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Soft Machine

Also known as Karl Jenkins' Soft Machine, Original Soft Machine, The, Original Soft-Machine, The, Soft Machine & Heavy Friends, Soft Machine Family, Soft Machine, The, Softmachine, The Soft Machine

Profile of the performer Soft Machine: Australian poet, guitarist, singer, composer and performance artist Daevid Allen moved to Paris in 1960. Inspired by the emerging 'Beat Generation' of writer's works he'd discovered whilst working in a Melbourne bookshop he moved into a room in Paris's 'Beat Hotel' and spent time around the city's Latin Quarter. There, he rubbed shoulders with Terry Riley and William S. Burroughs, gaining free access to the area's jazz clubs. Influenced by the music philosophies of Sun Ra he formed the Daevid Allen Trio, a free-jazz outfit which performed in Burroughs' theatre pieces based on that writer's novel 'The Ticket That Exploded'.



In 1961 Allen travelled to Canterbury, England, where he met 16 year-old Robert Wyatt (who was the son of his landlord). Their mutual interest in jazz resulted in a few gigs, in London in 1963, as the Daevid Allen Trio (with Hugh Hopper on bass and Mike Ratledge occasionally guesting on piano). Around the same time, Wyatt formed the Wilde Flowers with the Hopper brothers, Hugh and Brian, with Kevin Ayers on vocals.



The impetus behind the formation of Soft Machine occurred in a meeting of Allen and Ayers with Texan millionaire Wes Brunson in Deya, Majorca, on Easter Sunday 1966. Brunson agreed to put up the money for a new band, which allowed the group to buy equipment and rent a rehearsal room near Canterbury. The original line-up consisted of Robert Wyatt on drums and vocals, Mike Ratledge on keyboards, Daevid Allen on guitar and Kevin Ayers on bass and vocals. From May 1966 they gigged as Mister Head (aka Mr Head) and became Soft Machine in August 1966.



The name was taken from a William S. Burroughs novel 'The Soft Machine' (part of The Nova Trilogy), with agreement from the author. The title The Soft Machine encapsulates the Human Body, and the main theme of the book - as explicitly written in an appendix - concerns how control mechanisms invade the body. One poem, entitled Mens (Man, as in 'human'), by Dutch-American hematologist and poet Leo Vroman starts with the line: "Man is a soft machine..."



Mike Ratledge says of this : "... Soft machine was a generic term for the whole of humanity, and we were all soft machines... I guess our basic assumption was that what we liked, everybody else was going to like as well, that we all had things in common, and therefore we all are soft machines, and we were all going to like Soft Machine music. It might have been a false assumption, but I hope it's true".



In January 1967, the band's first single release was recorded. [m16803]. Celebrating its release on February 22nd the band gave a press conference at The Speakeasy, performing that evening at The Roundhouse as the opening act for the Jimi Hendrix Experience- where Hendrix jammed with them on bass.



Allen recalls their introduction to The Speakeasy by Giorgio Gomelsky, the promoter, producer, founder of the Crawdaddy Club and original manager of both The Yardbirds and the Rolling Stones; “He would take us there and ply us with whiskeys on the expense account. We’d meet all the big stars at the time. It was like being at court, only a rock ‘n’ roll court. ‘Cause the Beatles were there, the Rolling Stones were there – everybody, all the big names, would gather at the Speakeasy at this particular time.” [From the book 'Soft Machine: Out-Bloody-Rageous' by Graham Bennett].



Three months later, a collection of demos was recorded at DeLane Lea Studios with producer Giorgio Gomelsky, but not officially released until 1971 as two compilations on the French [l=BYG Records] label. At that time, Soft Machine had already become something of a 'cult' band on the London psychedelic scene, gigging at places like the Zebra Club, The Marquee, The Roundhouse, UFO [Underground Freak Out club] and Middle Earth. Light shows were also developed with Mark Boyle's Sensual Laboratory. On April 29th, 1967, they took part in the '14 Hour Technicolor Dream', an event set up by the underground paper 'International Times', which also featured Pink Floyd, the Move, Alexis Korner, Crazy World Of Arthur Brown, Tomorrow, Mothers Of Invention, Velvet Underground and artists such as Alan Ginsberg and Yoko Ono.



During the summer of 1967 the band toured France, performing at psychedelic events along the Cote d’Azur such as [l=Jean-Jacques Lebel]’s “Sunlove Happening” and [l=Eddie Barclay]’s “La Nuit Pschedelique”. For 3 weeks they provided daily musical “transmissions hallucinatoires” for wildly popular performances of “Le Désir Attrapé par la Queue”, a Pablo Picasso play produced by Lebel at the Festival de la Libre Expression outside Saint-Tropez. A legendary performance of “Do It Again” helped Soft Machine to make an enormous impression in France and, by the end of the Summer of Love, they became the favorite band of the French avant-garde.



On the way back Daevid Allen was refused re-entry to England and stayed in France, moving on to various projects before forming Gong two years later, while Wyatt, Ratledge and Ayers decided to carry on Soft Machine as a trio.



In February 1968, Soft Machine embarked on a 3-month US tour (opening for the Jimi Hendrix Experience), recording their first album during their touring schedule in New York in four days in April, with production handled by Tom Wilson and former Animals bassist and Hendrix producer Chas Chandler. Although quickly made and not particularly well-recorded, the band's eponymous album "[l=The Soft Machine]" is now considered a classic of the extraordinarily creative post-psychedelic and pre-progressive period of the late 60's.



The band split up in December 1968, re-formed in February 1969 and carried on until the late 1970's through many line-up changes and leaving no original member onboard. It re-formed briefly in 1980 and 1984. Robert Wyatt formed Matching Mole in October 1971. "Matching Mole" is a clever mis-pronounciation of "La Machine Molle", the French title of William Burroughs' novel "The Soft Machine"

So in the Web you may find Soft Machine on the Web by this links:
  1. http://www.noisette.nl
  2. http://www.strongcomet.com/wyatt/softs/
  3. http://www.hulloder.nl/
  4. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soft_Machine
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# Release cover Release title Tracks amount Download release in mp3? Official release date Label of release
1 Soft Machine - Third Third 4 mp3 Download release MP3 Third
2 Soft Machine - Six Six 17 mp3 Download release MP3 Six
3 Soft Machine - Fourth Fourth 7 mp3 Download release MP3 Fourth 1995-10-00 One Way Records (6)
4 Soft Machine - Fourth/Fifth Fourth/Fifth 16 mp3 Download release MP3 Fourth/Fifth 1999 Columbia
5 Soft Machine - Third Third 6 mp3 Download release MP3 Third 1970 CBS
6 Soft Machine - Soft Space Soft Space 2 mp3 Download release MP3 Soft Space 1978 Harvest
7 Soft Machine - The Soft Machine The Soft Machine 13 mp3 Download release MP3 The Soft Machine 1968-12-00
8 Soft Machine - Volume Two Volume Two 19 mp3 Download release MP3 Volume Two 1969-04-00
9 Soft Machine - Bundles Bundles 12 mp3 Download release MP3 Bundles 1990 See For Miles Records Ltd.
10 Soft Machine - Volumes One And Two Volumes One And Two 30 mp3 Download release MP3 Volumes One And Two 1989 Big Beat Records
11 Soft Machine - Third Third 4 mp3 Download release MP3 Third 2002 Columbia
12 Soft Machine - Seven Seven 12 mp3 Download release MP3 Seven 1973-10-00 CBS
13 Soft Machine - Love Makes Sweet Music / Feelin' Reelin' Squeelin' Love Makes Sweet Music / Feelin' Reelin' Squeelin' 2 mp3 Download release MP3 Love Makes Sweet Music / Feelin' Reelin' Squeelin' 1967-02-00 Polydor
14 Soft Machine - Joy Of A Toy / Why Are We Sleeping? Joy Of A Toy / Why Are We Sleeping? 2 mp3 Download release MP3 Joy Of A Toy / Why Are We Sleeping? 1969-11-00 Probe
15 Soft Machine - Love Makes Sweet Music Love Makes Sweet Music 2 mp3 Download release MP3 Love Makes Sweet Music 1967 Polydor
16 Soft Machine - Fourth Fourth 7 mp3 Download release MP3 Fourth 1971-02-00 CBS
17 Soft Machine - Fifth Fifth 6 mp3 Download release MP3 Fifth 1972-06-00 CBS
18 Soft Machine - Six Six 15 mp3 Download release MP3 Six 1973-02-00
19 Soft Machine - Triple Echo Triple Echo 21 mp3 Download release MP3 Triple Echo 1977-03-00
20 Soft Machine - Alive And Well Recorded In Paris Alive And Well Recorded In Paris 11 mp3 Download release MP3 Alive And Well Recorded In Paris 1978-03-00
21 Soft Machine - BBC Radio 1967 - 1971 BBC Radio 1967 - 1971 15 mp3 Download release MP3 BBC Radio 1967 - 1971 2003 Hux Records
22 Soft Machine - Six Six 15 mp3 Download release MP3 Six 1995 One Way Records (6)
23 Soft Machine - Seven Seven 12 mp3 Download release MP3 Seven 1974-10-00
24 Soft Machine - Third Third 4 mp3 Download release MP3 Third 1991 Columbia
25 Soft Machine - BBC Radio 1971 - 1974 BBC Radio 1971 - 1974 11 mp3 Download release MP3 BBC Radio 1971 - 1974 2003 Hux Records
26 Soft Machine - Fourth Fourth 7 mp3 Download release MP3 Fourth 1971-02-00 Columbia
27 Soft Machine - Rubber Riff Rubber Riff 14 mp3 Download release MP3 Rubber Riff 1994-11-00 Voiceprint
28 Soft Machine - At The Beginning At The Beginning 9 mp3 Download release MP3 At The Beginning 1980 Oxford
29 Soft Machine - Third Third 4 mp3 Download release MP3 Third 1970-06-00
30 Soft Machine - Volume Two Volume Two 17 mp3 Download release MP3 Volume Two 1990 One Way Records (6)
31 Soft Machine - Fifth Fifth 7 mp3 Download release MP3 Fifth 1972-06-00 Columbia
32 Soft Machine - Land Of Cockayne Land Of Cockayne 10 mp3 Download release MP3 Land Of Cockayne 1996 One Way Records (6)
33 Soft Machine - Seven Seven 12 mp3 Download release MP3 Seven 1973 CBS
34 Soft Machine - BBC Radio 1 Live In Concert BBC Radio 1 Live In Concert 3 mp3 Download release MP3 BBC Radio 1 Live In Concert 1993 Windsong International
35 Soft Machine - Grides Grides 18 mp3 Download release MP3 Grides 2006 Cuneiform Records
36 Soft Machine - Alive & Well - Recorded In Paris Alive & Well - Recorded In Paris 11 mp3 Download release MP3 Alive & Well - Recorded In Paris 1978
37 Soft Machine - Bundles Bundles 14 mp3 Download release MP3 Bundles 1975-03-00 Neon (RCA)
38 Soft Machine - Jet Propelled Jet Propelled 9 mp3 Download release MP3 Jet Propelled 1995 Spalax Music
39 Soft Machine - Six Six 15 mp3 Download release MP3 Six 1973 CBS
40 Soft Machine - Fourth Fourth 7 mp3 Download release MP3 Fourth 1971
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