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The Soft Machine - Third CD (album) cover


The Soft Machine


Canterbury Scene

4.21 | 984 ratings

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the philosopher
5 stars Soft Machine's Third, Miles Davis' Bitches Brew, Mother of Inventions' Uncle Meat, Captain Beefheart's Trout Mask Replica and Jimi Hendrix' Electric Ladyland all made a doubble record in the timespan of 1969-1970. All these bands influenced each other in one way or another. Jimi Hendrix convinced Miles Davis of recruting a guitar player in his band, changing from Jazz to fusion. Soft Machine was influenced by Miles Davis with it's wind- sections and recruted a saxophonist. The Soft Machine was also influenced by the avant- garde scene of the Mothers and less obvious by Captain Beefheart. But it is clear that Captain Beefheart and Frank Zappa did influence each other, because they were old schoolmates. So, there was some first wave of doubble-records going on in the avant- garde/fusion scene in the 1969-1970. A second wave of double-records can be seen in the symphonic prog scene between 1973 and 1974 by Focus, Yes and Genesis who centainly influenced each other.

Like in the Bitches Brew of MD the Soft Machine made a double record with side-filling tracks. The sides do really sound different. Well, maybe the second and fourth side do contain some resemblances, because they were written both by M. Ratledge. Soft Machine had a huge line-up with eight (!) musicians while recording this record. So, many instruments are available for this work. This line-up broke, because there was not enough money to contain such a line-up!

-Side1- This is my favourite side of the record. Facelift is a live-recording and is written by the bassguitarist of the band; H. Hopper. The opening is a incredible avant-garde piece played with key-instruments. Later on, this composition changes more into avant-garde jazz-rock. Mostly influenced by Frank Zappa, five stars!

-Side 2 and 4- These side are both written by M. Ratledge. These side contain jazz- rock/fusion compositions with some more relaxed mood. These sides seems to be mostly influenced by Miles Davis and contain some nice themes and solo´s: 4+ stars.

-Side 3- The Moon in June is written by Robert Wyatt and sounds as most as the earlier Soft Machine records of this third album. This is the only side with vocals of this great artist. This composition is therefor the most songlike composition. Later on it becomes psychedelic. 4,5 stars!

This record as a whole contains many brilliant moments and melodies and all compositions have these nice canterbury sounds, although not as clear as in Soft Machine earlier efforts. This record can easily be seen as the peak of Soft Machine's career and deserves our deepest respect. Soft Machine was a very early progressive band playing far more progressive stuff than most other progressive groups at the time. A masterpiece!

the philosopher | 5/5 |


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