David Ball (electronic musician)  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

David Ball (born 3 May 1959 in Blackpool, Lancashire) is an English producer and electronic musician, who has played in bands such as Soft Cell and The Grid, and collaborated with producers such as Ingo Vauk and Chris Braide. He is usually referred to as 'Dave Ball' on record sleeves.


As a student of Leeds Polytechnic Fine Arts University (now Leeds Metropolitan University), renaissance man Ball experimented with electronic sounds and synthesizers, a burgeoning technology at the time which was just beginning to gain acceptance with artists such as Kraftwerk and The Human League. He met fellow student Marc Almond, who, taken with Ball's unique take on avant-garde electronic soundscapes, asked him to help in developing music to complement his performance art pieces. The two cut a 4-track EP, funded by Ball, entitled Mutant Moments, and were soon signed to the small label Some Bizarre Records. Working alongside Almond, who by this time had taken on the role of lead singer and lyricist at Ball's suggestion, the band achieved massive success with their cover of Gloria Jones's Tainted Love, which reached #1 in seventeen different countries and #8 in the U.S., where it stayed on the charts for 43 weeks, holding a then Guinness World Record for the longest such stay and becoming the biggest-selling UK single of 1981.

Soft Cell remained major pop stars in the UK, releasing a string of singles which all reached the UK Top 5. Two more albums, arranged and scored by Ball, were released to critical success. The duo went on their separate ways to pursue solo projects in 1983, just before the release of their third album, This Last Night in Sodom.

Ball then went on to release a solo album entitled In Strict Tempo, featuring Gavin Friday of The Virgin Prunes, and Genesis P Orridge of Throbbing Gristle. He then went on to produce electronic dance music records alongside producer Ingo Vauk and collaborator Richard Norris. Ball eventually teamed with Norris to form the techno group The Grid, which enjoyed success with the million selling hit "Swamp Thing". The Grid also remixed many acts including Brian Eno, Erasure, Depeche Mode, David Bowie, Happy Mondays, Carter USM, David Sylvian & Robert Fripp, Pet Shop Boys, Boy George, Sophie B Hawkins and many more. Ball and Vauk also produced The SAS and the Glam That Goes With It by Earl Brutus, and London Broil by Doris Alloy.

In 1991 Soft Cell reunited for three songs on the album "Tenement Symphony", under the name of "Marc Almond Feat. The Grid".

The Grid also produced Billie Ray Martin's million selling single "Your Loving Arms". Norris worked with Joe Strummer of the Clash while Ball was producing and writing for Kylie Minogue. Dave Ball continues to write, remix and produce acts such as B-52s, Depeche Mode, Man Parrish, Client, Soft Cell, Jackie Chan and is currently working with Andy Smith of Portishead and * Misty Woods of JuJu Babies.

Soft Cell reformed in 2002 and released a new album titled: "Cruelty Without Beauty" & spawned another hit "Monoculture".

The Grid reformed recently and released a new single entitled "Put Your Hands Together" at the end of 2007 with mixes by The Grid, Paul Jackson, MHC and Kriss Darang which did very well in the clubs.

The Grid new album in 10 years entitled "Doppelganger" was released in March 2008 to critical acclaim on the Some Bizzare label & the act are set to perform at Glastonbury, Glade and Brighton Festival's in the Sumer of 2008, as well as a major gig at the Scala in London's Kings Cross with major support from Phil Hartnoll of Orbital and Dr Alex Paterson of The Orb.

Both Dave Ball & The Grid are managed by the commercial management company * Angel Artists who represent the likes of Phil Hartnoll, Nick Smith, Paul Dakeyne, Icehouse Project, as well as looking after the interests of Michael Edwards (who is the writing partner of Lisa Gerrard), & Lief who hail from Melbourne, Australia.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "David Ball (electronic musician)" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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