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Rudy Tambala and Alex Ayuli
|Origin||East London, England|
|Genres||Dream pop, alternative rock, alternative dance, experimental rock, trip hop|
One Little Indian
|Associated acts||MARRS, In Rain, Sufi, Alex!, MusicOne|
|Past members||Alex Ayuli
A.R. Kane (or A R Kane or A.R.Kane) were a British dream pop duo consisting of Alex Ayuli and Rudy Tambala that formed in 1986. Their name was partially derived from their first names, the "A" in Alex and the "R" in Rudy. The duo hailed from East London. Ayuli and Tambala were also part of the one-off recording collective MARRS, which included the group Colourbox, in 1987. Their song "Pump Up the Volume" became a surprise worldwide number one chart hit.
Critic Jason Ankeny describes A.R. Kane as "arguably the most criminally under-recognized band of their era," suggesting that the duo's innovative music was a seminal influence on later developments such as dream pop, trip hop, acid house, and post-rock. Their lyrics which frequently dealt with such topics as water/oceans, love, colours, childhood, and dreams were often surrealist. Their music was usually danceable, due in part to its strong dub influence, and ethereal.
Alex was formerly an advertising copywriter, one of the very few black creatives working in the London ad business (1983–1990). He started his ad career at JWT before moving on to TBWA where he was associated with the creation of two pan-European Lego TV commercials. The director of one of these commercials, Matt Forrest, invited Alex and his art director team mate to write a music video for Stephen "Tin Tin" Duffy's track "Unkiss that Kiss". The music video was filmed inside and outside the historic L'Escargot restaurant in London's Soho.
A.R. Kane began by releasing two 12" singles, each on a trend-setting UK indie label (One Little Indian and 4AD). The duo then released a string of singles and two ground-breaking albums on Rough Trade Records – 1988's sixty-nine and 1989's "i". Critics found both albums difficult to define, genre-wise. sixty-nine was more consciously rock-based, and its sound could be likened to the nascent shoegaze movement; "i" was more slick/poppy, covering a wide variety of styles over twenty-six tracks (ten of which were short noise interludes). "i" also spawned what is arguably A.R. Kane's best-known song, "A Love From Outer Space". Both albums achieved wide critical acclaim, particularly in UK magazine Melody Maker, where they were championed especially by critic Simon Reynolds. The 6-track rem"i"xes EP featured remixes of songs from the "i" LP, done by Robin Guthrie of Cocteau Twins and by A R Kane themselves.
Rough Trade went bankrupt in 1991, hindering the band's momentum and leaving them label-less. 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 not received as well due to a seeming lack of a coherent direction and a feeling that the ideas were merely re-hashes of works that were completed more succinctly in the earlier two albums.
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.
Post-breakup and influences
Since the dissolution of A.R. Kane, Tambala made ambient- and dub-based music with his sister Maggie under the alias Sufi 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 related roles. He currently records as MusicOne.
Ayuli was known to be a museum curator in the US He put out releases under the name Alex!. 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 will also appear on Fax's forthcoming album, Zig Zag. Ayuli appears in Beautiful Noise, the documentary on the shoegazing music scene of the 1990s
- sixty-nine 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)
- 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
- Myspace site
- Allmusic entry
- Trouser Press entry
- Whatever Happened To... A R Kane (from January 1999 issue of Q magazine)
- A.R. Kane fansite
- A.R. Kane entry on Discogs.com