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Third

Soft Machine

1970

Buy At Rough Trade
Third
Album Summary

Third is a live and studio album by the English rock band Soft Machine, released as their third overall in June 1970 by CBS Records. It is a double album with a single composition on each of the four sides, and was their first album recorded with a four-piece line-up of keyboardist Mike Ratledge, and drummer and vocalist Robert Wyatt, saxophonist Elton Dean, and bass guitarist Hugh Hopper. Third marks a shift in the group's sound from their psychedelic origins towards jazz rock and electronic music. Lyn Dobson appears on saxophone and flute on "Facelift", recorded while he was a full member of the band (then a quintet), although he is credited as an additional performer. Jimmy Hastings (brother of Pye Hastings from Caravan) makes substantial contributions on flute and clarinet on "Slightly All the Time", free-jazz violinist Rab Spall (then a bandmate of Wyatt's in the part-time ensemble Amazing Band) is heard on the coda to "Moon in June", and Nick Evans (a member of the band during its short-lived septet incarnation) makes brief appearances on trombone in "Slightly All the Time" and "Out-Bloody-Rageous". According to Paul Stump's The Music's All that Matters: A History of Progressive Rock, Third was "unanimously acclaimed as the band's zenith." A retrospective review in Allmusic praised the exotic instrumentation and fusion of genres, and concluded, "Not exactly rock, Third nonetheless pushed the boundaries of rock into areas previously unexplored, and it managed to do so without sounding self-indulgent. A better introduction to the group is either of the first two records, but once introduced, this is the place to go." In the Q & Mojo Classic Special Edition Pink Floyd & The Story of Prog Rock (2005), the album came #20 in its list of "40 Cosmic Rock Albums".

Wikipedia

Rating

2.44

Votes

9255
Genres
Rock
Jazz

Reviews

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Mon Oct 30 2023
3

I HATE PROG ROCK I DONT WANT TO LISTEN TO 18 MINUITE TRACKS ONE AFTER THE OTHER I DON'T WANT TO SIT THROUGH SEVEN MINUITES OF A GUITAR SOLO Actually this isn't bad tbh

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Wed Sep 20 2023
4

- DO NOT LISTEN TO TRACK 1 FIRST - It was alright, but nearly lost the will to live after the opening minutes of track 1, and this is coming from someone who usually rates prog rock quite highly. Quite an enjoyable listen once I got past that.

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Tue Nov 07 2023
5

The field recording of an alien swingers party that ends in communal astral projection.

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Thu Sep 21 2023
1

Way way too much prog, disappeared up its own arse before the first two minutes of ambient nonsense had finished. Pointless, annoying, way too long. Its not big or clever to make music like this. The most jazzy parts reminded me of cheap tickets I got to the proms where we left after forty minutes. Wish I left this after forty minutes. Bad.

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Tue Nov 07 2023
5

Really phenomenal spacey electronic stuff, big fan of this sound and can see where it launched them in the future as well.

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Tue Sep 19 2023
4

A sometimes bracing sometimes beautiful prog/jazz fusion album. It was honestly a little exhausting listening to the entire thing, but I can't deny that it was NOT BORING (my most important metric!). I can see why some people would give it a 5 for sure, but it's not quite there for me yet. 4 it is.

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Thu Sep 28 2023
4

A little noise, a little jazz, a little avant garde minimalism, all prog. Though I like their first two albums a bit more, this is bold stuff, and holds up well alongside other prog rock and jazz fusion of the era.

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Fri Jan 12 2024
4

The musical rendition of Hitchhiker's Guide. Adventurous, mind-bending, indecisive, crazy. I got lost several times. The fact that this was recorded live is incredibly impressive. It sounds several years ahead of other bands that would themselves be considered wildly ahead of their time (e.g. Pink Floyd's Meddle and WYWH). Unfortunately, though, the music lacks riffs, hooks, and (for the most part) chord progressions and melodies, making it tough for your standard listener. One thing I will say is that it wasn't boring. It just overrepresented creativity and musicians' enjoyment, at the expense of building a connection with the audience. Because I'm part of said audience, I can't give this 5 stars. Great synths. In fact, great instrumentation all around. The musicianship is solid and the band sounds like they're genuinely enjoying themselves without sounding too indulgent. Fun and well-executed build-ups as well. It's mostly great, in theory. 4/5 Fave track: Out-Bloody-Rageous

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Tue Oct 31 2023
3

I would have run a bloody mile from this in years gone by. These days I'm the one making all the moves. You grow old, you listen to jazz, innit. Life 101. Even better if it's on the cusp of psychedelic shit fusing it with freestyle jazz and drugs are involved - participants, not the listener. I love how the songs build up throughout ten minutes or so. You aren't going to hear these on Heart FM anytime soon. There's also a soft approach to all the jazz shit. The horns won't blow your arse off. If you make it through all four sides then you have done very well. It takes you on a journey. Gawd knows where to. I became lost on side 3. That's half the fun, right?

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Fri Nov 03 2023
3

2.5/5 I liked the part when they sang. Fav: Moon In June

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Tue Oct 31 2023
2

I enjoyed this to begin with, as it was different to what I was expecting, but after a while - probably during the first tune, as it's nearly 20 minutes long - my interest started to wane. A lot of jazz leaves me cold, and prog makes me feel a bit queasy, so prog jazz is not really going to float my boat. Too much showing off, and for far too long.

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Thu Sep 21 2023
1

I knew from the first track that I was going to hate this album. An 18 minute track where it takes more than half the duration to get going. Even after that it just sounds like noise. The rest of the album isn't much better and I gave up before the end.

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Sun Nov 26 2023
1

You do a track, and you do a track, and you do a track. Play whatever you want but don’t tell anybody else what you’re doing. We’ll just mash em all together in the end. Ugh.

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Fri Nov 24 2023
5

So crazy good so cool instrumental stuff absolutely yes

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Fri Dec 22 2023
5

One of my favorite album ever, by which I discovered the incredible Robert Wyatt. Uncompromised and so unique experimental jazz music with a canterbury scene feel. Listening to Robert Wyatt singing Moon In June while drumming is one of the best thing a human can experience.

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Fri Dec 22 2023
5

Sometimes the best albums are the ones we can't figure out

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Fri Dec 29 2023
5

now this is the kinda weird shit i am looking for drone, jazz, rock, electronic. only thing i'm not into is the vocals on track 3

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Mon Jan 01 2024
5

Jazzy prog? Wow I have been sleeping on these guys. I know some of Robert Wyatt's solo stuff but somehow haven't ever explored Soft Machine. I clearly have work to do!

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Thu Oct 19 2023
4

Wow, this album is a wild trip. I ignored first track - it is unbearable to listen to from first second. But rest of it is just crazy. During one 20 minute track it can go from perfect harmony to totally dreadful chaos and go back to great harmony. And this album is doing this many times this process is so smooth that I can't wrap my head around it. I have never heard other song with part that was monotonous and not interesting just to use it as a base to build more on it and turn it great and fascinating. Avoid first track.

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Thu Oct 26 2023
4

I really liked this; a mix of pop, avant garde, psychedelic, jazz, progressive all wrapped in that late 60s lofi sound. Lovely.

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Fri Dec 29 2023
4

A mix between electronica, prog rock, and free jazz. In other words, pretty awesome!

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Thu Nov 09 2023
3

Somewhere between ethereal and jazz.

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Fri Oct 06 2023
5

5. I really like this album. It is a new sound for me with jazz that I really like and wouldn't mind hearing more of

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Sun Oct 08 2023
5

Totalement et absolument ma came, je connaissais pas Soft Machine mais je kiffe, la découverte de cet album vaut tout à fait l'ensemble du projet des 1001 albums tructrucs

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Fri Dec 22 2023
5

I was very surprised to find this one on this list, but hey! I'm not going to complain. A really great album from a really great band. Moon in June is just incredible and makes me crave for some more. I understand that this album might scare a lot of people, but I swear it's quite the journey!

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Mon Jan 15 2024
5

What a pleasant surprise. This album was a jazz/prog adventure. There were moments thwt sounded like King Crimson and early Kansas. I had to look up this band because the sound King Crimson is very prominent within this record and I wanted to see if there was any cross over. This band has gone through a number of members... Their current line up has Theo Travis on it, formerly of King Crimson. Theo also has worked with Porcupine Tree and Steven Wilson's solo stuff. Remember the killer flute solo In The Raven that Refused to Sing? That was Theo Travis. Awsome listen. Would love to show this off to my fellow prog friends.

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Mon Feb 12 2024
5

On my current round of overnights, I've been revisiting random albums that pop into my head. One of those records is "The Apocalypse Inside of An Orange" by Omar Rodriguez-Lopez, guitarist for the Mars Volta. I bought that record at age, like, 13, because I had randomly stumbled into being a fan of TMV and wanted to consume everything they made. I bring it up because, I think that record was severely inspired by this one. This record is drenched in psychedelia, acid, and even that kind of electronic that sounds "space age". I groaned when I saw that it was only four songs initially, but ended up walking away really loving it? It aged well, despite definitely sounding confined to the era in which it was birthed. I hesitate to give it a five here, all because of the vocals on "Moon In June". They aren't the strongest, the lyrics aren't great, and overall just feels like a throw-away. Other than that, I really love how weird this record gets, and found the 80 minutes (or so) pass by relatively quickly. Will definitely revisit. Favorite tracks: "Facelift", "Slightly All the Time"

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Mon Feb 12 2024
5

This album is a 78 minute opus with only four songs. The genre can loosely be said to be progressive rock, but that doesn't even begin to encompass what is here. Soft Machine have clearly done their homework and are influenced by Miles Davis, John Coltrane, and early jazz fusion. This modal jazz influence is the dominant one and the album can be characterized by long passages with a simmering quality before building to a crescendo and starting over again. At no point did this have a noodly quality to it, but rather feels improvisational within a careful framework that the whole band is locked into. In that way it distinguishes itself among other albums of this type.

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Sun Feb 25 2024
5

It's one of my favorite albums from the early 1970s. Such a great mix of jazz, rock and electronic music. I got into their first two albums because I was a big fan of psychedelic rock and 'Soft Machine' and 'Volume Two' were two great records from that era. 'Third' made me got interested in jazz fusion and electronic and opened new doors in my world of music. It was unusual for me, a then 22-year-old girl to listen to such music but I'll always be grateful that I discovered this band. Apart from the first few minutes of 'Facelift', this album is such an inspiring listen to me every time I listen to it. The reason is that it never gets boring and I always find some nuances that I discover while I listen to it. I fully understand if it not everyone's cup of tea, but this gets a 5 from me no doubt.

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Sun Mar 31 2024
5

9/10 kind of a mess of an album, but I absolutely adore this shit

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Wed Sep 20 2023
4

Jazz. Experimental. Interesante, pero demasiado largo.

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Fri Sep 22 2023
4

very interesting album, enjoyed it a lot.

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Wed Sep 27 2023
4

I got a softspot for these guys. It's not really rock at all- more jazzy prog but it's really good for putting on late at night and chilling with a stick of incense...

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Wed Oct 18 2023
4

For the era, I think this was super impressive

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Thu Oct 19 2023
4

Maybe im a bit biased from other prog rock but i wish this was a bit more technical. The first track threw me off originally but as another reviewer recommended on second listening i put it off until last and i enjoyed this a bit better. Still pretty nice though.

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Thu Nov 02 2023
4

Through two songs, both of them have some really great moments. I generally like this style of music - the experimental rock, so I'm a little biased. Lots of really good stuff. There weren't any parts, really, that felt like it didn't belong in the song.

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Tue Nov 07 2023
4

Jazz with prog rock segments. Out-Bloody-Rageous and Slightly All the Time were the tracks I enjoyed most. Cool stuff.

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Tue Nov 07 2023
4

Heavy does of Jazz with a touch of some prog/avant-garde rock. Probably the the 5th or 6th time listening and it keeps getting better.

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Mon Nov 13 2023
4

Vibe I looooove die jaren 70 achtige nergeuze king crimson ass Horns

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Wed Nov 15 2023
4

Hey cool, more Robert Wyatt! I liked this a lot, as far out as it got at times. Reminded me at times of an album's worth of Mr. Bungle interludes. Kind of crazy this is considered jazz rock, as it seemed like 95% jazz with only occasional rock elements.

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Wed Nov 15 2023
4

There were a couple of times I could have turned this off but mostly I thought it was pretty amazing, the good kind of jazz fusion.

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Tue Nov 21 2023
4

This is a very cool ride, it spans jazz/psychedelic/prog/noise rock and conjures images of early King Crimson, Pink Floyd and maybe even some Zappa and Kraut rock/electronic music. I'm still not a fan of Robert Wyatt's voice but it's undeniable that he's a great musician and has teamed up with A-list musicians of the era with Kevin Ayers, Elton Dean and Hugh Hopper. The first track, Facelift gets a lot of grief from the reviewers on this site, but I didn't think it was too bad. Experimental yes, but never boring. The stand-out track for me was the closer, Out-Bloody-Rageous and I learned from Wiki that the tape loops on this song were inspired by Terry Riley hence its repetitive minimalist sound. Disc 2 (which is not available for listening on Spotify) was apparently part of a subsequent CD released in 2007 so technically not part of this album so its not graded here.

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Tue Nov 21 2023
4

It seems they may have taken a page from Bitches Brew, with one song per side. Side 1 is too noisy for me and poorly recorded. Side 2 is great, very Weather Report-ish. I don’t know how a jazz critic would rate it, though. Side 3 is maybe the most interesting and the least jazzy, though Robert Wyatt’s lyrics are silly at times. Side 4 has a great intro. I think I read of a Terry Reilly influence and it sure sounds like it. I just wish the minimalist segments weren’t dragged out for so long.

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Wed Nov 22 2023
4

Jazz rock / prog / Canterbury Scene of the highest order.

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Sun Nov 26 2023
4

Favorite Songs: Slightly All the Time Out-Bloody Rageous You start with the impression of being at a concert in the 70s in a dusty location and some blokes experiment with their instruments. After 10 Minutes of intro in the first track it becomes quite catchy, the second song is amazingly jazzy.

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Wed Nov 29 2023
4

Très cool, mais pas facile putain

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Sat Dec 02 2023
4

December 1, 2023 HL: “Moon in June”, “Out-Bloody-Rageous” Kind of as a counterpoint to another reviewer, the song order works for me because the spacey loops in the last track are a cool bookend to the atonal electronics in the first. Aggression slowly gives way to serenity I appreciated the book’s insight of the members of Soft Machine wanting to make “serious” music, to Robert Wyatt’s displeasure Though people who don’t like jazz or prog will likely find this interminable… I probably should have a copy/paste of “Wow I liked this more than I expected” for every new prog band I come across on this list.

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Wed Dec 06 2023
4

British jazz rock from 70, extremely distinct feel between the different tracks A hated the first one

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Fri Dec 08 2023
4

pretty enjoyable mix of jazz and prog, like it quite a bit, would have liked it more if Robert Wyatt had kept his trap shut on Moon in June

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Sat Dec 09 2023
4

Wyatt usually manages a telos with his music; Soft Machine doesn't. That's dangerous territory for prog, which Third navigates deftly. While no track is near lean, each occupies its position and no more. Noodling, the music's friendly at the same time it confuses.

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Wed Dec 13 2023
4

Get the sextant out and plot a course to the edge of your mind. After a start where is seems there was some frantic twiddling of knobs before the correct settings were found it hit a stride. A discordant quartet on offer with many ebbs and flows plus a smattering of wit. Give it a go there is plenty to discover.

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Fri Jan 26 2024
4

I put off listening to this all day because I kept thinking it was Soft *Cell*. This rules though, I can definitely fuck with this. It's like if Ornette Coleman jammed with Syd Barrett-era Pink Floyd.

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Sun Jan 28 2024
4

Rating: 7/10 Best songs: Facelift

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Wed Jan 31 2024
4

I enjoy this. It’s interesting and unusual. I like to listen to stuff without words when I work and this fits that bill nicely. 4/5

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Fri Feb 16 2024
4

mukaviin pätkiin jaettu pojat. edelläkävijät (varhaiset valkoihoiset) jatsi, rokki fuusio (kaksi kevyttä atomiydintä yhtyy yhdeksi raskaammaksi)... virtuoosoja selv'sti. kuitenkin muutama osio jotka eivät vaan hittaa.. helpoin genre onnistua mutta ei oikeen pystynyt... jotkut indiealbumit parempia kuin tämä, miten voi olla? orgaani sentään soi ja rommia pullo. eli silti erinomainen kokemus tämä, jota en koskaan olisi kuullut ilman rojektia. slightly all the time

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Tue Jan 23 2024
4

Just heard it today! As a huge fan of other soft machine albums i was pretty excited and while i didn't care much for facelift every other track was fucking AWESOME. Totally deserves the hype it gets, even though i might still prefer their self titled album for how stupidly varied and innovative it is

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Mon Mar 18 2024
4

Is it prog or is it jazz? Or maybe both. Either way, it's pretty great

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Wed Mar 27 2024
4

It's weird to have never heard of this being a prog guy. It might be because I'm more of a prog metal than a prog rock fan but damn this is good. Lots of inspiration was taken from in the court of the crimson king but that only makes it better.

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Fri Apr 05 2024
4

The bridge that connected rock and jazz was becoming increasingly crowded and the formerly progressive rock minded Soft Machine added their footsteps to the structure with their Third record. Four eighteen plus minute songs detailing their progression (hehe) from flight to fancy is definitely not for the kind that becomes irritated by the supposed monotony of the arrangements, yet those who are intrigued find plenty to comb through on the way to finding gems. Moon in June and Out-Bloody-Rageous in particular are showcases of what the Canterbury scene now had to offer to the increasingly complex rock world, as their indebtedness to their influences such as Terry Riley (the go-to guru of inspiration at the time) shone bright here. Overall, a take it or leave it collection and I'm inclined to do the former. Favorites: Slightly All the Time, Out-Bloody-Rageous.

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Fri Apr 05 2024
4

This is some really stellar psych-rock.

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Sun Apr 07 2024
4

i will be real i really liked this

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Tue Apr 09 2024
4

Stort album. Låter annorlunda varje gång jag hör det

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Sat Apr 13 2024
4

Very jazzy prog second half better then the first

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Wed Apr 17 2024
4

More interesting than enjoyable. I've got the hang of Robert Wyatt by now.

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Thu Apr 18 2024
4

track 2 theres a wind instrument that plays like 6 mins in and it sounds like this SUPER deep bass from like a drum machine or something its so fire. i like this a lot actually wow

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Tue Sep 19 2023
3

fook me that’s some weird shit

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Wed Sep 20 2023
3

Interesting album. Reminds me at times of Miles Davis In A SIlent Way and Ornette Coleman The Shape of Jazz to Come. Not really finding the rock part of the equation. Seems to me like a collection of 4 jazz suites. All 4 have something to offer. 3.5 stars

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Thu Sep 21 2023
3

Surprisingly, I was kind of in the mood for this.

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Fri Sep 22 2023
3

Strangely melodic. Jazz rock is it? I guess, as there's definitely jazz. Not quite sure where the rock is other than side C, but then I don't know what else I'd call it because it's not just jazz. Not the worst thing I've ever heard though side A was a slog. Sides C and D were better.

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Fri Sep 22 2023
3

I remember purchasing "Third" at a music festival. I listened to it once, maybe twice, and sold it back. Listening to it 20 years later, I know why. I also know why people mock "Tales From Topographic Oceans," which I like quite a lot. 4 songs, a double album is quite a lot. And if there isn't a lot of THERE there, it does tend to go on and on. There are some good bits in each of the songs, and some parts where I'm like "this could have been edited out." Easily trim these down to about 10 minutes each and it would have been much better. The songs just meander too much for me. Still, the good bits in each of the songs make me think there's something to them. So I feel like they have something better in them. This isn't it.

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Fri Sep 22 2023
3

I was unable to listen to the live part. Otherwise I really only enjoyed the second track

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Thu Sep 28 2023
3

I like this a lot better than most prog, maybe because it's Jazz-adjacent. The instrument choices also helped, but still is a bit of a long play.

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Thu Sep 28 2023
3

This was an interesting listen, somewhat challenging. I didn't fully enjoy it, it felt a bit like listening to someone's half baked manifesto. I liked the moments of prog / jazz.

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Fri Sep 29 2023
3

un album qui commence vraiment mal mais qui s'écoute bien par la suite. du rpog un peu dejanté. 3.25

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Sat Sep 30 2023
3

Impressive but too jammy for my taste

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Mon Oct 02 2023
3

Don’t think be ever heard of them. Very Genesis-Traffic-esque. 3.5/5

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Mon Oct 02 2023
3

What an album for the weekend.

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Wed Oct 04 2023
3

In the end just a bit too unorthodox to be enjoyable

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Sun Oct 08 2023
3

Ahh... Avis plus positif à la fin qu'au début (j'ai même failli abandonner au bout des cinq premières minutes de pur bruit) Pas mal dans l'absolu, j'ai bien aimé les côtés jazz, mais je trouve que ça manque un peu de mélodie par rapport à King Crimson ou autres trucs du même genre, que j'aime mieux.

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Sun Oct 08 2023
3

First Listen. Never heard of Soft Machine. Genre: Jazz Rock, Prog Rock. 1970 Standouts: Out-Bloody-Rageous, Slightly All The Time, Moon in June Tracks: 2/5 1. Facelift 3/5 2. Slightly All The Time 3.5/5 3. Moon in June 3/5 4. Out-Bloody-Rageous Overall: 3/5 This one would take many listens to really get into..

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Wed Oct 18 2023
3

Soft Machine, 1970, Double LP (4 songs) 2nd Listen (3) Genre: Jazz rock, Progressive rock, Electronic The bonus CD ups the song total to 7. The original double album contained one song per side and it is very much a prog rock album. That being said, it is not for everyone. The first song, Facelift, is the most difficult to get through. The rest of the album is better. The first two tracks seems great to put on in the background when you are studying or just want to relax or sleep... The third song, Moon in June, is more progressive rock than jazz. It's probably the best song on the album (to me). Solid 3/5

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Mon Oct 23 2023
3

Weird, but the kind of weird that if you keep listening it pulls you in. Probably won't listen again

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Thu Oct 26 2023
3

This gave me King Crimson vibes. Pretty crazy, music like this was getting created and stayed relatively obscure. I loved it though.

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Fri Oct 27 2023
3

The production on the remastered version is fun. The stereo separation and sub-bass sounded great on my bookshelf speaker system. Overall there are some interesting parts but it is long and I found myself losing interest by the middle of the third track. Better editing could have made this a four-star record for me.

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Fri Oct 27 2023
3

Again, kinda weird but I kinda like it

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Fri Oct 27 2023
3

I felt pretty done with this not long into the opening live piece, but I came around for it somewhat as the album went along. Still a little too much Prog Jazz for me.

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Mon Oct 30 2023
3

très instrumental, expérimental. not sure how i felt about it. devrait réécouter pour mieux comprendre le sens de l'album 6.5/10

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Thu Nov 02 2023
3

Jazzy and proggy and would fun to play Risk to

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Mon Nov 06 2023
3

5/10. Not bad as naptime albums go, but can't say it made much of an impression on me.

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Tue Nov 07 2023
3

Not something I'd put on in my free time, but super interesting. Sort of like if Kraftwerk were into jazz.

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