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R.I.P. Kevin Ayers, founding member of Soft Machine

Kevin Ayers, best known as a founding member of Soft Machine, has died. He was 68. No official cause of death has been announced.

Ayers is widely regarded as one of the pioneers of psychedelic music, both for his work with Soft Machine and as a solo artist. Before Ayers left the group in 1968, Soft Machine played frequently with the Syd Barrett-era Pink Floyd, recorded a well-regarded self-titled album, and toured with The Jimi Hendrix Experience.


After leaving Soft Machine, Ayers' career expanded even more wildly. He released over a dozen solo records between 1969 and 2007, including his excellent debut, Joy Of A Toy, which was released on the newly launched Harvest Records alongside many Pink Floyd albums. His last full-length was 2007’s The Unfairground.

Throughout his career, Ayers collaborated with a number of respected artists like Brian Eno, John Cale, Mike Oldfield, Elton John, Nico, Syd Barrett, and, in more recent years, members of bands like Neutral Milk Hotel and Ladybug Transistor that carried on the psychedelic sound he'd helped to create.

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