The Soft Machine (aka Volume One) - Sundazed LP5341 (180g vinyl)
Originally released in 1968, this is a cornerstone of the Canterbury prog-rock scene. It benefits, however, from the presence of Kevin Ayers, who instilled upon the project a sense of whimsy absent in the band’s later, more serious and jazzy works. Yet even his sense of the absurd, and the inclusion of shorter numbers rather than epic slices of self-indulgence can’t disguise the fact that this is a definitively British underground/hippie/acid affair, despite being recorded in New York. What makes it of interest 40 years on is that it’s so easily digested – without the need to ingest psychedelics. Maybe it has something to do with astonishing musicianship?
Sound Quality: 87%
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