MJR016 Steam
Produced by Soft Machine Legacy
Released on August 21, 2007
no chart information
Find it at GEMM
MJR016 cover
[high resolution scan]

D ean was done, resting in anything but peace among the wild reeds of Heaven. In his place was an empty space and to the right of it slightly stood Travis. Theo Travis is the well-oiled cog in the machine, not the sagacious saxophone wizard of yore but the lyrical and progressive piston that drives Steam’s engine. His sax owns tracks like “The Steamer” and “Dave Acto.” He flaunts a fierce flute too on “Firefly” and “The Last Day.” Steam is dark matter spewed out of a nuclear smokestack, a pungent unguent for the faithful who stood at the foot of the volcano hoping, praying for a furious explosion. Soft Machine by all rights should have been buried ages ago under a headstone marked with an 8 in repose minus 1. But even the death of Dean couldn’t derail them, and instead they arrived in the studio with a steamer full of good ideas. The only nod to the past is a version of “Chloe & The Pirates,” otherwise it’s full steam ahead for the fab foursome. John Etheridge seems to assume the mathematical mantle of Elton Dean, especially on “The Steamer” and “In The Back Room.” Hugh Hopper lurks under the surface, John Marshall skips across it like a smooth rock. It’s rare to find a progressive band from the genre’s heyday that still has something to say as Soft Machine Legacy does. Age allows them to articulate it better, a sense of adventure and a certain fearlessness make it interesting. There isn’t a track on here that doesn’t hold my attention, though “Anything To Anywhere” and “The Big Man” held it tighter, longer. Whatever they do next, I'm already on board with it.


  1. FOOTLOOSE    (Hugh Hopper)    8:46
  2. THE STEAMER    (Theo Travis)    4:38
  3. THE BIG MAN    (John Etheridge/Hugh Hopper/John Marshall/Theo Travis)    5:08
  4. CHLOE & THE PIRATES    (Mike Ratledge)    7:27
  5. IN THE BACK ROOM    (John Etheridge)    7:10
  6. THE LAST DAY    (Theo Travis)    5:20
  7. FIREFLY    (Hugh Hopper/John Marshall)    6:41
  8. SO ENGLISH    (John Etheridge/Hugh Hopper/John Marshall/Theo Travis)    8:29
  9. DAVE ACTO    (John Etheridge/Hugh Hopper/John Marshall/Theo Travis)    6:25
  10. ANYTHING TO ANYWHERE    (Theo Travis)    5:20


JOHN ETHERIDGE -- electric guitar
HUGH HOPPER -- bass guitar, loops
JOHN MARSHALL -- drums, percussion
THEO TRAVIS -- tenor & soprano sax, flute, loops
Jon Hiseman -- engineer, mixing
Soft Machine Legacy -- mixing
Leonardo Pavkovic -- executive producer, graphics
Naoju Nakamura -- photos

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US/UK August 21, 2007 Moonjune Records CD MJR016  


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