SOFT MACHINE
Classic Fusion / Jazz Related Rock / Post-Fusion Contemporary / Avant-Garde Jazz • United Kingdom

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Soft Machine were never a commercial enterprise and indeed still remain unknown even to many listeners who came of age during the late '60s and early ‘70s, when the group was at its peak. In their own way, however, they were one of the more influential bands of their era, and certainly one of the most influential underground ones. One of the original British psychedelic groups, they were also instrumental in the birth of both progressive rock and jazz-rock. They were also the central foundation of the family tree of the "Canterbury Scene" of British progressive rock acts, a movement that also included Caravan, Gong, Matching Mole, Hatfield and the North, and National Health, not to mention the distinguished pop music careers of founding members Robert Wyatt and Kevin Ayers and the jazz and jazz-rock explorations of saxophonist Elton Dean and bassist Hugh Hopper.

Considering their well-known experimental and avant-garde
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Thanks to silent way for the addition and snobb, dreadpirateroberts for the updates

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Volumes One & TwoVolumes One & Two
Import
Big Beat UK 2004
Audio CD$10.23
$4.93 (used)
5cd Original Album Classics (Third/F Ourth/Fifth/Six/Seven)5cd Original Album Classics (Third/F Ourth/Fifth/Six/Seven)
Import
Sony Music Canada Inc. 2011
Audio CD$15.62
$35.51 (used)
ThirdThird
Import · Remastered
Sony Music Canada Inc. 2011
Audio CD$7.56
$7.61 (used)
BundlesBundles
Import · Remastered
Phantasm Imports 2010
Audio CD$11.70
$69.94 (used)
FifthFifth
Import
Sony Music Canada Inc. 2016
Vinyl$24.49
$33.99 (used)
The Soft MachineThe Soft Machine
SUNDAZED MUSIC 2014
Vinyl$18.82
$25.96 (used)
Soft MachineSoft Machine
Import · Remastered
EMI Europe Generic 2009
Audio CD$5.33
$3.93 (used)
SevenSeven
Import
Imports 2015
Audio CD$7.93
$6.93 (used)
Live In ParisLive In Paris
CUNEIFORM RECORDS 2017
Audio CD$17.49
$12.62 (used)
Switzerland 1974Switzerland 1974
CUNEIFORM RECORDS 2017
Audio CD$20.41
$18.99 (used)
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Soft Machine Elton Dean JAPAN 8 titles Mini LP SHM-CD PROMO BOX SET Soft Machine Elton Dean JAPAN 8 titles Mini LP SHM-CD PROMO BOX SET USD $299.99 Buy It Now 5h
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Third by Soft Machine (CD, Jul-1991, Columbia (USA)) Third by Soft Machine (CD, Jul-1991, Columbia (USA)) USD $0.99 (0 bids)
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Soft Machine Live 1969 CD Amazingdisc label BRAND NEW sealed / NEUF Scéllé / NEU Soft Machine Live 1969 CD Amazingdisc label BRAND NEW sealed / NEUF Scéllé / NEU USD $15.00 (0 bids)
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Soft Machine 2-LP vinyl record (Double Album) Six UK 68214 CBS 1973 Soft Machine 2-LP vinyl record (Double Album) Six UK 68214 CBS 1973 USD $54.82 Buy It Now 1 day
Soft Machine Volume Two USA vinyl LP album record CPLP4505 PROBE 1969 Soft Machine Volume Two USA vinyl LP album record CPLP4505 PROBE 1969 USD $180.10 Buy It Now 1 day
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Soft Machine Fourth - 1st - EX UK vinyl LP album record 64280 CBS 1971 Soft Machine Fourth - 1st - EX UK vinyl LP album record 64280 CBS 1971 USD $138.20 Buy It Now 1 day
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2nd Vision CD - John Etheridge Ric Sanders Soft Machine 2nd Vision CD - John Etheridge Ric Sanders Soft Machine USD $11.16 (0 bids)
1 day
Soft Machine - BBC Radio - 1971-1974 2xCDs Soft Machine - BBC Radio - 1971-1974 2xCDs USD $15.35 (0 bids)
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1 day
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Third  Soft Machine  Vinyl Record Third Soft Machine Vinyl Record USD $37.64 Buy It Now 1 day
SOFT MACHINE Seven ESCA-5419 CD JAPAN 1991 NEW SOFT MACHINE Seven ESCA-5419 CD JAPAN 1991 NEW USD $295.35 Buy It Now 1 day
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Soft Machine Lp Soft Machine Lp USD $19.99 (0 bids)
1 day
Soft Machine Lp Soft Machine Lp USD $19.99 (0 bids)
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Soft Machine - Live At The Paradiso [New Vinyl] Colored Vinyl, Ltd Ed, Purple Soft Machine - Live At The Paradiso [New Vinyl] Colored Vinyl, Ltd Ed, Purple USD $25.76 Buy It Now 1 day
ADIEMUS (Karl Jenkins)- ADIEMUS II: CANTATA MUNDI (CD 1997) Soft Machine/Nucleus ADIEMUS (Karl Jenkins)- ADIEMUS II: CANTATA MUNDI (CD 1997) Soft Machine/Nucleus USD $1.38 (0 bids)
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Soft Machine Legacy - Burden of Proof (Esoteric / MoonJune CD 2013) Soft Machine Legacy - Burden of Proof (Esoteric / MoonJune CD 2013) USD $8.37 (0 bids)
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SOFT MACHINE - Jet-propelled Photographs - CD SOFT MACHINE - Jet-propelled Photographs - CD USD $17.49 Buy It Now 2 days
SOFT MACHINE - LAND OF COCKAYNE (REMASTERED)  CD NEW+ SOFT MACHINE - LAND OF COCKAYNE (REMASTERED) CD NEW+ USD $25.91 Buy It Now 2 days
Epic Sony Japan Promo only DBL Vinyl LP Soft Machine Sly Tress Poco Skid Row Epic Sony Japan Promo only DBL Vinyl LP Soft Machine Sly Tress Poco Skid Row USD $149.99 Buy It Now 2 days
OST THE ANIMALS FILM  ROBERT WYATT 1982  ROUGH TRADE ITALY PRESS NM SOFT MACHINE OST THE ANIMALS FILM ROBERT WYATT 1982 ROUGH TRADE ITALY PRESS NM SOFT MACHINE USD $39.98 Buy It Now 2 days
Soft Machine - 7 [CD] Soft Machine - 7 [CD] USD $17.43 Buy It Now 2 days
SOFT MACHINE Fifth MHCP-425 CD JAPAN 2004 OBI SOFT MACHINE Fifth MHCP-425 CD JAPAN 2004 OBI USD $52.14 Buy It Now 2 days
THE SOFT MACHINE Debut Album 1987 GERMANY Vinyl LP Reissue Big Beat Near MINT ! THE SOFT MACHINE Debut Album 1987 GERMANY Vinyl LP Reissue Big Beat Near MINT ! USD $39.95 Buy It Now 2 days
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SOFT MACHINE Fifth CD OBI SOFT MACHINE Fifth CD OBI USD $9.99 Buy It Now 2 days
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SOFT MACHINE Discography

SOFT MACHINE albums / top albums

.. Album Cover 4.08 | 20 ratings
The Soft Machine
Jazz Related Rock 1968
.. Album Cover 3.83 | 22 ratings
Volume Two
Jazz Related Rock 1969
.. Album Cover 4.75 | 53 ratings
Third
Jazz Related Rock 1970
.. Album Cover 3.86 | 26 ratings
Fourth
Classic Fusion 1971
.. Album Cover 3.71 | 17 ratings
Fifth
Classic Fusion 1972
.. Album Cover 3.78 | 13 ratings
Seven
Classic Fusion 1973
.. Album Cover 4.04 | 19 ratings
Bundles
Classic Fusion 1975
.. Album Cover 3.12 | 14 ratings
Softs
Jazz Related Rock 1976
.. Album Cover 2.08 | 6 ratings
Land of Cockayne
Post-Fusion Contemporary 1981

SOFT MACHINE EPs & splits

.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Soft Machine / Gong
Jazz Related Rock 1971

SOFT MACHINE live albums

.. Album Cover 4.01 | 15 ratings
Six
Classic Fusion 1973
.. Album Cover 2.25 | 5 ratings
Alive And Well Recorded In Paris
Classic Fusion 1978
.. Album Cover 2.85 | 4 ratings
Live at the Proms 1970
Jazz Related Rock 1988
.. Album Cover 4.39 | 4 ratings
The Peel Sessions
Classic Fusion 1990
.. Album Cover 3.83 | 3 ratings
BBC Radio 1 Live in Concert
Classic Fusion 1993
.. Album Cover 3.75 | 2 ratings
BBC Radio 1 Live in Concert 1972 (aka Softstage - BBC In Concert 1972)
Classic Fusion 1994
.. Album Cover 3.50 | 3 ratings
Live in France (aka Live In Paris May 2nd, 1972)
Classic Fusion 1995
.. Album Cover 3.46 | 4 ratings
Live at the Paradiso 1969
Jazz Related Rock 1995
.. Album Cover 2.00 | 1 ratings
Live 1970
Jazz Related Rock 1998
.. Album Cover 3.54 | 6 ratings
Virtually
Classic Fusion 1998
.. Album Cover 3.68 | 8 ratings
Noisette
Jazz Related Rock 2000
.. Album Cover 2.50 | 5 ratings
Backwards
Jazz Related Rock 2002
.. Album Cover 2.50 | 1 ratings
Facelift
Jazz Related Rock 2002
.. Album Cover 3.43 | 8 ratings
BBC Radio 1967-1971
Classic Fusion 2003
.. Album Cover 3.50 | 4 ratings
BBC Radio 1971-1974
Classic Fusion 2003
.. Album Cover 2.00 | 1 ratings
Somewhere in Soho (aka Soft Machine At Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club)
Classic Fusion 2004
.. Album Cover 3.25 | 2 ratings
Breda Reactor (aka Live At Het Turfschip, Netherlands, 31 January 1970)
Classic Fusion 2004
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Live In Paris
Classic Fusion 2004
.. Album Cover 3.50 | 4 ratings
British Tour '75
Classic Fusion 2005
.. Album Cover 4.63 | 10 ratings
Grides
Jazz Related Rock 2006
.. Album Cover 3.25 | 4 ratings
Middle Earth Masters
Jazz Related Rock 2006
.. Album Cover 3.38 | 4 ratings
Floating World Live
Classic Fusion 2006
.. Album Cover 3.52 | 5 ratings
Live At Henie Onstad Art Centre 1971
Classic Fusion 2009
.. Album Cover 2.88 | 6 ratings
Drop
Avant-Garde Jazz 2009
.. Album Cover 3.98 | 5 ratings
NDR Jazz Workshop
Classic Fusion 2010
.. Album Cover 4.25 | 2 ratings
Switzerland 1974
Classic Fusion 2015

SOFT MACHINE demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

.. Album Cover 2.33 | 4 ratings
Face and Place Vol. 7 (aka Jet-Propelled Photographs aka At the Beginning aka Shooting at the Moon,etc)
Jazz Related Rock 1972

SOFT MACHINE re-issues & compilations

.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Soft Machine
Jazz Related Rock 1969
.. Album Cover 5.00 | 1 ratings
The Soft Machine(aka Architects of Space Time aka Vol.1 &2)
Jazz Related Rock 1973
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Triple Echo
Jazz Related Rock 1977
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Untouchable
Classic Fusion 1990
.. Album Cover 1.19 | 4 ratings
Rubber Riff (aka De Wolfe Sessions)
Classic Fusion 1994
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Best Of Soft Machine-The Harvest Years
Jazz Related Rock 1995
.. Album Cover 3.00 | 2 ratings
Spaced
Classic Fusion 1996
.. Album Cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
Fourth / Fifth
Classic Fusion 1999
.. Album Cover 2.50 | 1 ratings
Man in a Deaf Corner: Anthology 63-70
Classic Fusion 2001
.. Album Cover 2.50 | 1 ratings
Turns On Volume 1
Jazz Related Rock 2001
.. Album Cover 2.50 | 1 ratings
Turns On Volume 2
Jazz Related Rock 2001
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Kings of Canterbury
Jazz Related Rock 2003
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Six / Seven
Classic Fusion 2004
.. Album Cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
Out-Bloody-Rageous: An Anthology 1967-1973
Classic Fusion 2005
.. Album Cover 2.55 | 2 ratings
Original Album Classics
Jazz Related Rock 2010
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Tales of Taliesin: The EMI Years Anthology 1975-1981
Classic Fusion 2011

SOFT MACHINE singles (1)

.. Album Cover
2.00 | 1 ratings
Love Makes Sweet Music
Jazz Related Rock 1967

SOFT MACHINE movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

.. Album Cover
4.00 | 1 ratings
Alive in Paris 1970
Jazz Related Rock 2008

SOFT MACHINE Reviews

SOFT MACHINE Fourth

Album · 1971 · Classic Fusion
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
ALotOfBottle
In October of 1970, Soft Machine started recording their fourth studio album. Their previous, two-disc release, Third , contained four long epics, each with its distinctive flavor. Robert Wyatt's piece, 'Moon In June', which was the only vocal track on the album, clearly showing his own musical vision, quite different from one of his band-mates. In fact, on his first solo album, The End of an Ear, Wyatt described himself as an "Out of work pop singer currently on drums with Soft Machine". The jazz-fusion oriented path Soft Machine had taken undoubtedly did not please his musical sensibilities. For their upcoming album, the group invited a double-bass player, Roy Babbington, who had previously played with Keith Tippet. A horn section, different from the one on Third, was also added, consisting of Alan Skidmore on tenor saxophone, Jimmy Hastings on alto flute and bass clarinet, Nick Evans on trombone, and Mark Charig on cornet. Fourth was released in early 1971 and was followed by Robert Wyatt's departure from the band.

Soft Machine's style on Fourth may appear as radical compared their first two works from 1968 and 1969, but is in fact merely a natural development they made from Third. The recruitment of a double-bass player, however, is a breakthrough and a turning point in the band's career. This might be interpreted as a definitive cut-off from rock. Yes, they probably still could rock out, but they were by no means a rock band anymore. The group creates a unique blend of elements of Miles Davis' mid-late sixties post-bop, free jazz of Cecil Taylor, Ornette Coleman, and Charles Mingus, and ambient music, that could be connected with pioneering bands such as Popol Vuh. Fourth also has a one-of-a-kind, inexplicable flavor that indicates that Soft Machine is a European outfit and differentiates them from contemporary groups from the United States. Similarly to Third, Fourth is largely focused on improvisation, therefore showcasing the instrumentalism of the musicians.

The newly-recruited horn section helps the band in reaching a certain amount of versatility in their sound. Although Elton Dean's alto saxophone and saxello is still dominant in the band's soundscapes, they are now enriched with sounds of a flute, a trombone, a cornet, and a tenor sax. Most often, these instruments play together, creating an interesting 'metal wall' of horn sounds, but solo parts on each of them are not uncommon. Mike Ratledge's keyboard rig is extended with a Hohner pianet, which the virtuoso finds particularly useful on parts, where strong rhythmical background is needed. His signature fuzzed-out Lowrey organ sound, which is one of the few common elements between Soft Machines debut and Fourth, plays an important role on his break-neck speed solos. With a double-bass player onboard, Hugh Hopper's contribution might seem limited, but the bassist's unique style and bass timbre is still crucial to Machine's sound. Robert Wyatt, who quite rightfully might not have been happy with a direction his band took, proves how much of a versatile drummer he was with his accurate and precise drumming.

Side one of Fourth is occupied by three tracks. The work starts with Ratledge's composition 'Teeth'. It starts out with a complex theme, which smoothly dissolves into a jam (which at parts reminds me of 'Hope For Happiness' from Soft Machine's debut). Then, we are approached by Hopper's piece 'Kings and Queens', which despite following a simple structure is one of the most memorable tracks from the album with a slightly gloomy, melancholic feel. Side one is closed with 'Fletcher's Blemish', a loud, atonal, horn-driven jam that lies just on the border of being classified as free-jazz and fusion. Side two comprises Hugh Hopper's four-part suite 'Virtually'. Part 1 is kept in a traditional jazz feel and is based on improvisation. Part 2 builds up tension, which leads to an atonal jam with Elton Dean's saxophone in the foreground. Part 3 opens with dissonant noises achieved by manipulating instruments with studio equipment on dreamy electronic ambient basis. Part 4 is basically an extension of Part 3 with smooth passages fading until the end of the album.

Fourth marks the end of Soft Machine's Canterbury scene years and begins what is known as group's 'classic' era as a jazz-fusion act. The music on the album might not be very compelling, at least in my book, but is a much-needed listen and is crucial to the development English jazz to come. A lot of the times, one will find their thoughts drifting far away from the music, which might be a testimony of its' well, soporific aspect. The album is more than decent in its own right, but is rather stodgy, insignificant, and unmemorable at the same time. No wonder why Robert Wyatt left Soft Machine. However, it is recommended to listen to the album and forge your own opinion.

SOFT MACHINE Third

Album · 1970 · Jazz Related Rock
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Modrigue
A masterpiece of progressive jazz/rock

From start to end, this album is an absolute killer. Every single second is just excellent, the listener cannot lose his attention on the music. Last one with Robert Wyatt, "Third" is by far SOFT MACHINE's best offering. With four pieces of approximately 20 minutes each, mainly instrumental, the musicians push back the frontiers of space modal jazz rock far beyond.

The record opens with the live song "Facelift" and its crazy sonic experimental deflagrations. A disturbing atmosphere takes place to let the energetic and catchy jazzy theme suddenly explode. The ambiance changes at the middle of the track to become calmer and more mysterious. This section shows echoes of JOHN COLTRANE's playing. "Slightly All The Time" is a soft and slow evolving piece of modal jazz. It has sometimes faster moments which will take you to the heights.

The second half of the song is more tormented and spacey. Then comes the best side of the disc. First, the only track with vocals, "Moon In June". Robert Wyatt's psychedelic and soft voice is just magic and fits perfectly to the melancholic and enchanting music. Just listen and relax. The number of changes of musical directions is just amazing! The second part of the song displays an unbeatable combo of powerful jazz rock. Terrifying! "Out-Bloody-Rageous" concludes magnificently the album by making it enter definitely into the legend. The tune starts and finishes delicately with an ethereal aquatic electronic ambiance taking the listener to the clouds during nearly 5 minutes. The rest just features top-notch and very inspired modal jazz with talented musicians at their best.

Less psychedelic, more jazz and progressive oriented than their two first releases, "Third" is an exemplary tour de force and a milestone in its genre. This is the record that got me into jazz rock and I could simply not get enough of it. There are very few albums which can match this one.

You will not see the time pass. Strongly recommended to everyone!

SOFT MACHINE Third

Album · 1970 · Jazz Related Rock
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siLLy puPPy
So intent was SOFT MACHINE to evolve at the speed of light into new musical territory that in only a few short years since they founded as a psychedelic pop band and then virtually establishing what would eventually be called the Canterbury Scene in the musical world that by the time they got to their THIRD album so they had practically abandoned all that had come before and dove head first into the world of free jazz and avant-garde psychedelia with only tidbits of rock still to be found throughout this sprawling and ambitious undertaking. Despite the gaudily ugly packaging and the horribly generic album titles, the music is some of the most complex and sophisticated that 1970 had to offer. SOFT MACHINE was simply ahead of the pack by first creating the Canterbury Scene of rock music well before any other takers would continue down that path but they also jumped into the seas of super complex jazz-fusion which can be heard on this bizarre and transitory classic.

THIRD has a much broader spectrum of sound than anything attempted by the band before. Still on board are Robert Wyatt on drums and vocals on the sole vocal track “Moon In June,” Hugh Hopper on bass and Mike Ratledge on various keyboards but we also get Lyn Dobson on sax and flute, Jimmy Hastings (brother of Pye) on flute and bass clarinet, Rab Spall on violin and Nick Evans on trombone. The result of this expanded musical lineup is a big fat jazzy sounding album that is predominantly jazz in nature but has just enough rock and psychedelic influences to keep it firmly in the unusually experimental section on your shelf. The four tracks almost hit the 20 minute mark each but they often seem like they contain several tracks that combine to make a larger track.

“Facelift” is a live recording on the album and it starts out with very trippy sounding intro before getting into jazz-fusion territory. “Slightly All The Time” seems like a pure jazz piece in the beginning but really rocks out at the end. “Moon In June” is the only track to feature vocals and the last one of SOFT MACHINE to ever contain them. I personally think at least one track on an this mostly instrumental album adds a human touch to the bizarre soundscapes created. “Out-Bloody-Rageous” is evenly divided into four parts with the first being psychedelic, the second being jazzy, the third being keyboard oriented and the last part extremely trippy. This is simply a brilliant album from beginning to end but certainly not an easy one to digest. This one requires being well versed in both progressive rock and jazz to really enjoy. It takes many more listens than the average album to fully fall for. I certainly didn't warm up to it at first but eventually after many persistent and attentive attempts it has in the long run paid off handsomely.

I should also mention that is well worth tracking down the 2007 remastered version for not only do you get superb sound quality but a bonus disc from a concert at The Royal Albert Hall for BBC Radio Three in 1970. There are three tracks: “Out-Bloody-Rageous,” “Facelift” and the previously unreleased “Esther's Nose Job.” This is simply one of those albums where words fail to convey the many moods and dynamisms employed in these works. It is a must hear to understand for it is unlike anything that came before and since as far as I am aware. Classic.

SOFT MACHINE Volume Two

Album · 1969 · Jazz Related Rock
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siLLy puPPy
OK. Call me a SOFT MACHINE slut for giving their first two albums 5 stars but damn! I really love these guys and a belated introduction to their musical output hasn't dampened my enthusiasm to their sound one bit. In fact it may have enhanced it. I, like countless others, weren't around at the time of these releases to comprehend their musical meisterhood and it seems like many a music fan of the era didn't get to appreciate their ingenious jazz-fusion whimsy at the time of its release. SOFT MACHINE continued their evolution on VOLUME TWO by ratcheting up all the unusualness of their first album and keeping just enough of the familiar poppiness to give a musical structure to embellish upon. The whimsical glee exerts itself full throttle on the first track with their childlike playfulness meets their adult contemplative spirituality on “Pataphysical Introduction.” You know you are in for something special right away.

There had been a few personal changes from Volume One to VOLUME TWO. Robert Wyatt was still in charge of drum duties and lead vocals. Mike Ratledge stayed on board for as keyboardist, but on this release bassist Kevin Ayers was out and Hugh Hopper who guested on the first album was now in. This time around Hugh's brother Brian Hopper guested on the sax (both soprano and tenor.) This album is really two long tracks but because of the advise of Frank Zappa the band broke those two longer tracks into many because of the fact one could reap more royalties that way. The album is actually very short clocking in at just over a half an hour but there is so much going on in that time that it actually feels longer to me.

VOLUME TWO is the logical evolution from “Volume One.” Instead of just jettisoning the psychedelic pop leaning template that had begun before their first album and still utilized on the debut, the band keeps this as a template and simply expands the avant-garde and jazz-fusion tendencies developed on their debut. The result is another superbly excellent album that is short but sweet. The jazz factor is ratcheted up quite a few notches but the underlying flow of the album remains comparable to the debut. As with the previous album this is a grower. No SOFT MACHINE album unleashes its secrets easily. One must listen attentively to let the magic unfold at his or her own time. For me personally, I find this an excellent successor to the debut and a logical bridge between the debut and the even more jazz infused developments of “Third.” Yeah, the only totally unoriginal thing about this band is that they could have been more creative in naming their albums!

SOFT MACHINE The Soft Machine

Album · 1968 · Jazz Related Rock
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All one has to do is listen to the demos (available as Jet-propelled Photographs) recorded the year before to hear how quickly THE SOFT MACHINE was evolving their sound. It had been a wild ride since the days of the Wilde Flowers for drummer Robert Wyatt and bassist Kevin Ayers to get to this point. Mike Ratledge joined the band in 1966 when they officially formed as keyboardist and fellow ex-Wilde Flower veteran Hugh Hopper (bass) joins in on a few tracks here. Hugh would later join the band as a full member.

Originally the band also included Larry Nowlin on guitar but by the time we get to this debut album there is no guitarist to be found and just as well. It allows the band to emphasize how much a band can do with just a bass, keyboards and drums. Although Daevid Allen (guitars and vocals) was out and would begin his own Canterbury powerhouse Gong, on this debut we get a mixture of his own beatnik philosophy that he left behind, the psychedelic rock that was in fashion at the time and a new found appreciation for jazz that is incorporated into the nooks and crannies of the song structures creating a very new and exciting kind of music.

I personally believe that the sudden evolution can be attributed to the musical genius of Jimi Hendrix with whom SOFT MACHINE would tour. Hendrix was a major catalyst in the musical world at large and such a close proximity to his world surely must have served as an energizing lightning bolt for the band catapulting them suddenly into the more progressive interpretations of their earlier psychedelic pop churned out just a short time prior their debut. The band tackles the songs quite creatively. I love how the leading track “Hope For Happiness” is really one long track but in the middle they insert another track titled “Joy Of A Toy.” That strategy is repeated throughout the album making a smooth. flowing album from beginning to end. The melodies are catchy, the musicianship is excellent and the arrangements are quite brilliant. Ayers and Wyatt trade off vocals complementing each other quite well.

This one was certainly a grower. Upon first listen most of the complexities passed me by and I was more focused on the psychedelic pop aspects of the music. To fully appreciate SOFT MACHINE albums takes patience and dedication to fully unlock the brilliance embedded into the music. Although I liked this album on the first listen, I have grown to really love it for its bold and daring display of creativity as well as for its long lasting influence on not only the Canterbury side of jazz-fusion but for the evolution of progressive music in general. A belated 5 star masterpiece in my world but one that will firmly remain in that status. You'll know you're hooked when “Hope For Happiness” becomes the dominant ear worm beckoning you to put on the album time and time again!

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