Talk:Soft Machine

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I added the sentence "Fourth was the first of their afterwards instrumental albums." Not being a native english speaker, I am not sure if thats an acceptable wording, if not, maybe someone could fix it. Cheers, --BNutzer 17:19, 12 August 2006 (UTC)

Andy Summers[edit]

Andy Summers was a guitarist for this band for, if I remember, six months, (did not record) I believe it was in 1968, according to the famous Family Tree that was in the Echo Box set and elsewhere, and deserves a mention here as well as an add to the lovely band "box", which I, as of yet, have no idea how to edit. I've added a section on Soft Machine to the jazz fusion page. There are people here with tons of knowledge, obviously, and a very well done piece - my thanks. Any help would be appreciated. Tvccs 09:00, 16 September 2006 (UTC)

[1] Yep...there's at least one was 1968.

Added Summers mention in 1968 after verifying with multiple sources - would still be good to get him into the "box", and I'd still like to know how to make/edit those - thanks again Tvccs 09:23, 16 September 2006 (UTC)

Doh, I had never realized he had been with them ... thanks for expanding my concept of reality ;) I have added him to "the box" (glad you like it btw), which is Template:Soft Machine and can be edited just like any article.
To create a new one, open/save [[Template:Your new template]]
to add it in an article, use {{Your new template}}
For more info, see Wikipedia:Navigational templates, I made this one by copying and pasting from Template:ABBA by the way :) BNutzer 10:26, 16 September 2006 (UTC)
Thanks for the I know...finally. Tvccs 14:20, 26 September 2006 (UTC)


Nice picture you added there, Tvccs, thanks a lot! BNutzer 20:48, 17 September 2006 (UTC)

Album no. 5 is actually 'Fifth'[edit]

I may appear picky, but their album no. 5 is actually referred to as 'Fifth'. Any reason 'Five' is used in the article? Just wanted to check before changing it. --Robertonagel 10:35, 12 May 2007 (UTC)

Which image(s) to use in the article/infobox[edit]


I disagree completely with the replacement of the 1970 Image:Softmachine70-Promo4.jpg


by the 1967 Image:Softmachineart.jpg in the article's infobox, and I think Softmachineart.jpg, which only represents the psychedelic beginnings of the Softs, should only be used in the article, but not in the infobox. In my view, Softmachine70-Promo4.jpg, showing the 4 "classic quartet" members, is far more adequate for representing the band. Any other views on this, please? BNutzer 18:16, 8 July 2007 (UTC)

I agree, the whole psychedelic image was only part of Soft Machine at the very beginning of their career and would be misleading for a reader. Essentially, Soft Machine was a jazz fusion band. The band picture is much better.-h i s s p a c e r e s e a r c h 18:42, 8 July 2007 (UTC)
While I much prefer the freedom and risk taking of the early Soft Machine to the dead hand of Fusion, I do think that the Infobox impage should be a band picture and the Wyatt-Ratledge-Hopper-Dean line-up is appropriate for that. The poster image is a good historical artefact though - perhaps shift it into illustrating the Beginnings section? AllyD 18:53, 8 July 2007 (UTC)
I prefer fusion to psychedelia, although I like both. Ultimately though it's about what's the most appropriate for the article.-h i s s p a c e r e s e a r c h 10:48, 9 July 2007 (UTC)
I re-added Softmachine70-Promo4.jpg to the infobox and added the beautiful (isn't it) Softmachineart.jpg to the Beginnings section, and in my view, it fits there like a charm. Thanks for your input - I like both of the early Softs and their jazz fusion work, btw. Cheers, BNutzer 18:50, 9 July 2007 (UTC)

Anyone interested in improving this to GA?[edit]

It could, and should, be done.--h i s s p a c e r e s e a r c h 18:07, 31 October 2007 (UTC)

External Link Suggestion: Reprinted 1969 article about the Soft Machine[edit]

As an editor at Crawdaddy!, and to comply with COI guidelines, I am not posting the link to this re-printed 1969 Beat Instrumental piece about the Soft Machine. However, I would like to recommend it on its merits, and hope that an editor will find the time to examine the article and—if he or she sees fit—post it as an external link or use it as a reference on this page. I appreciate your time. Crawdaddy! [2]
Mike harkin (talk) 23:49, 4 December 2008 (UTC)

Hendrix 1968 American tour[edit]

I saw Soft Machine in Ottawa, Ontario in 1968 when they were the 'warm-up act' for Hendrix. Is there any reason why this tour is described as US tour, rather than North American? Grandma Roses (talk) 12:28, 3 January 2009 (UTC)

Feel free to change it! --A Knight Who Says Ni (talk) 13:58, 3 January 2009 (UTC)

British vs. American English?[edit]

The intro says Soft Machine were ..., the next section says Soft Machine was .... If I (not being a native English speaker) remember correctly, there is some kind of "rule" to use British English for British bands and American English for others (or is it for American ones?). I can't tell the difference, but I think it should be either singular or plural in the entire article, not a mix. Is anyone more knowledgeable about that "rule" and willing to fix the article? Otherwise, where can that "rule" be found? Regards, BNutzer (talk) 00:44, 29 April 2009 (UTC)

Right you are; the subject is covered on the page, collective noun. I can't find any Wikipedia editing guide that states this (MOS does have a page on British vs. Amercian spellings, but no mention of this issue). But it does state that the decision on whether to use American or British English can be determined by the article's topic, so Soft Machine should use British English, where "Soft Machine were..." is correct. --A Knight Who Says Ni (talk) 01:16, 29 April 2009 (UTC)
Thank you. I corrected the few "was" to "were". BNutzer (talk) 09:06, 29 April 2009 (UTC)

Dissent ?[edit]

Why is "Dissent" or "Controversy" allowed for some aspects of Wikipedia and not for others ?

Just to give you some qualifications - I'm a recording engineer - that preceded by a career as a used record buyer, indicating the very wide breadth of my musical experience. I love all forms of music, and many of my favorite albums are frequently called 'pretentious drivel meaning nothing'.

In fact, music listeners have heard that slam many times about favorite music.

But I have to say that of all the 60s-70s music, Soft Machine is the most overrated by far. It is called innovative, but in fact, it is easy to find the same thing done far better in the year preceding each album (Pink Floyd and Grateful Dead before the first two albums, and King Crimson and Charles Lloyd before the following albums).

What I think is going on, is that many heard Soft Machine as their first music that deviated from standard pop formulas. Only later did they hear any of the aforementioned influences, let alone real jazz like Miles Davis. So, the impression remains that Soft Machine was "innovative" - an impression that is only proved false by comparing recording and release dates.

Once the "innovative" tag is removed, one can find far better examples of every style of music they did - but don't take my word for that, read famed critic Robert Christgau on the subject:

Robert Christgau on Soft Machine

I have sympathy for the fondness that listeners have for music that opened their ears to new possibilities, but in this case, that fondness has overwhelmed any sort of objective evaluation.

As usual with Wikipedia, I have posted these criticisms to the Discussion page rather than the article, so as to avoid the "Ever-Vigilant Deleting Fanboys" (although in one case, they even deleted my comment from the Discussion page!). —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:16, 22 May 2011 (UTC)

      "Article talk pages should not be used by editors as platforms for their personal views on a subject" ... y'all can rightly delete all of this and it would be fair and right since as I understand it this is /not a forum/, but being a recording engineer /in no way qualifies you/ to make statements about your perceived quality of a band for goodness sake. Other than that useless one, I have the same "qualifications" as you do, except I've also spent much of my life playing, writing, and studying music - not that that's necessarily important either. If you're going to argue by release dates you'll have to explain why you're even likening the albums that you are. KC's releases sound very, very little like anything Soft Machine was doing at the same time. What, contemporary KC had the (very) occasional odd time signature??? That's been around for over half a century by that time. The fantasy elements in most prog is completely absent in the Soft Machine, as are the symphonic textures and timbres associated with guitar, mellotron, and synthesizer, which makes up at /least/ half of what most people consider "prog". Same goes for the Dead and for our beloved Miles, who on one hand you could say started it all two years earlier with In A Silent Way (but with little to no odd time, in fact minimal composition in general. Charles Mingus might be a more apt comparison), but if you actually pay attention to the works of both artists they're not the same stuff at all. Miles' fusion seems to have been first, but when you compare it to the body of jazz fusion as a whole it's only as much fusion as was "Freak Out" prog, and that came out in '66 and aside from the contemporary pop influence, drew heavily from Varese and Stravinsky, who were themselves both hugely important but also not the first word on anything we can put our fingers on. I would also like to point out it's none of wikipedia's business whether art is "good" or not. Strange indeed that you're all the way over here bending wikipedia talk page guidelines to talk about how overrated you think it is compared to /all other music of the sixties and seventies/. 2601:4C2:4001:BA50:394D:A848:9CAE:ADF3 (talk) 17:33, 17 September 2015 (UTC)

Other Soft bands[edit]

There is a chapter of Soft bands from 1990's and 2000's featuring Hugh Hopper, Elton Dean and John Marshall with other musicians. There have been few other bands featuring Hugh Hopper and Elton Dean with quite clear legacy of Soft Machine. At least the bass-sax-keys-drums quartets Hopper-Dean-Tippett-Gallivan, Hopper-Dean-Gowen-Sheen (aka. Soft Head) and Hopper-Dean-Knight-Clarke and bands Soft Heap (Hopper-Dean-Gowen-Pyle), Soft Bounds (Hopper-Dean-Domancich-Goubert) and Soft Mountain (Hopper-Dean-Kamiyama-Tatsuya) have made records. Should these band are mentioned also in "Alternative bands" chapter? (talk) 20:55, 1 May 2016 (UTC)

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I would like to see a detailed discussion of what made Soft Machine a jazz band. I would like to see that argument defended with many reliable jazz sources. It's not enough for me that they played an odd kind of music that maybe later could have been called a precursor to jazz fusion, as this still leaves them on the fringes of jazz: jazz-influenced, perhaps, which so many people claim, often with financial motives, but jazz-influenced is different from jazz. I would like to hear what Andy Summers thinks because he played in Soft Machine. It has occurred to me, moreover, that after jazz is exported it changes shape. It often takes on unusual, hybrid forms in England, Norway, Germany, Japan, France, Italy, Canada, and the continent of Africa. This is probably to be expected, and not a criticism, but the question remains whether the transmuted export can still be called jazz.
Vmavanti (talk) 01:57, 31 May 2018 (UTC)

In his memoir One Train Later, Andy Summers writes on p.113 that Robert Wyatt invited him to join Soft Machine. On p. 115 he writes, "In its best moments the music of Soft Machine at this time is a swirling rush of dense, washy keyboards, repeated vocal lines, and drum patterns that fall outside any traditional song formats. In the vernacular of the moment, it would be called 'trippy'". He writes that Wyatt is a jazz fan, and the more Summers plays "in that direction", the more Wyatt likes it. But Kevin Ayers, the bassist, can't keep up and is jealous of Summers. In his first concert with Soft Machine, the band plays a song called "We Did It Again" which 'consists of repeating the chant 'we did it again' to the rhythm of 'You Really Got Me' on two chords for thirty to forty-five minutes' duration." (117) Summers calls the band's music avant-garde rock (119). I realize this is one period in the band's career, but there's nothing here that would lead me to call it a jazz band. Forty-five minutes of mindless repetition doesn't strike me as all that "avant" either.
Vmavanti (talk) 18:19, 1 June 2018 (UTC)

Very nice of Andy to come along just when you wanted to hear from him. Are you proposing a change to something in the article? Thanks. Martinevans123 (talk) 18:29, 1 June 2018 (UTC)
No. I wish could I ask Andy Summers whether he considers Soft Machine a jazz band, because he was part of it, because he listened to jazz records when he was growing up, and because he recorded several albums that can begitimately be labeled jazz or jazz fusion or both. Given his education and experience, he could give an intelligent, informed answer. When The Police were given a Prog award, he was grateful but embarrassed. "We were never really prog...", he said. I understand why Soft Machine is called a jazz band, and it makes sense. I understand how in the decade of the 1960s dropping acid, psychedelic rock, and free jazz were created and overlapped. As a kid I learned about progressive rock from Yes and their long form compositions influenced by classical music. I never considered Yes a jazz, jazz rock, or jazz fusion band. Their songs had long periods of improvisation, but improvisation alone doesn't mean jazz. Drugs probably had something do with it, too. When I was growing up, most pop and rock songs on the radio had a brief electric guitar solo that was probably improvised, but no one ever called that jazz.
Vmavanti (talk) 18:34, 26 August 2018 (UTC)

The news[edit]

Some readers may wonder why I deleted certain sections of this article. Wikipedia isn't a newspaper and it isn't Facebook. It isn't television. It isn't the place to go for the latest thing. It isn't the place to read about gossip or celebrity scandal. It's an encyclopedia, which means a boring reliance on facts. Facebook cannot be used as a source for Wikipedia. No site that has user-generated content can be a reliable source for Wikipedia, and this includes Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, iTunes,, Musicbrainz, RateYourMusic, Soundcloud, blogs, forums, retail sites, and any site whose purpose is to sell rather than to record facts. Even if the sources are appropriate, Wikipedia isn't the place to post "A new album is coming next month" or "the band said they plan to record a new album" or "the band might go on tour next year". It is not a travel log, a tour book, or a diary. One doesn't "post" to Wikipedia the way one posts to Facebook or a forum or a chat room. One can write or edit Wikipedia, provided one knows the rules.
Vmavanti (talk) 18:21, 26 August 2018 (UTC)