On gold vinyl. The first two albums by England’s legendary Soft Machine, originally released in 1968 and 1969, remain among the most innovative and influential releases of that musically fertile era. These seminal LPs offered a visionary psychedelic-progressive-jazz-rock mix that helped to make the Soft Machine one of Britain’s first significant underground bands, as well as a key force in the birth of both progressive rock and jazz-rock.
A product of the same fabled Canterbury scene that spawned such beloved cult acts as Caravan and Hatfield and the North, the Soft Machine was the rare art-rock combo whose members possessed the instrumental skills to execute their ambitious musical ideas, as well as a playful sense of humor that balanced the band’s complex compositions and adventurous improvisations. By the time they began making albums, the Soft Machine was already a sensation in the budding U.K. rock underground, thanks to their now-legendary performances at such fabled London clubs as the UFO, the Speakeasy and Middle Earth, where they shared stages with the likes of Pink Floyd and Tomorrow.
The Soft Machine, co-produced by Chas Chandler and Tom Wilson, announced the band’s arrival on the international scene in fine style. With an unusual three-man lineup comprised of Kevin Ayers on bass and vocals, Robert Wyatt on drums and vocals, and Mike Ratledge on keyboards, the album was recorded in New York, while the band was touring North America with the Jimi Hendrix Experience. In contrast to the extended pieces that would later dominate the Soft Machine’s repertoire, the album focuses on shorter, more concise songs that nonetheless provide plenty of room for the musicians to demonstrate their varied abilities.
This landmark vinyl gem has been out of print for decades, but now it is back in this meticulously packaged Sundazed edition. Mastered from the original analog tapes and pressed on pristine high-definition vinyl, this lovingly restored vintage gem sounds as powerful and imaginative as ever.