Soft Machine was a pioneering psychedelic, progressive rock and jazz band from Canterbury, United Kingdom, named after the book The Soft Machine by William S. Burroughs. They were one of the central bands in the Canterbury Scene.
The band originally consisted of Robert Wyatt, Kevin Ayers, Daevid Allen and Mike Ratledge, most of whom were former members of The Wilde Flowers in 1966. Later members have included Hugh Hopper, Roy Babbington, Elton Dean, John Etheridge, Karl Jenkins, John Marshall, and Allan Holdsworth.
Soft Machine continued on in name, even after all the original founder members moved on; Mike Ratledge was the last to depart in 1976. Numerous offshoots and side projects have included "Soft" in their names: Soft Heap, Soft Head, Soft Works, and the band Matching Mole, a play on words for the French of Soft Machine ('machine molle'). As of 2005, Soft Machine Legacy is a working concern.