SOFT MACHINE — Softs

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SOFT MACHINE - Softs cover
2.76 | 15 ratings | 2 reviews
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Album · 1976

Tracklist

A1 Aubade
A2 The Tale Of Taliesin
A3 Ban-Ban Caliban
A4 Song Of Aeolus
B1 Out Of Season
B2 Second Bundle
B3 Kayoo
B4 The Camden Tandem
B5 Nexus
B6 One Over The Eight
B7 Etika

Total Time: 45:24

Line-up/Musicians

- John Etheridge /Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar
- Roy Babbington /Bass
- John Marshall /Drums, Percussion
- Karl Jenkins /Piano, Electric Piano, Piano [Pianette], Synthesizer [String, Minimoog]
- Alan Wakeman /Soprano Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone
- Mike Ratledge (tracks A3,A4)

About this release

Harvest – SHSP 4056 (UK)

Recorded at Abbey Road Recording Studios, Spring 1976

Thanks to snobb, EZ Money for the updates

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SOFT MACHINE SOFTS reviews

Specialists/collaborators reviews

snobb
Bundles,previous Soft Machine's album, was kind of band's return to form with new energy of guitarist Alan Holdsworth (stylistically far from classic Soft Machine's sound though). Unhappily, Holdsworth left the band few months after Bundles was recorded, and last founding member keyboardist Mike Ratledge left the band soon as well.

So Softs were recoded by band under the formal "Soft Machine" name, but without original members at all, with no direction and with newly formed line-up. In new band Holdsworth's guitar-led fashion was changed by John Etheridge on acoustic and electric guitars,Karl Jenkins switched from sax to keyboards and new sax player Alan Wakeman came to band.

Not much left from original band's line-up, not much left from original band's music as well.Being still team of competent musicians, band almost lost last jazz elements in their sound,music played is in fact prog rock (close to pop-rock in some moments). Straight forward often mid-tempo melodic compositions with simple arrangements and accent on tune and some soloing sound very different from everything band (even different incarnations of Soft Machine)played before. Even more - all album sounds as collection of bulky material: some pop-rock tunes,prog-rock compositions and technically competent but out of place heavy guitar soloing and even long drums solo! Direction-less compilation of average and below average instrumental music.

In fact,this release is final point of Soft Machine,even if there will be released few more albums under that name.

Members reviews

Warthur
With Mike Ratledge only appearing on a couple of tracks - and then only billed as a guest artist - Softs marks the precise moment where Soft Machine's links to its illustrious past were finally severed forever. Though to be fair, the only remaining link was the fact that Mike was present, rather than anything he was playing or contributing - by Mike's own account, Karl Jenkins and others had essentially taken over the songwriting for a while, and his last years in the band were a deeply uncomfortable experience he was glad to put past him.

So, what does Soft Machine sound like without Mike Ratledge? That's a good question, and one which the band show no sign of knowing the answer to. There's a gentle acoustic bit here, a bit of unimaginative rockin' out on electric guitar by John Etheridge over there, and Karl occasionally tinkles on the synthesisers but doesn't seem to come up with anything decisive or compelling to do with them. The album sounds like a technically competent band waiting to receive their marching orders and aimlessly jamming whilst they wait, only to accidentally release the directionless, aimless, pointless guff that results instead of a properly composed album.

Softs, quite simply, is a bunch of guys playing under the name Soft Machine for the sake of being Soft Machine. No creative vision on the part of anyone present is in evidence, and it's shockingly clear that this era of the band was dominated by Karl Jenkins not by design but by default - quite simply, he's prominent enough on the album to be considered by most to be the band leader despite not really bringing anything resembling leadership or direction to the table. Those absolutely devoted to hearing everything the Machine ever produced will probably want this one, but for everyone else there's plenty of alternatives if you want a slight, technically competent fusion album - try, oh, I don't know, anything by any band with any sense of identity or purpose whatsoever.

Ratings only

  • lunarston
  • KK58
  • fmotp
  • Lynx33
  • EntertheLemming
  • yair0103
  • smartpatrol
  • ocasalif
  • darkprinceofjazz
  • Croteau
  • Nightfly
  • Sean Trane
  • richby

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