Soft Machine – Hidden Details (MoonJune Records, 2018)
Soft Machine, the legendary British band from Canterbury, has a new album titled Hidden Details. Soft Machine was the jazzier side of the famed Canterbury progressive rock movement of the early 1970s.
The current lineup includes John Etheridge on electric and acoustic guitar; Theo Travis on saxophone, flute, and Fender Rhodes piano; Roy Babbington on bass; and John Marshall on drums.
The music on the album includes progressive jazz-rock, improvisatory pieces and some sound experimentation. The structured musical works are more satisfactory and engaging. Theo Travis really stands out when he picks up the flute or the electric piano, developing mesmerizing crystalline sounds.
Album highlights include “The Man Who Waved at Trains,” a spellbinding composition featuring Fender Rhodes and great flute/guitar dialog; the excellent bluesy guitar on “Broken Hill”; the dreamy keyboards on “Out Bloody Intro”; the delicate guitar on “Drifting White”; the splendid ensemble work on “Fourteen Hour Dream”; and the magical flute and percussion on “Breathe.”