Luckily, we had the newly released Frank Tovey retrospective to help us along. A definite whiz-kis and electronic music pioneer, Tovey made a name for himself as “Fad Gadget” during the late-1970s and early-1980s. Even after all this time, Tovey’s innovative, ominous sound’s a perfect addition to The Totally Frightful Issue
Though some of his tracks garnered more attention than others – for example, the single “Collapsing New People” still gets play in the more aurally aware bars and clubs – much of Tovey’s best work remains unknown. (We’re particularly fond of “State of The Nation,” for what it’s worth…)
Born in London in 1956, Tovey loved the experimental sound of David Bowie, Kraftwerk, Lou Reed, and Iggy Pop: influences he took with him to St. Martin’s School of Art in 1974. It was there that Tovey’s love of music merged with a desire to take his art to a more performative level. A mere four years later, Tovey became the first artist to sign to Mute Records.
Unfortunately, Tovey’s heart gave out on him in 2002, just one week after a concert in Sweden.
Now, Mute’s put out the two-disc, two-DVD collection celebrating Frank Tovey’s radically foreboding tracks. Get a taste for Tovey’s work with this 1981 performance of “For Whom the Bell Tolls.”