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All Music Guide:
The North London group Komputer began its career in the late '90s as an electro-pop act modeled largely after Kraftwerk but changed its style considerably in subsequent years, moving toward a more original sound. Comprised of Simon Leonard and David Baker, Komputer actually began as a trio, also featuring Jane Brereton, and debuted on Mute Records in 1996 with a self-titled, four-song EP led by "Valentina Tereshkova," a future single for the group. A year later, in October 1997, Mute released The World of Tomorrow, Komputer's first full-length album. Seemingly a literal homage to Kraftwerk, characterized largely by analog synths and vocoderized singing, the album spawned three singles -- "Looking Down on London," "Valentina," and "Terminus" -- that Mute released individually with accompanying remixes over the course of 1997 and 1998. Following these singles, Komputer remained largely silent in subsequent years, not resurfacing until late 2002 as a streamlined duo with the release of the Market Led album, a considerable departure from the group's previous work. Influenced by the cutting-edge dance music of labels like Kompakt and Klang as well as the laptop-crafted techno of artists like Sutekh and Farben, Leonard and Baker began working with a portable studio comprised of simply a sampler and two black boxes. For their source material, the two collected abandoned vinyl found at the Spitalfields Market in East London. They then processed and altered their samples into the tracks ultimately compiled on Market Led, a somewhat experimental and wholeheartedly unique album of varied and relatively lengthy soundscapes.
Komputer is a London-based electronic band, composed of Simon Leonard and David Baker.Discogs, Komputer
Collaborating since 1982, Leonard and Baker were originally signed to Mute Records in 1984 under the name I Start Counting and continued with releases under the moniker Fortran 5 until the release of Komputer’s debut album, The World of Tomorrow in (1998).
Simon Leonard and David Baker originally met at Middlesex University where they DJed together and, in 1982 began to collaborate on an electronic pop project, I Start Counting. Both had an abiding affection for pop music as well as a deep love of music in general, although Leonard specialised more in technology and David's bias was on the musical side. I Start Counting released two albums, and, in 1987, supported Erasure on a European tour.
In 1990 the new material they were working on was sounding quite different from their electro pop roots and it was decided that a new name, Fortran 5, would give the new dance/techno style a completely fresh start. The duo also began to collaborate with a number of other artists including DJ Colin Faver, Thrash of The Orb, Rod Slater of the Bonzos and Neil Arthur of Blancmange. Remixes were provided by the likes of Vince Clarke, Moby, Joey Negro, David Holmes and Pascal Gabriel, while the duo supplied remixes for other artists including Erasure, Inspiral Carpets and Laibach.
David and Simon then reacted to the tedium of mid 90's indie guitar music by returning to their Kraftwerk inspired roots which again provoked a name change.The band takes samples from a variety of sources: from Russian cosmonauts to rubbish compactors and mobile phone ringtones.
Komputer's first releases, the 'Komputer EP' and the subsequent album 'The World Of Tomorrow'; were a respectful homage to the duo's German electronic heroes. Later material saw Komputer absorbing a much wider variety of influences and creating their own unique style of English electronic pop/folk music.
The duo never performed live as Fortran 5, but from the earliest days as Komputer, live shows were very important, leading to many performances all over Europe, most recently appearing at the Short Circuit presents Mute festival at London’s Roundhouse.
For Synthetik, the band’s third album, the music gradually evolved over a long period of time, tracks were tried out in live sets then discarded or reworked in the studio, maturing into a return to the more traditional electro sound of the first album, The World Of Tomorrow, with the incorporation of a more experimental and contemporary electronica approach.Discogs, I Start Counting Discogs, Fortran 5