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SOFT MACHINE LEGACY MJR052
Burden Of Proof  
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Soft Machine Legacy makes their most powerful statement to date, delivering an album of epic proportions and their first studio output since 2007's Steam. Infectious grooves, undeniably hip vibes and sizzling performances dominate the outing, as the veteran progressive music masters continue to break new ground and offer listeners yet more previously-unseen facets of their dynamic musical persona.

Featuring some intriguingly-inviting new writing, the album is a breath of fresh air for progressive music and a bold furtherance of the true adventurous essence that is the legacy of the great Soft Machine. It doesn't just offer the suggestion of venturing through ground previously untread -- by any of the Soft Machine incarnations -- it levels everything in its path on the way!

Broad in its scope and ambition, but sensitive, probing and playful in its delivery, Burden of Proof provides more than ample evidence that the legends remain at the top of their game, both individually and collectively. The group's two lead voices -- guitarist John Etheridge and saxophonist Theo Travis -- are in exceptionally fine form, whether gracefully enunciating a melody line in the pocket or dancing madly on the fringe.

Also evident is the rock-solid anchoring of drummer John Marshall and bassist Roy Babbington, who keep proceedings tight and flowing throughout. Whether tip-toeing or stampeding, Soft Machine Legacy are as unified, focused and finely-honed as they've ever been -- delivering their crispest, most sparkling new material to date, in an undeniably inspired, unrelenting session.

This is a fabulous, vital effort: a potent, impacting album encompassing the great spirit and aggressive pioneering approach championed by their namesake predecessors. For all fans of progressive music, the Canterbury scene, and the Softs, this superlative studio session is immediately 'essential' -- and easily the Legacy's finest, most high-reaching outing.
 
 
TRACKSClick on any highlighted track title to listen to individual audio samples, or listen to them all on the player to the right.
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5. JSP (1:03)
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8. Going Somewhere Canorous? (1:14)
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10. The Brief (2:28)
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PERSONNEL
JOHN ETHERIDGE: electric guitar
ROY BABBINGTON: bass guitar
JOHN MARSHALL: drums and percussion
THEO TRAVIS: tenor sax, flute, Fender Rhodes paino
PRODUCTION
Recorded by Beppe Crovella, at Electromantic Synergy Studio, San Sabastiano da Po, Italy; August, 2012.
Mixed and mastered by Andrew Tulloch, at The Blue Room, London; December, 2012 through January, 2013.
Produced by Soft Machine Legacy.
Executive Producer: Leonardo Pavkovic
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ALBUM REVIEWS

"... the quartet waxes energetically fusionistic with more than a hint of early 1970s-era muscle ...

"The music here is fresh, risky, and full of life. If Burden of Proof proves anything, it's that the spirit of exploration in music remains alive and well. Fittingly so, because that's what Soft Machine was all about in the first place."

- Dave Wayne, All About Jazz

"... solid jazz-prog fusion ... a fearsome acumen and imagination ..."

- Mark S. Tucker, FAME

"These veterans aren’t living off the past so much as taking it a step further, and age hasn’t mellowed or mired their focus.

"Etheridge consistently cuts deep here and throughout the album, with melodic, sharp licks that never depend on flash. Saxophonist Theo Travis writes complex melody lines that digress into free territory, a style in which the band excels, especially Etheridge, who churns out a series of delightful scrapes and skronks."

- Mike Shanley, JazzTimes

"... a stellar recording filled with classy, adventurous sounds, impeccable playing, and engaging arrangements.

"Burden of Proof is, to put it mildly, absolutely exquisite. These are four musicians who are masters of their craft, and truly at the top of their game, not only as soloists but as contributors in an actual band. They've put together here a collection of songs that basically has something for everyone: challenging jazz-fusion, adventurous prog-rock, bits of chaotic free-jazz, atmospheric instrumental pop-jazz, and even a little hard rock. Extraordinary!"

- Pete Pardo, Sea of Tranquility

"... Burden of Proof possesses an internal cohesion of its own ... the music flows effortlessly ...

"Those who have followed Soft Machine Legacy and its previous incarnations for the past two decades will find a lot to love in Burden of Proof, an album that combines melody and ambience with the almost carefree abandon of improvisation ... the album captures a group of seasoned musicians who obviously still enjoy themselves both in the studio and on stage."

- Raffaella Berry, ProgSphere

"... carrying on the trajectory of the psychedelic, always jazz-inflected Soft Machine ... achieves something beyond the grasp of most fusion bands in blending ensemble improvisation with a rock-hard edge."

- David Luhrssen, Express Milwaukee

"... excellent musicianship throughout, with an attention to subtle details ... those with a taste for instrumental jazz rock will find plenty to enjoy on this one, and those among them who are thrilled by improvised material with more of a free-form expression just as much as by more tightly controlled and performed compositions should find this CD to be a most thrilling experience indeed."

- Olav M Bjornsen, Progressor

"Soft Machine Legacy are seemingly unconcerned with “updating” their sound for the 21st century: no hip-hop beats or dubstep textures here. But neither are they slaves to the past. While “Voyage Beyond Seven” will please lovers of hard bop and west coast jazz alike, Etheridge’s guitar work (in particular) has feel not unlike Robert Fripp‘s work on early King Crimson albums (up through, say, Islands). Travis’ ghostly flute work makes the Crimson connection even more pronounced."

- Bill Kopp, Musoscribe

"... those hoping for a great progressive/electric jazz release, will be thrilled. Highly and very happily recommended."

- Wayside Music

"... Burden of Proof is a polished musical journey by four veterans of the progressive rock and jazz scenes ... there are plenty of progressive rock and avant leanings, and at it’s core this is a well executed album that should appeal to many open-minded listeners."

- Markus Cueva, Progulator

"... for sure the best album of Soft Machine Legacy so far ..."

- Diego Camargo, Progshine

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ARTIST PROFILE

The beauty of Soft Machine’s legacy – and of Soft Machine Legacy, the band – is that nearly a half-century after the original group’s inception, that legacy is far from stagnant but continues to evolve to this day. Ever since Soft Machine Legacy was first formed (as Soft Works) in 2002 at the instigation of Leonardo Pavkovic, the group has amply demonstrated that it is no mere exercise in nostalgia, lazily mining the Soft Machine back catalog; instead, SML has admirably carried the parent group’s spirit of inquiry and exceptional standard of musical excellence forward into the present.

Just as the original Soft Machine was in a state of continual metamorphosis in terms of both personnel and musical approach – shape-shifting over time from a psychedelic pop band, to a proto–prog rock outfit, to pioneers of adventurous jazz-rock fusion, and ranging from trio to septet configurations – Soft Machine Legacy has been in constant flux as members have come and gone, each new arrival placing his distinctive stamp on this musical work in progress. It is a tribute to the open-ended nature of Soft Machine’s ingenious compositional frameworks that they can accommodate such a wide range of strong musical personalities.

This is no historical rehashing of Soft Machine, but a living, breathing music that is as vital and revelevant today as it ever was.

With Live Adventures, Soft Machine Legacy documents that very fact. Both longtime fans and new converts alike can take heart in the knowledge that the Soft Machine family tree -- with its deep roots in the musical revolution of the ‘60s -- continues to sprout healthy new limbs well into the new century, showing no signs of slowing.

... The legacy is in very good hands, indeed.

Artist Website
www.myspace.com/softmachinelegacy

Image: MoonJune Records artists, Soft Machine Legacy.
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