Mark Stewart, who was celebrated for his dizzying and politicised mix of write-up-punk, dub and funk as frontman of the Pop Group and in a solo career, has died aged 62.
Information of his loss of life was verified by his label Mute, who wrote: “In honour of this authentic, fearless, delicate, artistic and humorous guy, believe for your self and query anything. The environment was adjusted since of Mark Stewart, it will in no way be the similar without having him.” No cause of demise has been supplied.
Stewart was born in 1960 and lifted in Bristol, in which he shaped the Pop Group in 1977 with youth club buddies John Waddington and Simon Underwood, shortly including Gareth Sager and Bruce Smith to total the lineup.
With their rather ironic band name – nevertheless with a hint of dazzling pop songs however – they embraced the iconoclasm of the punk motion of the time, and had been encouraged by seeing the Clash. Stewart afterwards defined: “There is the vanity of energy and what we received from punk was the electricity of vanity.”
But the band deviated from punk’s songs, utilizing jazzy, improvisatory preparations, funk basslines and noisy abstraction. Stewart’s wonderfully, starkly expressive vocals, like a hugely musical type of ranted speech, aided them stand out all the much more, and their 1979 debut album Y – designed with dub producer Dennis Bovell – is regarded as a substantial point in the write-up-punk movement.
Their divisive 1980 observe-up For How Substantially Extended Do We Tolerate Mass Murder? was a lot more industrial, with tighter funk rhythms and a presaging of the industrial music of the relaxation of the ten years. It also showcased a collaboration with US group the Past Poets, regarded as the forefathers of hip-hop.
Just after enjoying a huge CND rally in Trafalgar Sq., the Pop Team break up up later that 12 months, and Stewart, along with Smith and Waddington, joined New Age Steppers, a dub tunes collective headed up by Adrian Sherwood that also included other post-punk luminaries such as the Slits’ Ari Up and Viv Albertine and General public Graphic Ltd’s Keith Levene.
Stewart continued to collaborate with Sherwood on solo releases as Mark Stewart & the Maffia, which advanced his desire in dub. Starting with the 1985 album As the Veneer of Democracy Starts off to Fade, he also continued the relationship with US hip-hop by employing a backing band with guitarist Skip McDonald, bassist Doug Wimbish and drummer Keith LeBlanc, who experienced played on Sugar Hill Data releases these as White Strains and The Concept.
Backed all over again by McDonald, Wimbish and LeBlanc and with Sherwood as producer, his self-titled solo album in 1987 also featured contributions from the late Ryuichi Sakamoto and riffed on the tunes of Erik Satie. He produced two much more albums with this lineup – Metatron (1990) and Regulate Info (1996) – and also collaborated with the likes of Daddy G from fellow Bristolians Enormous Attack.
The 2005 compilation Kiss the Long term chimed with a then-resurgent punk-funk seem and gained him a new audience, ahead of a different solo launch in 2008, Edit.
The Pop Group reformed in 2010 for live shows, produced the compilation We Are Time in 2014 and then a brand new studio album in 2015, Citizen Zombie, helmed by Oscar-successful Adele producer Paul Epworth. A ultimate album came the next 12 months, Honeymoon on Mars.
Stewart also collaborated with artists these as Primal Scream’s Bobby Gillespie and experimental movie-maker Kenneth Anger on his final solo album, 2012’s The Politics of Envy.
He discussed his remarkably cosmopolitan type in an interview that year: “I consider I just make sparks and attempt to press factors collectively that really do not essentially match. I’m joyful to put a booty bass bassline on top of a Slayer guitar – for me it arrives again to slice and paste and undertaking a punk collage, placing Ronald Reagan’s head on leading of a homosexual cowboy design or a thing.
“I’ve been messing about doing points like that since I was about 6. To a sure extent, people today are contained, but for me I can listen to some footwork things, some mad Japanese sounds or a bubblegum pop tune all in the identical 10 minutes.”
His music was also avowedly political, castigating injustice, capitalism and authoritarian cruelty when celebrating art as an escape – often inside of the space of a one song, as with the Pop Group classic We Are All Prostitutes.
“Arguments are good,” he stated in 2008. “People are brainwashed to assume that these points are out of your management in the retailers spherical right here people say ‘I really do not want to feel about politics’ – they are taught, it’s held guiding the curtains.”
Daniel Miller, the head of Mute, paid out tribute, declaring: “His musical influence has been significantly increased than is usually acknowledged … I can’t think about you becoming anything at all other than restless but I hope you discover your quite particular peace.”
Sherwood identified as Stewart “the biggest musical affect in my life and our extended family members will miss out on you so so considerably,” even though the Pop Group’s Gareth Sager stated: “Mark was the most awesome mind of my technology.”