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Vice Blog

LONDON - YING YANGS ON SOFT MACHINE

February 19, 2009, 5:40pm

I'm here again with another song that gets me feeling all sexy inside. This week it's by my favourite band from Canterbury, one of the finest British prog bands of all time: Soft Machine. They've got a ton of shit out but their early stuff, when Robert Wyatt was still around, is pretty much all that's worth listening to...

At that point their music was evolving from the 1960s UFO-style psychedelic sound into the more hectic progressive stuff that was happening at the beginning of the 70s. After Wyatt left /was sacked (depending on who you talk to) they turned into a jazz-fusion band and I kind of gave up on them, but the song I've chosen is actually from 1978. That's a whole seven years after his reign, so what do I know?

"Soft Space" is from their Alive & Well: Recorded in Paris album, which suggests the song is live but I'm pretty sure it isn't. It sounds nothing like anything Soft Machine had done before or have done since; if anything, it sounds like an early form of trance a dozen years too early. I have a crap knowledge of the technical side of music but what I love about this song is the throbbing synth drums combined with the rythmn of the acoustic guitar which gives it a really spacey feel. This is the sort of music people should be getting naked to and dancing on the beach with fire dancers until the sun rises over the glimmering horizon. Or something. As opposed to all that psyche-trance crap.

Soft Machine - "Soft Space"

JIRO BEVIS