A.R. Kane

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A.R. Kane
AR Kane 1987.jpg
A.R. Kane perform in France, 1987. Rudy Tambala (left) and Alex Ayuli.
Background information
Origin East London, England
Genres Dream pop, experimental rock, alternative dance
Years active 1986–1994
Labels Rough Trade, 4AD, One Little Indian, Luaka Bop/Sire
Associated acts MARRS, Robin Guthrie, Sufi, Alex!
Past members Alex Ayuli
Rudy Tambala

A.R. Kane (sometimes styled A R Kane or A.R.Kane) were a British dream pop group active from 1986 to 1994, formed by Alex Ayuli and Rudy Tambala.


Ayuli is of Nigerian descent, while Tambala was born to a Malawian father and English mother. The two first met as schoolchildren in East London, becoming friends at the age of eight. Both were involved in formative music scenes as adolescents, with Ayuli part of a dub sound system and Tambala immersed in the local jazz-funk scene.[1]

Ayuli became an advertising copywriter, one of few black creatives working in the London ad business (1983–1990). He began his ad career at JWT before moving on to TBWA, where he was associated with the creation of two pan-European Lego TV commercials.


A.R. Kane promotional image, 1991

A.R. Kane began as a joke; when asked about how he and Ayuli knew each other at a party, Tambala quipped that the two played together in a band whose sound was "a bit Velvet Underground, a bit Cocteau Twins, a bit Miles Davis, a bit Joni Mitchell." A week later, the two were contacted to record a demo on the strength of Tamabala's fabrication.[2]

A.R. Kane released their debut single "When You're Sad" in 1986. This was followed by a one-off collaboration with Colourbox as MARRS on the "Pump Up the Volume" single, which became a surprise worldwide hit, and the Lollita EP in 1987. 1988 saw the group release a string of EPs and their debut album, 69. This was followed in 1989 by their second studio album, "i". Both albums were released to humble sales figures, though they received critical acclaim from the UK music press.

Rough Trade went bankrupt in 1991. In 1992, David Byrne's record label, Luaka Bop, released a 15-song US retrospective of the band's work, entitled Americana. After an early-1990s hiatus, follow-up album New Clear Child (1994) was released to mixed reviews. A.R. Kane's first two albums were reissued in the US by One Little Indian in 2004, and New Clear Child was reissued by 3rd Stone in 2000. Complete Singles Collection was released in 2012.


Since the dissolution of A.R. Kane, Tambala has made ambient- and dub-based music with his sister Maggie under the alias Sufi[3] and released the 1995 album Life's Rising on Caroline Records. Tambala is currently working for Ministry of Sound as Head of New Media, and has previously worked for Virgin Digital in non-musical roles. He currently records as MusicOne.[4]

Ayuli was known to be a museum curator in the US. He put out releases under the name Alex!.[5] In 2006, Ayuli contributed vocals on two tracks ("Soulsong" and "Passage") of the album "Primario" by the Mexican record label Static Discos artist Fax. He appeared on Fax's album Zig Zag.[6] Ayuli appears in Beautiful Noise, the documentary on the shoegazing music scene of the 1990s[7]

Sound and influence[edit]

Critic Jason Ankeny describes A.R. Kane as "arguably the most criminally under-recognized band of their era" and an important influence on such musical developments as shoegaze, trip hop, acid house and post-rock.[8]

Their music has been called dream pop, a term coined by the band themselves and widely adopted among music critics thereafter.[9] Simon Reynolds portrays the group's early work as "influenced by Miles Davis, Cocteau Twins, Can and dub [in which] fragile, haunting melodies drifted through a hallucinatory haze of fluorescent feedback and effects-addled guitar."[10] The Quietus's Neil Kulkarni refers to their sound as "sensual, spiritual, vaporous, liquid, unearthly, subterranean."[11]

Bands such as Long Fin Killie, Slowdive, Dubstar, the Veldt, Apollo Heights and Seefeel have cited A.R. Kane as an influence.



  • 69 CD/LP – 1988 – Rough Trade, Rough 119 (Reissued on One Little Indian, 2004)
  • "i" CD/LP – 1989 – Rough Trade, Rough 139 (Reissued on One Little Indian, 2004)
  • New Clear Child CD/LP – 1994 – Luaka Bop, (Reissued on 3rd Stone, 2000)

EPs, Singles[edit]

  • When You're Sad 12" – 1986, One Little Indian, 12 TP 2
  • Lollita 12" – 1987, 4AD, BAD 704
  • Up Home! 12" – 1988, Rough Trade, RTT 201
  • Listen Up! 12" – 1988, Rough Trade, 229
  • Love-Sick 12" – 1988, Rough Trade, 231
  • Pop CD/12" – 1989, Rough Trade, RT 239
  • rem"i"xes CD/12" – 1990, Rough Trade Deutschland, RTD 171 (Germany/ UK)
  • A Love From Outer Space CD/12" – 1992, Luaka Bop/ Sire


  • Americana CD/LP – 1992, Luaka Bop/ Sire
  • Complete Singles Collection 2xCD – 2012, One Little Indian


External links[edit]