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SOFT MACHINE - Six cover
3.79 | 15 ratings | 2 reviews
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Live album · 1973

Filed under Fusion


A1 Fanfare 0:42
A2 All White 4:43
A3 Between 2:24
A4 Riff 4:31
A5 37½ 6:53
B1 Gesolreut 6:13
B2 E.P.V. 2:47
B3 Lefty 4:50
B4 Stumble 1:50
B5 5 From 13 (For Phil Seamen With Love & Thanks) 5:15
B6 Riff II 0:26
C1 The Soft Weed Factor 11:17
C2 Stanley Stamps Gibbon Album (For B.O.) 5:57
D1 Chloe And The Pirates 9:29
D2 1983 7:11

Total Time: 76:09


- Hugh Hopper /Bass
- John Marshall /Drums, Percussion
- Karl Jenkins /Oboe, Baritone Saxophone, Soprano Saxophone, Electric Piano, Grand Piano, Celesta
- Mike Ratledge /Organ, Electric Piano, Grand Piano, Celesta

About this release

CBS – 68214 (UK)

Record 1: Live LP
Recorded at The Dome, Brighton and at the Civic Hall, Guildford, UK and mixed at Advision Studios, London during the months of October and November 1972.
Side A total running time: 19:21
Side B total running time: 22:24

Record 2: Studio LP
'1983' recorded and mixed at Advision Studios, London.
All other compositions recorded and mixed at CBS Studios, London during the months of November and December 1972

Thanks to snobb for the updates


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

Elton Dean's departure soon after the release of band's previous album,Fifth,and his replacement by ex-Nucleus Karl Jenkins opened new era in Soft Machine's music. Six is a double album, second after Third,but it's structure is different: it opens with live recordings (all first LP)and continues with studio recorded compositions on second vinyl LP.

Album's opener Fanfare and next composition All White sound excellent and in few first moments listener can be fooled he's listening Dean's sax solos. But very soon the difference become obvious - instead of Dean's free improvisational playing manner,Jenkins plays groove fusion.He is technically capable musician,so music sounds really good,but the atmosphere of all recording is very different from everything Soft Machine played and recorded before.

All live recording is quite well structured with simple bass line,and all rhythm section mostly on support of soloing sax and electric piano.It could be a good music played by any other band, but with Soft Machine legacy such change looks as step back.

Studio-recorded materials are even more different.Almost fully composed,well structured songs with repetitive sections,some sound effects and experimental elements sound interesting,but are even more far from classic Soft Machine compositions. When you listen sound of melted minimalist contemporary music and jazz fusion with electric piano multi-layers,you understand that Soft Machine is really interesting,but absolutely different band from now.

Members reviews

Elton Dean left Soft Machine after Five, and in came Karl Jenkins, who plays on both reed instruments and keyboards on this albums. The arrival of Jenkins is, like the departure of Robert Wyatt, a controversial point amongst Soft Machine fans, some of whom resent the way he eventually took control over the band, but - despite the fact that I am a major fan of Robert Wyatt and his tenure in the Machine - I think Karl was exactly what the group needed at the time.

Mike Ratledge has said that at around this point his enthusiasm for the group had been flagging, not least because being in the position of being the only remaining original member of the group proved to be deeply uncomfortable. The fact that Jenkins contributes about as much to the songwriting on this album as Ratledge (they compose more or less all the tracks, Hugh Hopper's creepy and foreboding 1983 being a notable exception) seems to show that the new boy had a heap of musical ideas and was able to take on the burden of producing material for the group just as Ratledge was beginning to falter.

The change in the band's sound evident on this album is also a great improvement. Backing away from the almost-completely-jazz model of fusion that dominated the previous two studio albums, the double-disc sets shows a bolder, rockier, funkier model of fusion, played by a band which sounds fresh and revitalised. Even All White from Fifth, which makes an appearance on the live disc, sounds utterly different from its previous incarnation - and greatly improved to boot, with the new lineup breathing new life into the track. (Remember, John Marshall didn't drum on the Fourth rendition because it was recorded before he joined the group, so there's two entirely new players performing on this version.)

Diverse, dramatic, and once again grabbing the listener's attention and forging their own bold vision of fusion rather than pandering to the jazz establishment, Six put the Softs straight back to the top - and finally won them the awards and approval from the jazz world that had eluded them previously. It is probably best to treat this band as a different group with the same name as the band that produced the first three studio albums, but having passed through two difficult transitional albums the transformed Soft Machine is a mighty beast in its own right. It's really a fusion group rather than a Canterbury scene institution at this point, but what wonderful fusion! A very strong four and a half stars.

Ratings only

  • eurothe65
  • KK58
  • Lynx33
  • yair0103
  • smartpatrol
  • chrijom
  • ocasalif
  • darkprinceofjazz
  • Croteau
  • darkshade
  • Drummer
  • Sean Trane
  • richby

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