Why did I suddenly crave to hear once again the sounds of the band Soft Machine? I hadn’t listened to that music since the early seventies. I was able to locate the album “Soft Machine Third” authored by Ratledge (keyboards), Wyatt (drums) and Hopper (bass) and as soon as I hit the play button it took off like a Marcel Proust “madeleine” (you know…. how in Remembrance of Things Past, the writer suddenly recalls the very mood of his childhood contained in the taste of a certain kind of cookie dipped in tea). In my case, it was not a taste but a sound: the beginning of the album, a textured architecture of minimalist patterns on the synthesizer, took me right back to the days when I heard the star-spangled banner played by Jim Hendrix at the Isle of Wight Festival – and mind you, it wasn’t even that much fun as I remember suffering from the bitterly cold Atlantic summer night as well as lack of sleep as we were struggling with large sheets of brown paper as all-weather coverage. It may have been one of the most uncomfortable moments I have ever experienced, but comfort isn’t everything. Soft Machine’s trebly, melodic bass lines took me from the bold, early minimalism of the keyboard work through modal grooves and free form improvisations. Uniquely, this album blends three styles
I really enjoy: layered synch textures, modal jazz grooves and melodic songs – especially Wyatt’s very own Moon in June. Much intensity and well-ahead-of-its-time inspiration in this forgotten 1970s album, found at last.

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