Monday

Soft Machine

Fourth - 1971
Although Robert Wyatt wouldn't leave Soft Machine until they began recording its follow up, Fourth is where his departure from the group truly began, as the LP included no original compositions or vocals from its founding member. Despite these shortcomings, Fourth is an incredible album of trippy, muscular jazz fusion performed by a band at the height of its powers. Wyatt's drumming is arguably the strongest of his career, but the major contributor here is bassist Hugh Hopper, writing five of the LP's seven songs, including, in true prog fasion, the four song suite that comprised its B side. The unquestionable highlight of this set is its opener "Teeth"; a schizophrenic epic that clocks in at over nine minutes and soars and battles through multiple time shifts, gentle passages and sections of frothy, pummeling rage. Carrying an intensity that may not match that which the band achieved on Third, Fourth is superior in recording quality and outright musicianship. Although better than the majority of their contemporaries for the remainder of the decade, it was all downhill from here for Soft Machine.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

What you said. I always have the first three with me, each in its own way fantastic, but the Fourth keeps sneaking up from a sideways corner and knocking me out, when I think it shouldn't.
Fifth and the rest, they're okay, but just going through the numbers ...

Thanks!

Pants Elk

Anonymous said...

just found 4, any chance for 3. i'm curious. thanks