Soft Machine's collective skill is hyper-complex and refined, as they are extremely literate in all fields of musical study.
Fourth is the band's free purging of all of that knowledge, woven into noisy, smoky structures of sound.
Their arcane rhythms have a stop-and-go mentality of their own that sounds incredibly fresh even though it is sonically steeped in soft and warm tones.
Obviously there is a lot of skillful playing going on, as the mix of free jazz, straight-ahead jazz, and Gong-like psychedelia coalesces into a skronky plateau.
Robert Wyatt's drumming is impeccable -- so perfect that it at times becomes an unnoticeable map upon which the bandmembers take their instinctive direction.
Elton Dean's saxophone work screams out the most inventive cadence, and since it's hardly rhythmic, it takes front and center, spitting out a crazy language.
at the same time.