Soft Machine — Spaced
(Cuneiform Rune 90, 1969/1996, CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 1997-02-01
The material on Spaced was originally recorded in 1969 (circa Third) for a special choreographed multi-media one-week event of the same name at the London Roundhouse. Although the music here (seven tracks varying in length from under three to over thirty minutes) bears certain key resemblances to the Soft Machine we all know and love — such as Ratledge's trademark fuzz-organ, and Hopper's fuzz-bass — the material tends to be far more unstructured and improvised, evoking a mysterious dreamlike sensibility, often with dark and doomy underpinnings. Structurally, the music tends to fall into two categories: those pieces built from simple repetitive themes by the basic three-piece, with unusual taped effects overdubbed, and pieces that are purely free-form improvisational and explorative at their core, the latter typically eschewing any traditional rhythmic structures. "Spaced 4" is perhaps the album's best example of this. Needless to say, this is not the typical material one might hear on a Softs album of the same period, although the early minutes of avant-garde meandering on "Facelift" (from Third) could serve as a sneak preview to the type of explorations on Spaced. This is an album that grew quickly on this listener with each successive play, but this may not be for everyone. Recommended highly for the spirited adventurists, and kudos to Cuneiform for releasing it.
Keith Tippett RIP – One of the giants of British jazz has left us. Keith Graham Tippetts, known professionally as Keith Tippett, died today at the age of 72. His work from the late 60s into the 70s and beyond includes some of the greatest jazz produced in the UK, and stands as an impressive oevre to this day. » Read more
Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP – We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018. » Read more
Jorge Santana RIP – Jorge Santana, noted guitarist, leader of the band Malo and brother to Carlos Santan, died on May 14 at the age of 68. Jorge and Carlos worked together on a number of occasions, though Jorge's career was centered around Malo, solo work, and with Fania All-Stars. » Read more
Shindig Festival Goes Lock-Down – Here's what they're saying: It's A Happening Thing! The Shindig! Magazine Lockdown Festival. In our days of no large gatherings of people, maybe it's still possible to have a music festival. Shindig! Magazine is giving it a go with a multi-artist streaming extravaganza on Saturday April 25. » Read more