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New Musik were an English synthpop group active from 1977 to 1982.[1] Several artists have covered tracks by the band, including Delegation "Twelfth House" (1981), Alphaville "On Islands" (1988), Camouflage "On Islands" (1989), Psychotic Youth "Living By Numbers" (1996) and Orwell "On Islands" (2008).


History[edit source | editbeta]Edit

New Musik formed in 1977 in London, growing out of a casual band of South London school friends who jammed together under the name End of the World.[1] Songwriter and record producer Tony Mansfield was the lead vocalist and frontman for the band, who was also a former member of the Nick Straker Band, and was joined in the original line-up by Straker, bassist Tony Hibbert and drummer Phil Towner.[1] The latter had played on The Buggleshit single, "Video Killed the Radio Star".[1]

Rather than immediately pursue a recording contract, the newly christened New Musik chose to hone their craft first.[1] Working during down times at a recording studio where Mansfield was informally employed as a session musician and apprentice sound engineer, the foursome recorded most of what would become their first two albums before approaching the UK record labelGTO Records with the finished master tapes.[1] However, before GTO released the first New Musik single, "Straight Lines", in August 1979, Straker had left for a solo career, scoring a minor UK hit single with the song "A Walk in the Park".[1] He was replaced by Clive Gates, and the new line-up completed New Musik's debut albumFrom A to B, which was released in April 1980.[1]

New Musik made their first appearance on the BBC TV pop programme, Top of the Pops, in October 1979 with their debut "Straight Lines", which received airplay on BBC Radio 1 from guest DJ Frank Zappa, and also on WPIX-FM in New YorkFrom A to B reached the Top 40 in the UK Albums Chart and contained four hit singles: "Straight Lines", "Living by Numbers", "This World of Water" and "Sanctuary".[2]

Touring the UK in 1980, New Musik performed at both the Oxford and Cambridge Balls with Elvis Costello; and the Rotterdam New Pop 1980 festival in the Netherlands. In 1981, the band played a second UK tour and were featured in a 1981 documentary filmListen to London, performing "Straight Lines" and "This World of Water".

The band's second album, Anywhere, was released in 1981 and reached No. 68 in the UK.[2] The album's single releases, "Luxury" and "While You Wait", did not chart. In 1981, a compilation album, Sanctuary, was released exclusively in the United States, consisting of five tracks from From A to B and seven from Anywhere.[1] Previous to this release, there had also been a four song 10" vinyl "Straight Lines" released byCBS Records in the U.S. as part of their short-lived Epic 'Nu-Disk' series, which had also included The Clash's, Black Market Clash.[1] After Anywhere 's disappointing commercial performance in the UK andSanctuary's instant oblivion in the U.S., New Musik went through a period of turmoil. Hibbert and Towner both left the band, leaving Mansfield and Gates to record next New Musik album as a duo with a hired drummer.[1]

After the demise of GTO Records, the band released their third and final album, Warp, in 1982 which was more experimental than their previous releases. Warp was almost entirely electronic, and one of the first albums to be recorded primarily with digital samplers and emulators.[1] It featured a synthesized version of The Beatles' hit song "All You Need Is Love", alongside an identically titled track of their own. New Musik disbanded shortly after its release that year.[1]

Mansfield went on to achieve considerable success in the field of production for the likes of After the Firea-haAztec CameraThe B-52'sThe DamnedCaptain SensibleNaked EyesMari WilsonJean Paul GaultierMiguel Bosé, and Ana Torroja.[1]

From A To B and Anywhere were released on CD in 1994, and again in 2001, remastered and with bonus tracks. Warp was also released with bonus tracks on CD for the first time in 2001, exclusively in Japan. This remains its only CD release.

Members[edit source | editbeta]Edit

Last line up before disbandment[edit source | editbeta]Edit

Previous former members[edit source | editbeta]Edit

Discography[edit source | editbeta]Edit

Studio albums[edit source | editbeta]Edit

Year[3] Album UK Albums Chart [2]
1980 From A to B 35
1981 Anywhere 68
1982 Warp -

Compilation albums[edit source | editbeta]Edit

Year[3] Album Comments
1980 Straight Lines Collects their first UK singles Straight Lines & Living By Numbers and their b-sidesOn Islands and Sad Films in Epic Records' short lived Nu-Disk format.
1981 Sanctuary

Singles[edit source | editbeta]Edit

Year Song Peak chart positions Album
UK Singles Chart[2] French Singles Chart [4] Irish Singles Chart [5]
1979 "Straight Lines" 53 - - From A to B
1980 "Living by Numbers" 13 - 12
"This World of Water" 31 - 18
"On Islands" - 26 -
"Sanctuary" 31 - -
1981 "Luxury" - - - Anywhere
"While You Wait" - - -
"The Planet Doesn't Mind" - - - Warp
1982 "All You Need Is Love" - - -
"Warp" - - -
"-" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released in that country.
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