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Seven Import, Original recording remastered

3.9 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Import, Original recording remastered, March 5, 2007
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Editorial Reviews

2007 digitally remastered reissue of this 1974 album from UK legends Soft Machine features a bonus disc that contains a BBC Live Session recorded at the Royal Albert Hall. In the history of Rock music, few bands underwent such a stylistic musical transformation as Soft Machine. Starting life as a band that absorbed Soul and Jazz influences, the group were one of the first to embrace Psychedelia before heading off on a Jazz influenced tangent. In hindsight Soft Machine's evolution could have only taken place in the musical free thinking environment that was the music business of the late 60's / early 70's. It was an evolution that would produce some of the most startlingly brilliant and innovative music of the period. Sony/BMG. 2007.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 5, 2007)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import, Original recording remastered
  • Label: Sony Bmg Europe
  • ASIN: B000H8RWEW
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #115,250 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Writing this makes me feel as though I'm Elmer Fudd, sneaking up on Bugs so that he doesn't hear me, but here goes anyway: I like this CD. I mean, I REALLY like this CD. In fact, I've liked it since its original release, which was my introduction to the band. Oh sure, I've since gone back and listened to their earlier material - you know, the stuff that's venerated by so many that there are probably several world religions based on it by now. And sure, the earlier stuff is indeed most excellent. But the criticism of this band for its evolution is as misplaced as was the criticism of Dylan when he similarly evolved some years earlier. Dylan clearly knew what he was doing, and he exposed his critics as tired old folkies. In retrospect, those that criticize this release are tired old hippies. Get over it folks - this is good stuff. In fact, I'll go so far as to say that it's an important CD. Not as important as Bitches Brew, but similar. These guys weren't the technicians that Miles' sidemen were, but that's really the point, isn't it? Miles used the world's best musicians to show that jazz and rock could combine to make an eminently listenable brew. This contemporaneous release showed that similar results could be achieved (albeit on a smaller scale) by musicians who were mere mortals. As such, it has become a touchstone for many who have followed (Medeski Martin & Wood, etc.). So you see, it's not so blasphemous after all. Go ahead, give it a spin. You won't turn into a pillar of salt, I promise.
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Format: Audio CD
The album begins with a snappy jazz-rock tune with two snaking synth lines, one fuzzy, one clear and lyrical, and up beat rhythmn. It is followed by another Karl Jenkins' tune, Carol Ann, a much softer, delicate number which takes its lead from the lyricism in the previous outing.
These are followed by two significant Ratledge tunes, the first, Day's Eye, a great melody brim full of textural and time contrasts, connected by a short bridge (Bone's fire)to the heavier rhythmic strut and extended riff of Tarabos.
This trilogy is followed by a densely textured Marshall percussion solo.
Halfway through the record it might be a good time to pause for a moment and reflect on the territory already covered.
The album is built around the electric piano/synthesiser and oboe/baritone saxophone sounds that were discovered in instrumentals like Chloe and the Pirates on their previous album. Jenkins' and Ratledge's approaches during this era coalesce perfectly, Marshall's drums and percussion are as crisp and tight, and Babbington's base fits beautifully.
Penny Hitch delves back into the kind of material on Six alluded to above, with its gentle circuitous perambulations linking with the more hectic and heavier instrumentation on Block. Babbington's contribution reaches its creative zenith on the third last track, Down the Road, following some experimental recorder playing by Jenkins, with his bowed acoustic base introducing a country jig feel into the otherwise spacious textures laid down by oboe and keyboards.
The album rounds out with two small pieces featuring SM's Terry Reillyesque melting keyboard sounds.
Some of the material on the record is infectious, its rhythms and melodies get under your skin. The musicianship is superb and for me this well-integrated album was just what was needed to follow its more eclectic predecessor. I may even prefer it to Six, which has been a long time favourite, because it has a wonderful consistency throughout.
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Format: Audio CD
After a period of changes of persons and styles, Soft Machine gets to the high point of energetic Jazz Rock, mixing performance with taste and emotion that we had never seen in this style. Ratledge, Jenkins, Babyngton and Marshall talk together with no words, but with a synchronicity that would take Karl Jung to review his thesis to better. While Mahavishnu Orchestra was paying dues to produce hundreds of poor notes, Soft Machine was training our brain to development in music. I am sorry that this strong group no longer exists.
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Format: Audio CD
I'm pleasantly surprised Soft Machine's Seven is a really good album. I was afraid the band was starting to lose its touch pertaining to all those imaginative jams we experienced on the four previous albums and would unleash a mediocre album. Not so. If anything, Seven displays some much needed diversity where all the main tracks feature a variety of instrumental jamming performed not so predictably as before.

One thing I never pointed out about the Soft Machine is their atmosphere. Their music always gives me images of a distinctly dusty or dreary place, or perhaps even a dimly lit rainy day scenario. One memory I have is that of a man uptown named Simon. He owned a clothing store, and every time I set foot in his store it would always be really murky and quiet inside, resembling a tone similar to any number of Soft Machine albums beginning with Third and going through all the way to Seven. 5 VERY good jazz/rock albums.

Simon always kept things in a way where only *he'd* know where to look for them. Perhaps a clever way to make sure nobody ever came in and stole anything they needed. Anyway the gloomy, dark and strangely quiet feeling of that store is present on many Soft Machine albums. Perhaps I can't let go of past memories, or perhaps there is an atmospheric connection between a store and a Canterbury jazz/rock band from the 70's.

For anybody who desires the Soft Machine to be more melodic, well be sure to check out the longest song here called "Penny Hitch". The first half is dominated with a moody jazzy section, and the second half features saxophones being played in a REALLY strange and unique way. It sounds like nothing I've ever heard before. Really bizarre and chaotically enchanting.
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