Sheath Reviewed on Igloomag
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Mark Bell Interview In Thursday's Daily Telegraph.
"Bjork producer Mark Bell has made a CD of stunning beauty."
Review By Joe Muggs:
Mark Bell is a bona fide rave legend. The first music he made had a huge impact on the sound of the 1990s, and he has gone on to be a producer of some of the most influential names in music. But perhaps his finest achievement came when, in an epoch-defining moment, veteran DJ Steve Wright declared that he had made "the worst record ever".
"Me and me mate Gez had been messing around with drum machines since we were 13, making tapes to play at school," recalls the shortish, unpretentious Yorkshireman. "This local DJ Martin would play our cassettes in his sets and people would go mental - in a good way - because the music was totally raw."
In 1990, the owners of the fledgling Sheffield techno label Warp Records snapped up Bell and his partner's track LFO to be one of its first releases. It was a hugely influential tune, mixing the machine funk of Detroit techno with the northern electronics of Cabaret Voltaire and, crucially, a simple but gigantic speaker-shattering bassline. LFO, which the duo also took as their name, could be heard in raves from Penzance to Aberdeen, and it crashed the Top 15, causing Wright to make his bitter pronouncement.
An album, Frequencies, followed in '91, but, rather than capitalise on their success, the pair went home and took it easy. Five years separated Frequencies and their second album, Advance. Gez left shortly afterwards, and Mark waited seven years before releasing the recent stunning LFO album, Sheath.
"People always say, 'Where have you been?', or talk about our influence, and that makes us seem like the old guard, but it doesn't feel like that," says Bell. "I don't know where all the time goes. I'm doing the same thing whether I've got an album out or not. Making tunes at home is what I do, that's what I love, not the promoting."
Bell has also been spending time in the studio defining the sounds of Bjork and his childhood heroes Depeche Mode.
"It's been crazy," he says, "coming from my little bedroom studio to these incredible expensive recording places. With Depeche Mode, I'd just end up hiring a little mixing desk and setting up near where the band were playing, so I could communicate direct with them.
"With Bjork, we'll use laptops, so I can work on a track, send out a CD to wherever she is, and she can just do her thing on it then send it back."
Bell has taken classical influences from Bjork (Unafraid to Linger on Sheath shimmers with weightless Debussy melodies), and a rock feel from Depeche Mode. But the synths on the album sing as they have done on every LFO release, and this has ensured that it has been embraced by old-school electronicists and fashionable electroclash disco punks alike.
Bell is still the eager clubber he was at 16, and his music is still making people go mental - in a good way - all around the world."
The new LFO website built by Hi-Res! is up now.
LFO "SHEATH" SITE
To view Danny Brown's web toy you will need SHOCKWAVE
To view the Freak Video you will need QUICKTIME
HI RES SITE