Soft Machine was formed in 1966 by Robert Wyatt, Mike Ratledge, Kevin Ayers and Daevid Allen. Wyatt had already worked with Allen in the Daevid Allen Trio (which Ratledge occasionally jammed with) in 1963, and with Ayers in the Wilde Flowers in 1964. Although the band had its roots in Canterbury, it soon became a London- based band.
In January 1967, the band's one and only single ever was recorded : it had two songs on it, Loves Make Sweet Music and Feelin', Reelin', Squeelin'. Three months later, a collections of demos was recorded at DeLane Lea Studios with producer Giorgio Gomelsky, but not officially released until 1971 (on two compilations on the French Byg label). At that time, Soft Machine had already become something of a 'cult' band on the London psychedelic scene, gigging at places like the Roundhouse or the UFO. On April 29th, 1967, they took part in an event set up by the underground paper 'International Times', which also featured the Pink Floyd, and was given the name, '14 Hour Technicolor Dream'.
During the summer, the band was involved in an avant-garde theatre project in St.Tropez, on the French Riviera, and it was on the way back that Daevid Allen was refused re-entry to England. So he stayed in France, moving on to various projects before forming Gong two years later, while Wyatt, Ratledge and Ayers decided to carry on 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 in New York in four days in April, with production handled by Tom Wilson and Chas Chandler, former Animals bassist and Hendrix's producer. Although quickly made (most tracks are first takes) and not particularly well-recorded, The Soft Machine is now considered a classic of the extraordinarily creative post-psychedelic, pre-progressive, period of the late 60's... and quite rightly so!