ABOUT SILICON SOUL
Ohio Theatre, SoHo, New York City, February 1981, a suddenly zealous crowd; it's dancing room only. The electronic music group Silicon Soul pushes the limits of pop music one dance step further by introducing a new sound in polyrhythmic electronic music to club culture long before the genres of "techno" and "electronica" are established.
The music of Silicon Soul is familiar to the international fans of the recording Who Needs Sleep Tonight (B. B. Tech). Officially released in the United States that night in 1981, the song found its audience in such diverse locales as the new wave dance clubs of New York City and the underground gay discos in country music's capital Nashville, Tennessee. It was not until 1991 that the song became a European dance chart topper and dance club anthem when it was again released (this time coupled with a DJ Hell remix) by Munich upstart Peter Wacha on his then new record label Disko B.
At an imaginary point in time and space where Giorgio Moroder and Afrika Bambaataa meet Lena Lovich, Silicon Soul was conceived. Its founding members Dr. O. Zone and Jolly III continue today as leaders of a band of silicon-based music machines.
Zone's training for this strange activity began at age 13 when he constructed and composed music for his version of a Theremin built from plans found in an issue of Popular Electronics magazine. Over the years his formal training has included study at the MacColl Studio for Electronic Music (where he got one of his favorite music synthesizers, a vintage 1968 Trumansburg studio Moog synthesizer), and postdoctoral research in neuroscience, both at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. These seemingly unconnected activities have served as a fitting preparation for Zone's years of activity designing, constructing and composing with his novel electronic music instruments. These custom-made synthesizers and controllers are responsible for the distinctive Silicon Soul sound.
The other distinctive sound in much of the Silicon Soul music is the voice of Jolly III. Labeled “rocklike…New Wave Sleaze” by one reviewer, “meldet sie sich zu Wort und du wirst es nie wieder los” by another and simply “electric” by yet another, it is the perfect counterpoint to Zone's electronic rhythms. Surprisingly, Jolly's background is not only on the floor of the dance club, but in the demi monde of post-post modern dance, performance art and Broadway shows including tours throughout North America, Europe, and Japan. Jolly III entered the dance music scene when she (along with a then totally unknown artist called Madonna) got a job backing up the Aquarius Records (Paris) disco king Patrick “Born To Be Alive” Hernandez.
Silicon Soul through the years has included the very latest of Zone's custom-made synthesizers and a host of notable musicians. Master Haitian drummer Frisner Augustin of La Troupe Makandal, world beat percussionists John Amira and Kevin Burrell, guitarists Mario Sen, Artie Skye and Scott Free, saxophonist Steve Buchanan, African drummer/dancer Djoniba Mouffet, guitarist/vocalist Johnny Mahoney, vocalist/dancer Pat Hall, vocalist Lynae Davis and synthesist Brian Jonz are artists who have sat in from time to time at recording sessions and performances with Jolly and Zone.
the varied Zone/Jolly projects have included the filmscore to Kirk
several music scores for the post-modern dance troupe The Solomons
Dance with performances in the US and Europe, the creation of Tales
of Love and Power, an electro-reggae oratorio performed at Knitting
Factory, New York City, the installation of Zone's eXcitable Rhythm
(Mark IX) at the MasqueRave held at the New York Coliseum (A younger
was the headliner that night.), a video collaboration with visual
Sono Kuwayama, the re-mix of poetry and music for a Steve
Moore/Mat Maneri project, gallery performances and exhibitions in the
and Japan and music club appearances in New York and Munich.
In 2006 Silicon
Soul began a new project. With the continued desire
to share the music, the group selected favorite (some,
still unreleased) tunes, wrapped
an animated talkshow around
them, and proceeded to vodcast to the world. It's called The Silicon
Soul Show and the archives are
available for download on somestrange.com
and other popular feed readers.
Beyond the Silicon: Somewhere
Between High Tech and High Art is the name of Silicon Soul's
newest blog. It is a web tour of art (high, low, serious, pop and
other,) created with the tools of new technology by artists from around
B. B. Tech Enterprises and Silicon Soul Music