Soft Mountain

Soft Mountain

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As the both the name and title of this release indicate, Soft Mountain were intimately connected with Soft Machine, albeit long after the latter group had dissolved in the '70s. In August 2003, ex-Soft Machiners Elton Dean and Hugh Hopper teamed up with two Japanese musicians, keyboardist Hoppy Kamiyama and drummer Tatsuya Yoshida, to record the hour of improvised fusion that comprises this album. And it certainly is improvisation; there's just one "song" here, "Soft Mountain Suite," divided into two parts of roughly half-an-hour length each. Though improvised in the studio, the music itself won't be too surprising to longtime Soft Machine followers, being energetic, instrumental jazz-rock fusion that's more jazz than rock, blending a frenetic rhythm section with free jazz sax and electric keyboard textures. Things do get especially wild halfway through the second part of the suite, with some careening electronic effects (presumably created by the keyboardist) and wild blowing by Dean, who died just a couple years or so after this session. It's more an extension of what Soft Machine were known for than a radical departure, though as Hopper notes in his brief liner note, he and Dean welcomed the chance to be spontaneous as the group they were touring Japan with at the time (Soft Works) played a set that didn't vary much from gig to gig.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 30:43
2 27:56
blue highlight denotes track pick