Artist News Obituaries

Mark Bell 1971-2004

By | Published on Wednesday 15 October 2014

Mark Bell

As was first confirmed earlier this week, electro pioneer, Björk collaborator and long-time Warp signing Mark Bell has died of complications following an operation.

Born in West Yorkshire in 1971, the first significant phase of Bell’s career was in his and Gez Varley’s pioneering project LFO. The pair released their first track, also titled ‘LFO’, as one of the early singles on the then-nascent Warp Records in 1990, leading a wave of so-termed ‘IDM’ techno acts that came to define the ‘intelligent’ end of the 90s-era British rave scene. Their first LP ‘Frequencies’, which is still cited as a classic of its time, followed in 1991, and, whilst Varley left LFO after the making of 1996’s ‘Advance’ album, Bell went on to solo-release ‘Sheath’ in 2003, this featuring high-profile LFO track ‘Freak’.

His prolific involvement with Björk began in 1995, when he sent a cassette tape of LFO material to her, only to have her select an early take of a track that later became ‘I Go Humble’ – a title on her third LP ‘Post’. Bell notably acted as principal producer on Björk’s 1997 record ‘Homogenic’, staying on to watch over all the LPs she’s released since then, most recently 2011’s innovative app-based ‘Biophilia’.

He also worked on various Björk tours, remixed tracks both for Björk and the likes of Erasure and Depeche Mode – also producing the latter’s 2001 album ‘Exciter’ – and even appears briefly in the Michel Gondry-directed video for Björk’s 2007 ‘Volta’ single ‘Declare Independence’ (which stems from an instrumental he composed), floating mid-air and playing a giant loom-shaped bass guitar.

Paying her respects to Bell yesterday, Björk said via Facebook: “I love you Mark, and I feel so blessed to have made so much music with you. May your hypersensitive nature blossom fine. And wherever you’re at [I] hope you’ve got good speakers”.