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Jet-Propelled Photographs

Soft Machine

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Album Review

The latest available CD version of a title which has been repackaged and retitled several times over the last 30 years. Recorded in London in April 1967 and produced by the legendary Giorgio Gomelsky, these nine demos feature the original Soft Machine lineup of Robert Wyatt, Kevin Ayers, Mike Ratledge, and Daevid Allen. Although not intended for release, these rough but accomplished performances show the band at their most pop- and song-oriented. Not far removed from Syd Barrett-era Pink Floyd, the jazzy chord changes, unpredictable bursts of scat singing, glib free-association lyrics, ominous buzzing organ, and Robert Wyatt's soulful rasp convey the freewheeling abandon and giddy high spirits that characterized the best early British psychedelia. For similar but more elaborately produced relics from the Daevid Allen lineup, check for the three tracks on the hard-to-find triple LP Triple Echo.

Biography

Formed: 1966 in Canterbury, Kent, England

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s

Soft Machine were never a commercial enterprise and indeed still remain unknown even to many listeners who came of age during the late '60s and early '70s, when the group was at its peak. In their own way, however, they were one of the more influential bands of their era, and certainly one of the most influential underground ones. One of the original British psychedelic groups, they were also instrumental in the birth of both progressive rock and jazz-rock. They were also the central foundation of...
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Jet-Propelled Photographs, Soft Machine
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