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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Soft Machine Legacy

Soft Machine Legacy

Review by Gary Hill

Sure, there is plenty of fusion on this album. There is also a lot of classic rock. From things that sound like Pink Floyd to influences of the Doors and King Crimson, a wide range of sonic elements are presented here. I can even make out some Cream at times. It’s all Soft Machine Legacy, though. And, it’s all good.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2013  Volume 2 at

Track by Track Review
Kite Runner

 As guitar comes in to drive this beast, there’s a real bluesy classic rock sound to it. They take it to more pure fusion territory later and there’s some killer guitar soloing on this thing.

Percussion leads this off and holds it for a time. This works to more of a freeform, somewhat sparse fusion arrangement. There’s a mellower jam later that almost feels like The Doors go fusion.
Twelve Twelve
This one leads off almost more melodic than some of the rest. It is still quite definitely set in a fusion style. It builds upwards gradually and somewhat organically. Eventually it shifts to more pacey fusion sounds as it continues. Somehow there is almost a King Crimson vibe to some of the later sections to this thing. The guitar solo later has a bit of a rock meets jazz vibe and is quite cool. That guitar solo section gets pretty involved and also turns a bit towards Crimsonian music later. It gives way to a reprise of the main themes of the piece to take the thing to its conclusion.  
F & I
There is definitely an early Pink Floyd vibe to this piece. It’s a fairly short one that never really moves beyond that basic musical conception.
Fresh Brew
More of a freeform fusion sound opens this cut up and they work out from there. This beast gets quite strange as it continues. There are some rather noisy spacey moments that make me think of a more jazzy version of early Hawkwind. When it builds out that noisy freeform sound continues. While this is odd, it’s also compelling.
New Day
This is a much more mainstream jazz jam. There’s a lot of focus on melody and it’s quite energized. Even when it works out to more freeform sounds it’s still more melodic than some of the rest of the material here. They drop it to mellower territory around the three and a half minute mark to segue into the next piece.
Fur Edge
Saxophone solos as this rises up from the previous track. Drums serve as the backdrop as that saxophone really works out through some seriously freeform territory. That drums and sax arrangement basically is the whole song here.
Theta Meter
A pounding, insistent drum beat serves as the backdrop for some freeform jazz meets space music. Eventually it works out to more noisy jamming. It drops back down to end.
Grape Hound
The opening section here feels a lot like King Crimson, but the riff that emerges is more along the lines of Cream. As other instruments are added, it starts to resemble a more jazz inclined Traffic. It winds up shifting through several changes as this continues. There are some dramatic rock motifs that emerge here and there. It works towards more pure progressive rock later, but the jazz still remains.
Strange Comforts
Soft musical motifs open this and it grows out from there. It’s a guitar solo, though for the first minute or so. And, what a guitar solo it is. Then saxophone starts to play gently over the top. Drums enter as it continues. This works out to quite a cool fusion jam. It’s mostly melodic and different instruments get the chance to solo at different points.
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