A.R. Kane perform in France, 1987. Rudy Tambala (left) and Alex Ayuli.
|Origin||East London, England|
|Genres||Dream pop, experimental rock, alternative dance|
|Labels||Rough Trade, 4AD, One Little Indian, Luaka Bop/Sire|
|Associated acts||MARRS, Sufi, MusicOne, Alex!, Fax|
|Past members||Alex Ayuli
A.R. Kane (sometimes styled AR 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 an East London primary school. 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. Ayuli became an advertising copywriter, one of few black creatives working in the London ad business (1983–1990).
The formation of A.R. Kane began as a joke; when asked how he and Ayuli knew each other at a 1986 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.
In 1986, A.R. Kane released their debut single "When You're Sad" on One Little Indian, which earned them the nickname "the black Jesus and Mary Chain" (a group for whom the duo publicly expressed no affinity, instead citing artists such as Miles Davis and Cocteau Twins as inspirations). By the time of their one-off collaboration with Colourbox as MARRS on the "Pump Up the Volume" single (a surprise 1987 worldwide hit) and the release of the duo's Robin Guthrie-produced 1987 Lollita EP (4AD) to rave reviews from the British music press, A.R. Kane had become increasingly difficult to categorize, their work drawing on disparate styles and sonic experimentation. The group themselves eventually began referring to their sound as "dreampop," and the term was widely adopted by music critics thereafter.
The following year saw the group release a string of well-received EPs that built upon the experimentation of Lollita, as well as a debut album, 69 (Rough Trade), to positive acclaim. Melody Maker writer Simon Reynolds characterized their work during this period as an "oceanic rock [...] finding unprecedented connections between jazz, dub, and acid rock." This was followed in 1989 by their second studio album, "i", in which the duo began to engage more overtly with pop, dance and electronic styles. Both albums were released to solid sales figures, with 69 topping the independent charts in 1988. Following the release of "i", the band went on hiatus.
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, titled Americana. The duo ended their hiatus thereafter to record a follow-up album, New Clear Child (1994). The group dissolved following its release. 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, a compilation of the group's EPs and singles, 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 and released the 1995 album Life's Rising on Caroline Records. Tambala serves as head of new media for Ministry of Sound , and previously worked for Virgin Digital in non-musical 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 to two tracks ("Soulsong" and "Passage") on the album Primario by the Static Discos artist Fax, and also appeared on Fax's album Zig Zag. Ayuli appeared in Beautiful Noise, a documentary on the shoegazing music scene of the 1990s
Critic Jason Ankeny described A.R. Kane as "arguably the most criminally under-recognized band of their era" and an important progenitor of such musical developments as shoegaze, trip hop, acid house and post-rock. Bands such as Seefeel, Slowdive, Long Fin Killie, Dubstar, the Veldt and Apollo Heights have cited A.R. Kane as an influence.
- 69 CD/LP (1988, Rough Trade; reissued 2004, One Little Indian)
- "i" CD/LP (1989, Rough Trade; reissued 2004, One Little Indian)
- New Clear Child CD/LP (1994, Luaka Bop; reissued 2000, 3rd Stone)
Singles and EPs
- "When You're Sad" 12" single (1986, One Little Indian)
- Lollita 12" EP (1987, 4AD)
- "Baby Milk Snatcher" 7" single (1988, Rough Trade)
- Up Home! 12" EP (1988, Rough Trade)
- "Listen Up!" 12" single (1988, Rough Trade)
- Love-Sick 12"/7" single (1988, Rough Trade)
- "Pop" CD/12"/7" single (1989, Rough Trade)
- rem"i"xes CD/12" EP (1990, Rough Trade Deutschland)
- "Crack Up" 12" single (1990, Rough Trade France/Virgin)
- A Love From Outer Space CD/12" EP (1992, Luaka Bop/Sire)
- "Sea Like a Child" CD single (1994, 3rd Stone)
- Americana CD/LP (1992, Luaka Bop/Sire)
- Complete Singles Collection 2CD (2012, One Little Indian)
- 4AD - A.R. Kane
- 4AD: "The studio-based outfit comprised East London duo Alex Ayuli and Rudi Tambala, who described their music as "dreampop"." A.R. Kane short info
- Sufi's profile on MySpace
- MusicOne profile on MySpace
- Alex! profile on MySpace
- "The Fax Returns!" at Static Discos website. 26 March 2009.
- Beautiful Noise entry on imdb.com
- A.R. Kane biography at Allmusic.com
- Myspace site
- Whatever Happened To... A R Kane (from January 1999 issue of Q magazine)
- A.R. Kane entry on Discogs.com