AKA Michael R. Ratledge
Birthplace: Maidstone, Kent, England
Race or Ethnicity: White
Executive summary: Soft Machine keyboardist
Mike Ratledge began to develop his musical skills as a child, learning the piano and studying musical theory. His interest at the time was exclusively in the classical tradition, but by 1961 he had become yet another young, upstanding Brit lad lured down the evil path of jazz by Australian expatriate/cosmic gnome Daevid Allen; inevitably, this led to an association with fellow Allen victims Robert Wyatt and Hugh Hopper, with whom he would regularly indulge in his shameful jazz proclivities.
Rather than succumbing outright to his unnatural jazz urges as did his compatriots, Ratledge initially took the path of higher education -- continuing his classical studies and earning certification in psychology and philosophy. All to no avail: momentarily idle in his academic pursuits, he was lured into the ranks of the band Soft Machine by Allen, Wyatt and singer Kevin Ayers. He would remain in the band for the next 10 years, long after the other three founding members had left, while the band drifted gradually from imaginative sonic exploration into straightforward, run-of-the-mill jazz noodling. After finally turning in his own resignation, Ratledge largely dropped out the music scene.
A brief return to music took place late in the 80s, when Ratledge began collaborating with sometime Soft Machine cohort Karl Jenkins on compositions for the advertsing field. A joint record under the name Adiemus surfaced in 1995, but further musical activity from the keyboardist has yet to materialize.
University: Psychology and Philosophy, University College, Oxford University
Soft Machine Keyboardist (1966-76)
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