Editors’ Notes Soft Machine’s self-titled 1968 debut (a.k.a. Volume One) stands as a seminal work in the prog-rock canon. Recorded as song demos over a few days’ time in a New York studio, the album catches the group in its fledging stages, not long after it emerged from Britain’s now-legendary Canterbury Scene. Drummer Robert Wyatt and keyboardist Mike Ratledge command the spotlight with their fiery interplay, aided by Kevin Ayers’ dexterous bass work and Daevid Allen’s probing guitar lines. The songs here are wildly eclectic, juxtaposing R&B/pop tunes (“Save Yourself”) with psychedelic effusions (“Lullaby Letter”) and goofy novelty numbers (“We Did It Again"). The dreamily complex “Hope for Happiness” and the mystically inclined “Why Are We Sleeping?” find Soft Machine melding jazz and rock influences with striking originality. Wyatt’s high, delicate vocals (particularly on “A Certain Kind”) lend a soulful quality to even the band’s more abstract moments. For sheer audacity and verve, this may be Soft Machine's finest hour.