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Slapp Happy & Henry Cow

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Biography All Music Guide

Group Members: Dagmar Krause, Anthony Moore, Peter Blegvad and John Greaves, Peter Blegvad

All Music Guide:

Avant-pop cult favorites Slapp Happy formed in Hamburg, Germany in 1972; there vocalist Dagmar Krause, a veteran of the folk group the City Preachers, first met British experimental composer Anthony Moore, who had previously issued a pair of solo LPs, Pieces from the Cloudland Ballroom and Secrets of the Blue Bag, on Polydor. When the label rejected a third Moore record, he instead proposed a pop project, recruiting Krause and New York-born guitarist Peter Blegvad to form Slapp Happy; recorded with input from members of the famed Krautrock band Faust, the trio issued their debut album Sort of... in 1972, its commercial prospects severely limited as a result of the band's refusal to perform live. Still, Polydor assented to a follow-up, with Slapp Happy soon convening to record Casablanca Moon; the label rejected the album, however, and upon landing at Virgin, the trio re-recorded the disc in its entirety, releasing it as a self-titled effort in 1974. Slapp Happy next banded together with the like-minded art-rock outfit Henry Cow to record a pair of collaborative LPs, Desperate Straights and In Praise of Learning; creative tensions then forced Moore and Blegvad to exit the project, although Krause continued singing with Henry Cow though their 1980 dissolution. In the meantime, both Moore and Blegvad pursued solo careers, although in 1982 they reunited with Krause to record a new Slapp Happy single, "Everybody's Slimmin'," followed by their first-ever live appearance at London's ICA. All three again collaborated in 1991 on Camera, a television opera commissioned by the BBC and broadcast two years later; a new Slapp Happy studio album, Ça Va, followed in 1998. Camera was issued two years later.