Review

SOFT HEAP / SOFT HEAD Rogue Element (as Soft Head)

Live album · 1978 · Classic Fusion
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4.5/5 ·
snobb
Excellent live release of short-lived Canterbury all-stars band Soft Heap. Originally band's drummer was Pip Pyle, but he couldn't make it for the tour in France, so Dave Sheen was hired (and band's name was slightly changed from Soft Heap to Soft Head because of this).

Soft Heap was founded by ex-Soft Machine founders Elton Dean and Hugh Hopper, the other half were two known Canterbury musicians Alan Gowen and Pip Pyle.Relatively less known Dave Sheen on this release is absolutely adequate change for Pip Pyle though.

Band's music has its roots on classic Soft Machine sound, mixing psychedelic rock/pop with jazz improvs, Gowen added great composed melodic elements to the sound. Originally Soft Heap released only one studio album,a bit eclectic one, but full of excellent Dean's sax improvs, strong melodic component and even brass arrangements on some compositions. Possibly the only weak point of studio release was its a bit chaotic mix of genres and slightly too lazy dynamics.

This live version doesn't have such problems at all! Music is a bit faster and much more energetic, all quite different elements are melted in one balanced sound and as a result you have one of the most adventurous, beautiful and experimental electric jazz album, recorded in late 70-s.

Cuneiform re-released this album on CD in 1996 with two strong bonus tracks, what made the album even better.

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