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Essential Logic

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  • Years Active: 1970s, 1980s, 2000s


Biography All Music Guide

All Music Guide:

Susan Whitby was 15 years old and had been playing saxophone for a little more than six months when she joined her friend Marion Elliot (aka Poly Styrene) and formed the great English punk band X-Ray Spex. At this juncture, Whitby renamed herself Lora Logic and brought her honking and squawking to X-Ray Spex's guitar-propelled punk rock, staying in the band long enough to record the seminal feminist-punk single "Oh Bondage, Up Yours!" Prior to the recording of their debut album, Logic abruptly left the band to follow her own quirky songwriting muse and formed the wonderfully named Essential Logic. Eschewing fast and loud guitars for off-kilter rhythms, "bluesy" sax playing, and forays into dissonance and atonality, Essential Logic created some of the most liberating, exciting music of the early post-punk era. Along with her primitive, exhilarating sax playing, Logic displayed a wildly imaginative vocal style that conflated the subtle eroticism of Patti Smith with the epiglottal spasms of Yoko Ono. Singing, braying, and screeching her implicitly (at times explicitly) feminist lyrics while her backing band crashed and bashed in the background, this was almost a punk version of that most despised of genres, art rock. And while the subjects of most of her songs were serious (alienation, sexism, poverty, urban isolation), there was a bratty tongue-wagging raffishness to Logic (and band) that placed them a cut above the rest. After one album as Essential Logic, Lora Logic disbanded the group to go solo. After one great solo record, Logic left music to join a London-based Hare Krishna sect with old pal Poly Styrene. Recently, Styrene issued some music in England, and it was rumored that Logic played sax on the recording. But regardless of her current activities, Lora Logic's short recording career will always be marked by its intelligence, creativity, and fun.

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