Kevin Ayers, frontman for British prog rock act Soft Machine died earlier this week. He was 68. Via Exclaim:

Alongside Robert Wyatt, Dave Stewart and Peter Blegvad, among others, Ayers was a central force in the group of musicians known as the Canterbury Scene. In 1963, he teamed up with Wyatt to form the Wilde Flowers. Five years later, the two moved on to the Soft Machine.

Though they didn’t receive the wide commercial access that they may have deserved, Soft Machine were an integral force in shaping jazz-rock fusion. The group would go on to collaborate with the Police’s Andy Summer, Pink Floyd’s Syd Barrett, and Bob Dylan producers Tom Wilson and Chas Chandler.

Ayers also enjoyed a fruitful solo career, releasing upwards of 15 albums and collaborating with Mike Oldfield and others. In 2007, he released The Unfairground, his final release. The album featured appearances from members of Neutral Milk Hotel, Teenage Fanclub, Ladybug Transistor and others.

The exact cause of death is unknown, but Ayers had been suffering from ill health for some time.

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