|“It is very rare to come across an artist who is in possession of his own singular sound. Mark Spybey and his Dead Voices On Air project have produced some of the most consistently interesting music that I've ever heard. Veering anywhere from dark ambient sound-scapes to atonal rhythmic washes”.|
“Mark Spybey is a genius, if a maddening one”
Real Detroit Weekly
“Spybey’s manipulation of sound is inspired.”
Mike Barnes, Wire
Spybey started his career in the North-East of England with Zoviet France in the late eighties before moving to Vancouver. It was here that Dead Voices On Air were formed. Spybey also worked under the name Propeller and was an original member of Download, who included members of Skinny Puppy. Spybey was the voice of perhaps their most successful release, “The Eyes of Stanley Pain,” in 1996. After leaving Download he started a series of collaborations, appearing on over 50 albums in a five-year period. He was part of CAN guitarist Michael Karoli’s band Sofortkontakt! and appeared at all of the Can 30th anniversary shows in 1999. Spybey was a close friend of Michael Karoli prior to his death in 2001 and had toured with him as part of legendary CAN vocalist Damo Suzuki’s Network in 1998 in North America, appearing in the German TV film by Peter Braatz, “On the Air.”
Spybey has recorded and played live with numerous collaborators including Faust, Michael Rother (Neu!) and Dieter Moebius (Cluster), members of The Legendary Pink Dots, Mick Harris (Scorn, Painkiller, Napalm Death), Jarboe (Swans), Simon Fisher-Turner, Richard Sanderson, James Plotkin (Flux, Old, Scorn), Robert Hampson (Loop/Main), Jochen Arbeit (Einzturzende Neubaten), Darryl Neudorf and Sugarpill (Abintra), Not Breathing, Pigface, Martin Atkins, Spasm, and Genesis P Orridge. He has worked with a number of record companies, including Kranky, Nettwerk, Invisible, Soleilmoon, Lens and Tourette Records.
Spybey formed the band Beehatch with Phil Western of Download, who released two albums for Lens Records in 2008 and toured Europe. In 2004 he formed Reformed Faction, a duo with founding member of Zoviet France and Rapoon Robin Storey. The band have released four albums, including “I Am the Source of Light, I Am not a Mirror,” a triple cd for Soleilmoon Records and have played live in both Europe and North America. Over the past year Spybey joined with his ex-colleagues from Download, cEvin Key and Phil Western for a series of concerts in the USA and Canada in 2010/11.
It is his work as Dead Voices on Air that perhaps most accurately defines the essence of his sound and the techniques that he has developed in a career spanning more than two decades. In the mid nineties, he released five Dead Voices on Air albums in a three-year period, whilst also recording the first two Download albums, two Propeller records and a dozen collaborations with other artists. Following the release of “Piss Frond,” (“the most cohesive product I could ever imagine,” Ink Nineteen) he toured extensively. A live album was followed by “From Labrador to Madagascar,” in 2007. Lens Records released the album, “Fast Falls the Eventide,” in September of 2009, a double cd set. Late in 2009 he released a vinyl only album for Russia’s Brudenia Records, “The Light of June Drowned Flowers in Your Mouth,” closely followed by another vinyl release “The Silent Wing,” for Houston’s Tourette Records in March of 2010. He also released another Dead Voices on Air album for Lens Records in the same year, ”From Afar All Stars Spark and Glee,” featuring Phil Western and Serbian/American singer Ivana Salipur. In 2011 he will release the cd “Michael and the Angels Fought,” featuring a host of collaborators including Salipur, Phillipe Petit, the cellist Bela Emerson, Robin Storey and Michael Page of Lens Records band Sky Burial. He is also undertaking an ambitious series of 7 inch single releases for Tourette Records to mark the 20th anniversary of Dead Voices on Air, each featuring a different collaborator, including (amongst others cEvin Key, James Plotkin, Twilight Circus Dub Sound System, The Legendary Pink Dots, Not Breathing, Robert Hampson, Troum and Jochen Arbeit.
Village Voice referred to Dead Voices on Air, as an almost medieval drone, “If most ambient is the laudanum of the new fin de siÈcle, then Dead Voices on Air are the absinthe." Spybey continues to make music with real instruments; rhythms cultivated by hand from his love of ethnological music and the usual array of grainy sounds and effected vocals. He describes it as “music for the eyes.” “Spybey works hard at his art so you don’t have to: rather, as the listener, the participant, the absorber, it’s more important you ignore such now pat genre appellations as “industrial”, “ambient”, “soundscape”, et al, and instead gorge deeply on a wriggling, prickly, sometimes confrontational puzzlebox of sounds”. Darren Bergstein.
Mark Spybey is currently working under the monikers of Dead Voices on Air and Propeller. Mark is a former member of the influential British band Zoviet France and the much-talked about industrial act Download (along with cEvin Key of Skinny Puppy). He had also collaborated with many seminal artists and bands such as Jarboe, Can, Not Breathing, James Plotkin, Pigface and Legendary Pink Dots, The. He also collaborated with Mick Harris and Ambre on the Threesome series.
Download was to be the most prolific post-Puppy project of cEvin Key, formed out of a number of unstructured 'jam' sessions in the 1994. cEvin clearly saw the writing on the wall spelling the end of Skinny Puppy, and concentrated on making a go of this project instead. Download's output has varied from album to album, but generally hovers around the experimental electronic/industrial areas. Frantic drum loops, off-kilter samples and moments of unexpected ambience are all part of Download albums, and indeed all three can often be found in the same song.