LEN LIGGINS - 1982 til 1985 LP
In the early 1980s most pop music on the radio was glamorous and over-produced. Bands like Duran Duran and The Human League dominated the charts at a time when unemployment and poverty were common, especially in the north of England. Len Liggins lived in Leeds at this time. It was almost impossible to find a job, so he bought a very simple drum machine and a cheap electric guitar and started to write songs. He then borrowed an Electronic Dream Plant ‘WASP’ synthesizer, a bass guitar that was allegedly played on Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Albatross’, and a 4-track cassette recorder – and began to make his own recordings at home. Len’s songs reflect this grim, monochrome time, with its real fear of nuclear war (‘The War Game’), the worry of being poisoned by lead from car exhausts (‘Lead’) and of having nothing to eat (‘Basil Purdy’s Fridge’). And so, from 1980 to 1985 Len created tracks of lo-fi, minimalist, post-punk experimental synth pop, submitting them to fanzines and underground cassette labels such as International Sound Communication, Real Time, Nuclear Terra. Len discovered in fanzines that there were other people in the north of England who were also making music in their bedrooms. It was a new movement! This genre of music later became known in Britain as ‘minimal wave’. It was underground and cool, and a stark contrast to the plastic pop that filled the charts. People listened to it in industrial cities like Leeds, Sheffield and Manchester while rich young businesspeople in London made huge profits on money markets and lived cocaine lifestyles.