They started experimenting with sound in the mid-80s, calling themselves Plaid, and by 1988 had joined forces with Ken Downie and recorded as a trio under the pseudonym Black Dog. The fruits of this collaboration appeared on Artificial Intelligence, a compilation of work by various artists released on Warp. They went on to work as Black Dog for some years to come, while also continuing to record as Plaid.
Tagged with the label ‘intelligent techno’, Handley and Turner quickly began to receive critical acclaim in their own right, for their intricate and melodic electronica. Together with Black Dog, Aphex Twin and Autechre, they headed up the first wave of British techno artists.
Plaid have since collaborated with vocalists including Björk, Mara Carlyle and Nicolette and have undertaken extensive remix work for many artists, including Red Snapper, Goldfrapp and again, Björk.
She sang on the track Lilith from Plaid’s 1997 album Not for Threes, and they remixed many of her songs, including Cover Me and the single Big Time Sensuality. They toured together during the late 90s, with the pair becoming an integrated part of her live band.
Over the past three years Plaid have been crafting their latest album Scintili, taking a minimal approach to composition and concentrating on new depths of sound and space learned from an extensive touring schedule.
In the first of a two-part interview, M finds out about their early work with Björk, which took them from bedroom techno-heads to world renowned electronic pioneers. Tomorrow, we will be finding out more about Plaid’s new album Scintilli and hearing about the first wave of British electronica.