Soft Machine -
Land Of Cockayne

(CD 1981/2010, 43:43, Esoteric Records ECLEC 2208)

The tracks:
  1- Over 'N' Above(7:24)
  2- Lotus Groves(4:57)
  3- Isle Of The Blessed(1:56)
  4- Panoramania(7:07)
  5- Behind The Crystal Curtain(0:53)
  6- Palace Of Glass(3:22)
  7- Hot-Biscuit Slim(7:27)
  8- Black) Velvet Mountain(5:10)
  9- Sly Monkey(5:00)
10- A Lot Of What You Fancy...(0:35)

Soft Machine Website        samples       

With the departure of keyboard-player Mike Ratledge - the last original band member - the Soft Machine that can be heard on Land Of Cockayne basically has nothing to do with the once experimental avant-garde jazz/jazz-rock group of the sixties and seventies. This Soft Machine much more resembles the sound of the German jazz-rock outfit Passport, mainly because of the smooth compositions and the emphasis on the saxophone. This is no surprise as main man Karl Jenkins, who took control of the Softs and virtually made Land Of Cockayne a solo album, used to play in Ian Carr's Nucleus and this band would become the blueprint for Passport. On this album, Jenkins is assisted by his fellow-Softs-drummer John Marshall and guitarist Allan Holdsworth and he's supported by the famed bass player Jack Bruce. Also the orchestra has a prominent role and in fact, its participation started a long live love affair for Jenkins which cumulated in the celebrated and multi-million selling project Adeimus in the nineties. I know this edition of Soft Machine used to get a lot of stick from purists, but I liked the band way back in the eighties and I still like it as their version of jazz-rock has aged pretty well. The saxophone players Ray Warleigh and Dick Morrissey do a pretty decent job and after all, who can deny any album with Allan Holdsworth playing on it?

*** André de Waal (edited by Peter Willemsen)

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