Jazz music community with review and forums

SOFT MACHINE - Softs cover
2.76 | 15 ratings | 2 reviews
Buy this album from MMA partners

Album · 1976


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


- 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


More places to buy metal & SOFT MACHINE music

  • CDUniverse - Specializing in the sale of domestic and imported music CDs and Imports


Specialists/collaborators reviews

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

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

Write/edit review

You must be logged in to write or edit review


Rating by members, ranked by custom algorithm
Albums with 30 ratings and more
A Love Supreme Post Bop
Buy this album from our partners
Kind of Blue Cool Jazz
Buy this album from our partners
The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady Progressive Big Band
Buy this album from our partners
Blue Train Hard Bop
Buy this album from our partners
My Favorite Things Hard Bop
Buy this album from our partners

New Jazz Artists

New Jazz Releases

Cecil Taylor Quintet : Lifting The Bandstand Avant-Garde Jazz
Buy this album from MMA partners
Give It All You Got Hard Bop
Buy this album from MMA partners
More new releases

New Jazz Online Videos

The Front Line
snobb· 3 days ago
Jon Batiste - I NEED YOU
snobb· 3 days ago
Get up off Your Knees
js· 4 days ago
All By Myself
js· 4 days ago
More videos

New JMA Jazz Forum Topics

More in the forums

New Site interactions


Latest Jazz News


More in the forums

Social Media

Follow us