The Sentinel

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Category Archives: Canterbury

Soft Machine – Clarence In Wonderland/We Did It Again (Live in 1967)

The Softs doing live renditions of two of their tracks back in the Kevin Ayers era. Yes indeed.


Soft Machine – Hope For Happiness

Here is the opener for the very first Soft Machine album, 1968’s ‘The Soft Machine’ (re-titled ‘Volume One’ on its reissue); and what an opener it is. The very start is totally sublime, with Wyatt’s distinctive voice ringing through (beautiful). We get jazzy rock and proggy Hammond organ heaven on this. Partly timeless, partly dated, wholly great!

Soft Machine – Moon In June (Bilzen Jazz And Pop Festival – Aug 22 – 1969)

This starts with a short interview with the band, before they delve into a live rendition of the sublime ‘Moon in June’.

Soft Machine – Out-Bloody-Rageous

The Canterbury favourites who were the acceptable face of Prog with some Jazz Rock fusion with a chamber bent. If that sounds fucking awful, have no fear, because these guys make it all good. This is from their 1970 album ‘Third’.

Soft Machine – Dada Was Here

Stunningly beautiful track from the second Soft Machine album, Volume 2 (1969). This one is sung in Spanish and does strange things to the listener. Feelings, feelings, feelings.

The Soft Machine – Moon In June (Peel Session)

One of the Softs classic tracks given the Peel treatment. Robert Wyatt is on top form on this one; with both his vocals and drumming.
This track borrowed heavily from earlier pieces by the band, such as “That’s How Much I Need You Now”, and “You Don’t Remember”. Other vignettes recorded by Wyatt while on holiday in New York state make up the first half of the track. And just for this session we have Wyatt describing the BBC studios as they were at the time of this recording.

Soft Machine – Facelift

After 5 minutes of noodling, the Softs kick in with some typically Canterbury styled Jazz-Rock. This is the opening track to the band’s classic third album, simply titled ‘Third’, where the band get a lot more “serious” than their 2 predecessors, with three slabs of instrumental Canterbury fusion; this being one; offset by the phenomenal ‘Moon In June’, which is a track that is in keeping with the previous 2 albums released by the band. ‘Third’ is definitely impressive, but it really doesn’t have the continuous pull that the first 2 albums sill have to this day; at least for this reviewer. Having said that, this is still a fantastic listen, and check out the section around the 10:25 mark, where an evil tape loop (found in its entirety on the ‘Spaced’ album) is offset by metal clanking; leaving one hankering for it to go on for a lot longer (thanks be to ‘Spaced’).

Henry Cow – Deluge

Scattered, splurges of sparse free Jazz stylings with a hint of chamber music from the UK’s Henry Cow. This is from the brilliant 1974 album ‘Unrest’, which is a dark and austere take on the Canterbury sound.

Soft Machine – Memories

Bittersweet melancholia from an early piece from the Canterbury band*. This was back when Daevid Allen was still in the band; before he flew off in his flying teapot.

*This track was covered by Material (which featured a young Whitney Houston on vocals)

Soft Machine – Slightly All The Time

Softs go full on Jazz fusion after their previous whimsical Psych Rock escapades shocker!!! From their 1970 double album ‘Third’.

Laurence Johns

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