Tovey could very well possibly be one of the most important pioneers in post-punk electronic synth music. While he may have not sold as many units as label mates Depeche Mode or contemporaries like Human League or OMD who had to change their sound to top charts, he was demonstrating that synth music didn't always have to be happy pop anthems and love songs. Unlike Gary Numan or Kraftwerk, he didn't paranoiacally or idealistically fanticize a future world ruled by robots and computers, which has completely worked to his advantage, giving his songs an amazing timeless feel. While his tunes were undoubtedly catchy, futuristic pop anthems with sinister lyrics, his live performances were raw and vicious, often ending with large amounts of blood loss and paramedic assistance.In a time where Fischerspooner can sign a ?2M recording deal, Tovey was poised for a strong comeback—he had been recording new material and played a number of shows in the UK and Europe. Unfortunately, the exponentially growing scene of these modern groups may never truly understand how much they really owe to Tovey. There's a nice picture accompanying a short obituary at mute.com as well as some recent live pictures at the French web site, fadgadget.free.fr. He will be missed. -
Much of his work incorporated field recordings, which were heavily treated by electronics, resulting in highly rhythmic music, through the extensive use of cut ups. Although in the later part of the nineties he was less actively involved in producing music (mainly due to his illness), his output will not be forgotten.Mid-2000 he wrote me that he was terminally ill, but that he would love to do a sound project with me in the remaining time. We exchanged environmental recordings and exchanged e-mails over the practical nature of composing our works. Only a few weeks ago, he wrote me that he was still working on it, despite all the treatments he was getting. In exchanging these e-mails he came forward as a very practical person, with clear ideas as to what he wanted. I will continue to work my part of this work in order to keep his memory alive.