another huge problem is the time spent with pure jazz jams instead of jazz-rock improvs, a move that reduces once-brilliant stuff like "Facelift" and "Slightly All The Time" to mere vehicles to stretch out without much direction.

However, as much as that stuff seemed to affect the band during that year, they were still capable of some exceptional stuff. The problem is, this release doesn't have as much of it as it has the aforementioned jazz noodling, and the thin sound of Radio Bremen does not help it, either.

All in all, this is a release mainly for completionists instead of the casual fan, but jazz lovers may want to hear it.

JackFloyd | 2/5 |


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