Pulling away from the jazzy psych-pop of their first two albums, Soft Machine gears towards sprawling sidelong compositions of spacey prog infused with thematic jazz fusion improvisations, compositional edits, and heavy doses of experimental post-production (for the more psychedelically inclined). Motivic electric-bass grooves, multi-tracked saxophones, loose swinging drums and fuzzy organs reign supreme. The whimsical and diverse musical nature of founding member/drummer Robert Wyatt was relegated to the eclectic C-side, “Moon in June”, which was his last composition for the band due to the other members not being a fan of his vocals and preferring the seriousness of jazz fusion to Wyatt’s child-like playfulness and spontaneity.
Released in 1974 on Virgin Records
Released in 1973 on Blue Thumb Records Format: LP, Quadrophonic Pressing
Originally released in 1968 on EMI 1986 Fame Pressing
Released in 1971 on Columbia Records Format: LP
I highly recommend this album to fans of the innovative and exploratory period of jazz fusion of the early 70’s, where electric instrumentation, funk rhythms, experimental production techniques, and spacey synthesizers met the improvisation, freedom, and uplifting soul of the spiritual jazz of the 60’s. Herbie Hancock’s Mwandishi trilogy, Miles Davis’ Bitches Brew, Weather Report’s first LP are good touchstones, but this album truly offers something unique.
A psychedelic synth odyssey created with only an expanded Series III Moog by Robert Margouleff and synth-guru Malcolm Cecil (who programmer synths on legendary albums by Stevie Wonder and Gil-Scott Heron in addition to his ambient solo work). The intricately layered results here feel like a synthetic wilderness, with a wide variety of colors and textures that sound warm, organic, and natural despite their electronic origins.
Space Age Pop
Information: Released in 2002 on Constellation Records
Album Information Originally released in 1981 This pressing was released in 2013 on Grönland Records Format: LP Features parallel groove … More
Fuzzy riffs, driving rhythms, and spacey synths tear through the speakers like a blistering comet through the solar system.
For fans of Black Sabbath, Neu!, Jethro Tull
This is what I imagine a black hole might sound like. “Zeit” translates to “Time”, yet time feels completely suspended here, filled instead with vast negative space in which burbling VCS 3 synthesizers, suspenseful organs, and a droning quartet of cellos float in and out. These four sidelong pieces erase all traces of rock or any kind of beat from Tangerine Dream’s sound, leaving ominous space-ambient music in its purest form.
The singer makes an album dealing with the grief and eventual acceptance that followed her sister’s suicide. The style is reminiscent of the spacey lounge-pop of her previous band, Stereolab, although much lighter and dreamier.
Album Information: Originally released in 1973 on United Artist Recordings This pressing was released in 2014 on Mute Records
Album Information: This album was self-released on CD in 1997 This pressing was released by Constellation Records in 2013 Format: … More
Album Information: Released in 2014 on Merge Records Format: LP
Album Information: Released in 2000 on Motown Records 2016 pressing on Motown Format: LPx2
Album Information: Released in 2012 on Editions Mego Format: LP
Album Information: Released in 1973 on CBS/Columbia
Taking a detour from his usual loner-droner psych folk style, Ben Chasney enlists former Comets on Fire bandmates to jam some heavy rock burners with a a cosmic amount of electric guitar shredding, evoking Neil Young & Crazy Horse blasting off on a rocket. The new electric energy brought to this album is balanced out by an equal amount of the fingerpicking prog-folk and meditative acoustic ballads that have been developing in his music since the 90’s. While I will always love his more melancholy, nocturnal records that sound like he’s lost in a forest somewhere, I welcome the fiery energy of Ascent.
Brian Eno and German kosmiche duo Cluster collaborate on a spacey synthesizer album with diverse moods, including peaceful ambient swells, sinister sequencers, industrial drum machine grooves, and suspenseful piano motifs. The release is mostly instrumental but Eno songs sparingly on a couple tracks. The last track features Can’s Holger Czukay playing some pulsing, harmonic bass grooves
Description: Czech bassist Miroslav crafts some flashy jazz funk with Herbie Hancock, percussionist Airto Moreira, vocalists Cheryl Grainger & Onike, … More
Album Information: Originally released in 1996 on Duophonic Records This pressing was released in 2013 on 1972 Records Produced by … More
Album Information: Released in 1973 on Virgin Records Origin: Hamburg, Germany
“Recorded in an old wooden barn, this second album is swaddled in twilight autumnal ambiance. While the record is bookended by the band’s awesome psych-rock explosions, much of the material here shows increased referencing of jazz influences (modal horns, brushed percussion) and a more organic deployment of micro-electronics. Raw and polished, visceral and cerebral, the band combines rock and jazz traditions of space music with the ‘instrumental’ potentials of mixing room to present a true gem of a record.” (Press Release)