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Soft Mountain - Soft Mountain CD (album) cover


Soft Mountain


Canterbury Scene

3.59 | 16 ratings

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Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer
4 stars This really is a one of a kind project where 4 legends(Hugh Hopper, Elton Dean, Hoppy Kamiyama and Yoshida Tatsuya)get together in a recording studio and without any discussion just start playing for 45 minutes. They take a short drinks break, then play for another 45 minutes. Hugh Hopper had met keyboardist / composer/producer Hoppy Kamiyama when he was in Japan in 1999 with the GONG Family tour. He had also met Yoshida Tatsuya at a gig in the UK where he was drumming for ACID MOTHERS TEMPLE. Hopper contacted Hoppy in Japan when there on tour with SOFT WORKS in 2003 about getting together with him and Dean to play between gigs, and the fact that these two Japanese legends made the time to do this with little notice shows their admiration for these two former SOFT MACHINE players. But make no mistake the respect and admiration was mutual. And I really feel this shines through on these two 30 minute improvs(cut down from 45 minutes in the studio).

As the first track starts you can hear all 4 players but Dean's sax is the most dominant. It settles down very quickly. A sax/piano melody 2 minutes in as drums get a little crazy. Some brief solo piano after 3 minutes. The bass / piano / drums section after 6 minutes sounds great. Sax is back before 7 minutes leading the way. Check out Hopper after 8 minutes as Yoshida beats the hell out of his drum kit. I've never heard Hugh so prominant before. Liquid sounding keys after 9 minutes. The drum / keys melody is fantastic 12 minutes in. Elton is ripping it up after 14 minutes and getting dissonant after 15 minutes. It's getting pretty intense 18 minutes in before settling down some a minute later. A really good drum / bass section 24 minutes in. The bass and keys trade solos until the drums take over. Sax is back 29 1/2 minutes in.The sax and drums stood out the most on this first improv.

The second song begins with an outstanding bass / drums and sax section. We start to get some strange vocal? sounds coming and going. Keys arrive around 4 minutes followed by some heavy bass lines. It's getting intense 6 1/2 minutes in. Sax stops a minute later. The drumming is incredible ! No surprise there. Sax is back 11 minutes in, and becomes dissonant. I love the soundcape before 13 minutes. The sax gets louder 14 1/2 minutes in. More heavy bass from Hugh before 19 minutes as drums pound away. A change follows as i'm sure Yoshida's arms are numb. So we just hear piano melodies for a minute until sax joins in. The sax becomes dissonant again as piano plays on. Drums join in before 23 minutes as Dean is letting it rip. It settles with some beautiful sax and piano as drums pound away.

This is a special recording to say the least. I feel that they brought out the very best in each other for this one magical recording. Sensational.

Mellotron Storm | 4/5 |


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