Ed Handley and Andy Turner, also known as PLAID, have been friends since they met at school in the early ’80s. In 1984 they formed a mighty break-dancing crew called the Def Squad, but after several years battling in the east of England and with the arrival of acid house and Detroit techno in the UK, they decided to hang up their tracksuits and start writing the music they had been dancing to. They produced their first cassette release on the short-lived APT Recordings imprint in 1988.
Spokes (2003) marked a return in mood, if not production, to some of their earlier work in the ’90s as The Black Dog, but retained the characteristic harmonic warmth and rhythmical sensibility they had developed as Plaid. Although unashamedly optimistic in parts, Spokes reaches more melancholic and darker spaces than their outings on Warp Records.
The seeds of the album were sown as they toured America and Europe during 2002. Many of the venues they played now have small Spokes trees growing in their dressing rooms and toilets. However, some of these initial ideas went terribly wrong, and Plaid would like to take this opportunity to apologize for any distress they may have caused during the course of their experimentation. We can only pray for Carston Banister.
After returning home with the basic working structures of the album in place, five months were spent in the studio editing, enhancing, mixing, and removing some of the more extreme emotional content until one night in May, when covert Warp agents were finally able to extract these ten finished tracks.
Elena Kopenkova painted the cover image and Matt at Designers Republic designed the font and layout for the sleeve.
In addition to this album, Ed and Andy developed a full-length DVD with video artist Bob Jorac. The project was recorded in surround sound and was completed in 2004.