Heavy Vanguard Episode 5: Soft Machine // Third

Welcome again to Heavy Vanguard—your ticket to the farthest and weirdest reaches of music. While avant-garde and experimental music is, again, strange upon first listen, it’s also massively important to music as a whole. After all, innovation doesn’t happen through repetition; it takes people willing to take chances on new things and mark uncharted territory for us to truly move forward. And no other album we’ve covered so far (with the possible exception of Trout Mask Replica) has been as far-reaching and influential as the one we cover this week: Soft Machine‘s iconic album Third.

Soft Machine had its roots in the Canterbury Scene in England, where, along with bands like Caravan (and, to a lesser extent, RIO bands like Henry Cow) they pioneered an early form of progressive rock with heavy jazz and psychedelic influences. It was with Third, however, that the band set a new standard in avant-garde jazz and jazz fusion music with its unique blend of psychedelic rock, jazz, and tape music. Created at almost the exact same time as Miles Davis‘s Bitches BrewThird is not quite jazz, and not quite rock. It sits on the fence of both of these genres rather nicely.

While Scott and I weren’t exactly huge fans of this album—in fact, our reception is a bit mixed in places—we thought that it was nonetheless an important album, and a release that’s worth recommending to people who haven’t already heard it. We might not always fall in love with what we cover on this podcast, but that’s not the point.  We curate albums here that are (1) important to experimental music, and (2) worth recommending to others. After all, this is meant to be more of a jumping off point for others to explore music that deserves more recognition than an actual review.

In any case, enjoy!

This Week’s Podcast:

 

This Week’s Album