Album: Burden Of Proof
Label: Moonjune Records/Esoteric Antenna
Review: Diego Camargo
Thoughts: If you’re a Progger that has a minimum of interest in what happened in the early days you’re aware of the Soft Machine name.
Soft Machine was a band that existed between 1968 and 1981 or so and released many albums, especially in the Jazz Rock/Fusion field.
In the early 2000’s the band got together again, but as it wasn’t the original line up anymore they decided to form an ‘almost’ new band, Soft Machine Legacy and so far they have released a mix of albums. The live albums have Soft Machine old works mixed with new tracks. The studio albums are filled with completely new material.
Burden Of Proof (2013) is their 3rd studio album and it was released by Moonjune Records with Esoteric Antenna distribution.
The album was produced by the band itself and recorded by another big name in the Jazz Fusion scene, Beppe Crovella, at the Electromantic Synergy Studio, in San Sebastiano da Po, Italy, in August 2012.
If you know the band’s sound already you’ll not be surprised with what you’re going to find in Burden Of Proof (2013). John Marshall (drums and percussions), Theo Travis (saxophones, flutes and piano), John Etheridge (guitars) and Roy Babbington (bass) keep delivering the Jazz Fusion of the previous works.
The album starts with the title-track and soon jumps to ‘Voyage Beyond Seven’. The third track, the guitar-driven ‘Kitto’ is quite interesting.
But so far the Smoky Jazz Club feeling of ‘Pie Chart’ is the most interesting, full of great saxophones lines the music takes you for a ride, like a movie.
‘JSP’ is nothing more than a minute noise, and quite unnecessary on the album. The following track, ‘Kings And Queens’ is another great example on the album, hypnotic bass riff and great flute work.
‘Fallout’ is one more good track full of weird tempo riffs. The middle gets a bit boring tough. Then comes another quick-one-minute kind of track ‘Going Somewhere Canorous?’, another unnecessary piece of music.
‘Black And Crimson’ continues with the Burden Of Proof (2013) path and by now it’s very clear that Soft Machine Legacy is a great band when they actually write their material with a good melody line, like on this one. They’re a far better band then when they just keep playing in some improvised jam. Especially after the next track ‘The Brief’, then it’s even more clear.
To finish the album we have 3 more tracks. ‘Pump Room’, a good mid-tempo theme with weird guitar solos and ‘Green Cubes’ comes in the improvised format again. The last one is ‘They Landed On A Hill’ with its space rock feeling of emptiness.
Burden Of Proof (2013) is for sure the best album of Soft Machine Legacy so far, but really not my cup of tea. Maybe I’m not the best person around to review a Jazz Fusion album, but the improvised-jam-in-the-studio kind of thing bothers me. For my own good sake in this album the band decided to bet their coins in a 50/50 game.
And when they play rehearsed compositions they do great!
The band was included in our Podcast #17 and you can listen the track 'Voyage Beyond Seven' HERE.