CCSLP 281 The Untouchable
previously released material
Released on 1990
no chart information
Find it at GEMM
CCSLP 281 cover
[high resolution scan]

K ronomyth 11+2: WELL-BUNDLED SOFTS. This is a re-Harvesting of the band’s last three albums (not counting 1981’s Cockayne), a double LP’ing of selections from Bundles, Softs and the live Alive And Well. The Harvest recordings, as you may already know, marked a(nother) personnel and strategic shift in the band as Karl Jenkins assumed creative control, Mike Ratledge drifted off and the Machine assimilated first one guitarist (Allan Holdsworth) and then another (John Etheridge) in its pursuit of a slightly more commercial sound. In the inevitable comparison between guitarists, Holdsworth sets the bar impossibly high on the opening “Hazard Profile Part 1.” Etheridge favors a throatier sound, and acquits himself admirably on “Ban Ban Caliban.” With electric guitar replacing the saxophone as the solo instrument of choice, the music of Soft Machine moved toward the rock side of the jazz/rock fusion equation. You’ll also find some lovely melodies on these albums that invite comparison to Camel: “Hazard Profile Part 2,” “Aubade,” “Song of Aeolus,” “Erika.” The addition of guitar and subtraction of stuffy jazz intellectualism constitute a third phase of Soft Machine that some (myself included) prefer to the second phase of Fourth through Seven. In many ways, these later albums were more experimental than the earlier recordings, which were bound to the Soft Machine sound: kaleidoscopic keyboard patterns, bold strokes of saxophone written at right angles to the music, and so on. Softs, by contrast, is mostly a composite of solo and paired pieces that intersect with hard rock (“Camden Tandem”), classical guitar (“Etika”) and funk (“One Over The Eight”). On Alive And Well’s “Soft Space,” the band even tries their hand at Giorgio Moroder-styled disco. Not every one is interested in the story of Soft Machine, of course, but if you are, these final chapters hold plenty of surprises in store. Given that you’re unlikely to encounter the original albums except as expensive imports, no harm done if you want to sample all three here at a single-disc price.

CCSLP 281 inner gatefold CCSLP 281 back cover
CCSLP 281 inner gatefold CCSLP 281 back cover


    record one
  1. HAZARD PROFILE PART 1    (Karl Jenkins)    9:15
  2. HAZARD PROFILE PART 2    (Karl Jenkins)    2:15
  3. HAZARD PROFILE PART 3    (Karl Jenkins)    0:33
  4. HAZARD PROFILE PART 4    (Karl Jenkins)    1:25
  5. HAZARD PROFILE PART 5    (Karl Jenkins)    5:17
  6. THE MAN WHO WAVED AT TRAINS    (Mike Ratledge)    1:52
  7. PEFF    (Mike Ratledge)    3:43
  8. FOUR GONGS TWO DRUMS    (John Marshall)    2:20
  9. BAN BAN CALIBAN    (Karl Jenkins)    9:28
  10. SONG OF AEOLUS    (Karl Jenkins)    4:20

    record two
  11. AUBADE    (Karl Jenkins)    1:52
  12. SECOND BUNDLE    (Karl Jenkins)    2:34
  13. KAYOO    (John Marshall)    3:28
  14. CAMDEN TANDEM    (John Etheridge/John Marshall)    2:01
  15. NEXUS    (Karl Jenkins)    0:49
  16. ONE OVER THE EIGHT    (Karl Jenkins/John Marshall/John Etheridge/Alan Wakeman/Roy Babbington)    5:26
  17. ETIKA    (John Etheridge)    2:19
  18. PUFFIN    (Karl Jenkins)    1:18
  19. HUFFIN    (Karl Jenkins)    0:41
  20. THE NODDER    (Karl Jenkins)    7:12
  21. SOFT SPACE    (Karl Jenkins)    5:23


ROY BABBINGTON -- bass guitar
STEVE COOK -- bass guitar
JOHN ETHERIDGE -- acoustic and electric guitars
ALLAN HOLDSWORTH -- electric, acoustic and 12 string guitars
KARL JENKINS -- oboe, piano, electric piano, soprano saxophone, pianette, string and mini moog synthesizers
JOHN MARSHALL -- drums, percussion
MIKE RATLEDGE -- organ, electric piano, synthesizer
RICK SANDERS -- violin
ALAN WAKEMAN -- soprano and tenor saxophones

return to SOFT MACHINE discography

UK 1990 Castle 2LP/CD/2CS CCSLP/CCSCD/CCSMC 281 gatefold cover


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