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Soft Machine


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Audio CD, May 22, 2012
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 22, 2012)
  • Original Release Date: 2012
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Sundazed Music Inc.
  • ASIN: B007NUQIVU
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #142,495 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Hope for Happiness
2. Joy of a Toy
3. Hope for Happiness (reprise)
4. Why Am I So Short?
5. So Boot If At All
6. A Certain Kind
7. Save Yourself
8. Priscilla
9. Lullabye Letter
10. We Did It Again
11. Plus Belle qu'une Poubelle
12. Why Are We Sleeping?
13. Box 25/4 Lid

Editorial Reviews

The first two albums by England's legendary Soft Machine, originally released in 1968 and 1969, remain among the most innovative and influential releases of that musically fertile era. These seminal LPs offered a visionary psychedelic-progressive-jazz-rock mix that helped to make the Soft Machine one of Britain's first significant underground bands, as well as a key force in the birth of both progressive rock and jazz-rock.

A product of the same fabled Canterbury scene that spawned such beloved cult acts as Caravan and Hatfield and the North, the Soft Machine was the rare art-rock combo whose members possessed the instrumental skills to execute their ambitious musical ideas, as well as a playful sense of humor that balanced the band's complex compositions and adventurous improvisations. By the time they began making albums, the Soft Machine was already a sensation in the budding U.K. rock underground, thanks to their now-legendary performances at such fabled London clubs as the UFO, the Speakeasy and Middle Earth, where they shared stages with the likes of Pink Floyd and Tomorrow.

The Soft Machine, co-produced by Chas Chandler and Tom Wilson, announced the band's arrival on the international scene in fine style. With an unusual three-man lineup comprised of Kevin Ayers on bass and vocals, Robert Wyatt on drums and vocals, and Mike Ratledge on keyboards, the album was recorded in New York, while the band was touring North America with the Jimi Hendrix Experience. In contrast to the extended pieces that would later dominate the Soft Machine's repertoire, the album focuses on shorter, more concise songs that nonetheless provide plenty of room for the musicians to demonstrate their varied abilities.

This landmark gem has been out of print for decades, but now it is back in a meticulously packaged Sundazed compact disc edition. Mastered from the original analog tapes, this lovingly restored album sounds as powerful and imaginative as ever.

Customer Reviews

There are no liner notes.
kireviewer
The sound is very good, not "dated", as one of these people suggests.
A. N. O'Nemus
The CD shown here does not contain the songs listed above.
R. Shouse

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By S. H. Towsley on November 26, 2000
Format: Audio CD
This band toured with Jimi Hendrix around 1968, and I saw them in Muncie, Indiana, then went out and bought this album in vinyl. At the time, it was their first and only album. The killer was, the album's production mix was terrible (I can only speak for my copy, but still...). Here was a trio relying upon heavy-duty organ (!) and a super-solid bass bottom end well before anyone else was doing it (Todd Rundgren & others who used organ in place of lead guitar in a power trio came later). In live performance, Soft Machine was as powered up as any other trio of the time, from Hendrix to Cream. They were loud, yes, but their sound was classic power rock -- deep bass, rockin' drums, and those amazing, somewhat overdriven instrumental licks by the lead instrument, a well-amped Hammond B3 (I think).
They took the crowd totally by surprise. Their performance was wordless, and contained very little vocal. It was just great playing, with improvisation, and, I learned later, a close relative of jazz fusion. They were bathed in a psychedelic light show on an otherwise darkened stage, and they very simply knocked us over.
Then, as I said, I bought the album, and to my everlasting disappointment, the bottom end was entirely missing. What had been their gutsy and gutteral sound on stage became a narrow band of mid-range tootling. There was no way to play this for friends and have them see why I loved this band. I didn't have sufficient graphic equalization to try to "re-mix" the thing on my stereo, but even if I had, I have no doubt that the production values of that album helped to assure that Soft Machine would NOT be able to capitalize on their brilliant live shows in the hottest rock double-bill it has ever been my privilege to witness.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Jack B. Nimble on May 18, 2006
Format: Audio CD
I really enjoyed The Soft Machine's 1968 debut after listening to it. I bought the CD reissue on One Way Records back in the early 90's after seeing an original 68' pressing. I liked the album cover with the movable die cut wheel. Being into Pink Floyd and The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown, I knew that this group also played the London Underground music scene back in the 60's. This was unlike anything I heard previously. Mike Ratledge's Lowry organ had a raw distinct sound different from the other combo organs which were widely used at the time. This shaped the Soft Machine's sound. Being that Robert Wyatt sang, played drums and also laid down the bass lines on this album, the music is quite tight and synchronized. The album is a unique brand of acid jazz/rock with experimentations in the studio. These guys had a lot to bring to the table of British prog rock. I know The Soft Machine had to influence 3 decades of musicians. As noted in the previous reviews, their first 3 LP's are fantastic and their best. There is a lot of energy coming from this band and I could only imagine what they were like in concert back in the 60's and 70's. If you can pick up an original pressing do so, but the sound quality on the CD reissue is actually superb and sounds much better than the original vinyl which lacks dynamic range and the highs are compressed. Usually it's the other way around for CD reissues. Pick this up!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 17, 1999
Format: Audio CD
I saw them open for Hendrix at the Auditorium Theatre in Chicago with no knowledge whatsoever of who they were. They blew me away and I bought the album as soon as I had the money. I wore it out, bought it again, wore it out again, then recently bought the CD. It remains strong to this day. This was, in my opinion, their strongest line-up. Keith Emerson was getting the accolades back then, but Mike Ratledge has some truly viscious organ solos on this record. Wyatt plays some amazing drums, and his unique vocals run from goofy in songs like "Why Am I so Short" to touching in "A Certain Kind." Kevin Ayers puts his comic spin on much of the writing. This is truly inspired with little regard to convention, which is probably why it still sounds so darned great.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 12, 1999
Format: Audio CD
Soft machine is best regarded for their jazz/rock records 2 and 3 but in my personal opinion the First is their best. Robert Wyatt's original drumming is in apex and it's never found in all his subsequent works. The whole record is a connected piece with a serious of songs, with impressive melody and unpredictable treatment. It is a very raw yet brilliant record. For those interested in progressive/psychedelic you mustn't miss this one. ~~~by Fu Wai
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 6, 2003
Format: Audio CD
Caught them as the warm-up band for Hendrix summer 68 at Merriwether Post Pavilion in Columbia, Md.
A religious experience.
A friend of mine who REALLY knew music (full ride scholarship to Peabody Institute) sat entranced - no recreational pharmaceuticals, just the music.
He said, "Remember this day. Men from the future have come to Earth."
This, from a man who believed music began with Bach, and ended with Beethoven.
Went out, bought their album, and ran the grooves down with all of the slugs used to hold the tone-arm down!
Used to listen to it all night...
What dreams!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 15, 1999
Format: Audio CD
This release (essentially their first) was a verbatum record of their live performances. This was the original trio format with Kevin Ayers as bassist. I saw this band perform as the opening act to Jimi Hendrix in Flint, Mi. in early 68 or 69. One of the earliest bands to use a double floor kick set-up. An original and outstanding recording of an avant-garde band at it's artistic finest. A true find for collectors is the original 33 with rotating cover insert (on ABC Records).
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