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spiderhammer 11-25-2012 10:23 AM

Soft Machine Discussion Thread.
I'm not sure if this should go into this section of the form (please feel free to move if not).

I've been talking to a few members on here via other threads and thought it might be worth giving a dedicated thread to this band. I'm new to Soft Machine and would like to discuss a little further with fans.

So far, I've played the first two albums and hope to work my way through the rest. Anyone have any advise on side projects. MB member 'tore' has said about Allan Holdsworth also has Canterbury connections through the bands Gong and Bruford.

Anyone seen them live?

tore 11-25-2012 11:30 AM

There actually is a Soft Machine thread from before (link)! Perhaps this thread could be merged with the old?

If a bit of band history interests you, the story about the Canterbury Scene and also Soft Machine started around Canterbury in Kent in England in the early 1960s. The Wyatt family who had a young boy, Robert Wyatt, got a lodger from Australia in need of a place to stay. This traveller was the famous psychedelic rocker Daevid Allen and he brought poetry and music into young Robert's life. So inspired was Robert and his friends Hugh Hopper and Mike Ratledge that they got a sort of band together and played at some pubs. Daevid Allen would read aloud his poetry to the backing music of the boys. But it didn't take long until Daevid Allen moved to Paris where he met all sorts of interesting fellas. Ratledge went off to study classical music at the university. The Daevid Allen Trio, as it was called, was no more.

Instead, Robert Wyatt and Hugh Hopper and more friends got together and started a new band called The Wilde Flowers. This group featured a wealth of the musicians that would eventually branch out into the various Canterbury groups. Besides Robert and Hugh, some of the musicians that played in the band during its short lifetime included Richard Coughlan, Richard Sinclair, Dave Sinclair, Brian Hopper, Graham Flight, Pye Hastings and Kevin Ayers.

But in Paris, Daevid Allen supposedly had a mystical experience in which he saw the future of his life mapped out in front of him. He could see that he was supposed to play in a band. At around that same time, Kevin Ayers had got some millionaire to fund a band project. Somehow, Ayers and Daevid got together in Kent in August 1966 and decided to start Soft Machine with that funding, snatching Robert Wyatt from The Wilde Flowers and Mike Ratledge who now had time away from his studies.

So that's how Soft Machine got started, but there's more to this story.

Most of the remaining Wilde Flowers, cousins Richard and Dave Sinclair, Richard Coughlan and Pye Hastings, decided to start the band Caravan which is perhaps the most famous Canterbury band. Soft Machine eventually went to play in France, but when returning to England, Daevid Allen was stopped at the border. Perhaps something was wrong with his passport? Anyways, he couldn't come back to England and so he stayed in France where he soon started the band Gong.

So that's how the 3 great core bands of the Canterbury scene got started, Soft Machine, Caravan and Gong.

I love this kind of info so I automatically assume it is interesting. Hope I didn't bore anyone ;)

spiderhammer 11-26-2012 01:26 PM

Crap, if the mods could please move this into one thread, that would be fantastic.

Thankyou for the story. I've read it a few times to get the names, places and bands involved. Nice to see that some things never change and they where like this all those years ago, band member sharing seems to be something that is unavoidable and always has been.

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