In 1978, saxophonist Elton Dean and bassist Hugh Hopper got together with Canterbury scene buddies keyboardist Alan Gowen and drummer Pip Pyle to perform and record under a band moniker that quite justifiably referenced Soft Machine, the group that had brought Dean and Hopper the highest level of attention in their musical careers. The new group was named Soft Heap, and the music the quartet produced was a unique and noteworthy style of electric jazz fitting within neither the psychedelic pop nor the jazz-rock template of the ever-changing Soft Machine. Soft Heap recorded an eponymous studio album that year, released on the Charly label in 1979 (and getting the remastering treatment on a 2009 Esoteric CD reissue). And, in a sense, the group actually premiered on disc with 1978's live album Rogue Element, although the quartet used the moniker Soft Head on that release, since drummer Dave Sheen stood in for the unavailable Pyle on the recording (made during a French tour). Hugh, Elton, Alan, and Pip were the "HEAP"; Hugh, Elton, Alan, and Dave were the "HEAD."