Biography All Music Guide
Group Members: Martyn Bates
All Music Guide:
Specializing in alternative pop/rock, post-punk, and art rock, the experimental British duo Eyeless in Gaza have enjoyed an enthusiastic cult following since the early 1980s. The music of Eyeless in Gaza has tended to be moody, quirky and atmospheric, drawing on influences that have ranged from Brian Eno, Pink Floyd and Pere Ubu to Roxy Music, David Bowie (especially Bowie's Low/ Heroes/Lodger period of the late 1970s) and the seminal Kraftwerk. Eyeless in Gaza experimented with electronics from the beginning, and they clearly admired Eno's breakthroughs in the ambient electronic realm.
Eyeless in Gaza got started in Nuneaton, Warwickshire, England in 1980, when lead singer Martyn Bates joined forces with fellow multi-instrumentalist Peter Becker; they named their group after British author Aldous Huxley's 1936 novel, which Bates was reading when he met Becker. Both of them have embraced a variety of instruments in Eyeless in Gaza; Bates has played keyboards, organ, guitar and drums (among other instruments), while Becker has contributed guitar (both electric and acoustic), bass, drums, percussion and melodica (in addition to helping with the vocals). Eyeless in Gaza's first mini-album was their 1980 EP Kodak Ghosts Run Amok, which was followed by their Invisibility EP in 1981 and their full-length albums of 1981 Photographs as Memories and Caught in Flux. Eyeless in Gaza recorded frequently in the 1980s, providing full-length albums that included Pale Hands I Loved So Well and Drumming the Beating Heart in 1982, Rust Red September in 1983, and Back from the Rains in 1986. But the duo went on hiatus in 1987, when Bates opted to pursue some solo projects. The two of them were reunited briefly in 1990 when they worked with poet Anne Clark on her album The Law Is an Anagram of Wealth, but many of Eyeless in Gaza's followers were wondering if Bates and Becker would ever record together again as Eyeless in Gaza. In 1993, however, Bates and Becker were officially reunited as Eyeless in Gaza after a seven-year hiatus--and the duo's recording career was resumed with 1993's Fabulous Library (which started out as a Becker solo project but became a full-fledged Eyeless in Gaza album when Bates came on board). By that time, music that was loosely defined as alternative rock or alternative pop/rock had become rock's dominant direction thanks to the major commercial success of Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, and others. Instead of being described as music for the select few like it had been in the 1980s, alternative had become downright mainstream--and the return of Eyeless in Gaza was quite appropriate considering that Bates and Becker were embracing alternative long before it was in vogue. After Fabulous Library, Eyeless in Gaza continued to build their catalog with Saw You in Reminding Pictures in 1994, Bitter Apples in 1995, All Under the Leaves, the Leaves of Life in 1996, Song of the Beautiful Wanton in 2000, Home Produce: Country Bizarre in 2003, and Summer Salt/Subway Sun in 2007/2008.