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Edward Ka-Spel

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  • Years Active: 1980s, 1990s, 2000s


Biography All Music Guide

All Music Guide:

Edward Ka-Spel has built an international following with his dark, psychedelic-folk melodies and astute lyrics, first as the enigmatic and prolific founder/lead singer of London-cum-Netherlands-based band the Legendary Pink Dots and then as a solo recording artist and performer. Ka-Spel is widely regarded as a genius bordering on madness, which explains the frequent comparisons to Syd Barrett, the first singer of Pink Floyd. Since the Legendary Pink Dots' beginning in 1980, Ka-Spel has created an extensive personal mythology, like Current 93 or Psychic TV, and has created several ongoing narratives of love, chaos, destruction, and other darkly tinged topics in what might be a works-in-progress goth opera. Accordingly, he has taken on many pseudonyms such as the Prophet Qa'Sepel and D'Archangel, making his incredibly varied recording history even more difficult to map.

With dozens of albums to the Dots' credit, Ka-Spel could already be considered a songwriting powerhouse, but he has also recorded numerous solo albums, collaborated with cEVIN kEY of Skinny Puppy in a project called the Tear Garden, and made many guest appearances. Ka-Spel remembers the young kEY sending him fan letters and mix tapes of his music as a youngster, and through this mutual respect they have collaborated and toured together.

Ka-Spel has been quoted as saying, "I'll try anything as long as it's different," and this has led to monumental sonic successes (and failures) over the last 20 years. As with the Dots, Ka-spel's recordings are often of a limited number and only available through an extensive and devoted mail-order system at Solielmoon. He has also released numerous cassette-only and now CDR special recordings, usually including materials out-of-print on earlier labels along with new tracks. Each of the recordings feature Ka-Spel's trademark cigarette-drawl, slurred-Rs, and brooding mix of found-sounds, vintage keyboards, and appearances from various LPD members and extended family. Occasionally a label like Solielmoon will run a compilation of these rare tracks, and Down in the City of Heartbreak and Needles (I and II) feature the best tracks from Laugh China Doll, Dance China Doll, and Perhaps We'll Only See a Thin Blue Line, in addition to a few singles.