Mute Records Parent company EMI (2002-2010) Founded 1978 Founder Daniel Miller Distributor(s) Caroline Distribution (USA), EMI Genre Experimental music Country of origin UK Location London Official Website Official website of Mute Records
Mute is an independent record label based in the UK. It was founded in 1978 by Daniel Miller and featured several prominent musical acts on its roster such as Goldfrapp, Depeche Mode, Yazoo, Erasure and Fad Gadget.
During 1978, Daniel Miller began recording music using synthesisers under the name The Normal. He recorded the tracks "T.V.O.D." and "Warm Leatherette", and distributed them through Rough Trade Shops under the label name Mute Records. The label was formed initially just to release the one single. "T.V.O.D."/"Warm Leatherette" became a cult hit ensuring the future of the label. "Warm Leatherette" was later covered by Grace Jones.
After meeting Robert Rental (who had previously worked with Thomas Leer), Miller began recording and playing live as Robert Rental & The Normal. In 1979 they went on tour supporting the punk band Stiff Little Fingers, who had just released an album that was being distributed by Rough Trade.
In 1980, Miller released the single, "Kebabtraume", by the German band Deutsch-Amerikanische Freundschaft (D.A.F.), who had recently moved to London. The band's 1980 album, Die Kleinen Und Die Bösen, was the first album released by the new label. The album had the catalogue prefix, "Stumm", a play on the record label's name, meaning "mute" in German. This prefix would continue to be used through most of the label's album catalogue.
Also in 1980, Miller recorded and released the cover single, "Memphis Tennessee", under the name Silicon Teens. The band was Miller’s realisation of a dream Mute Records group, whose main instruments were synthesisers. In mid-1980, Mute Records released the Silicon Teens' album, titled Music For Parties.
Around this time the artist Fad Gadget had begun recording new demos, including the track "Back To Nature". This was released as a single in 1980, followed by the next single "Ricky's Hand" and the album Fireside Favourites recorded at Blackwing Studios.
September 1980 saw the release of the double-holed, multi-speed 7" single by Non & Smegma, one of the first experimental noise releases from the label. Boyd Rice (Non) went on to release several more recordings with Mute Records. After touring with Daniel Miller as Robert Rental & The Normal, Robert Rental released his only Mute Records single, "Double Heart", a rare, remaining trace of this late electronic music pioneer.
Miller approached Depeche Mode in 1980, after seeing them perform in London, wanting them to record a single for his label; that first single was "Dreaming of Me". Emerging out of the British electronic pop scene, Depeche Mode quickly asserted themselves as a radio-friendly pop group, and had hits with their next three singles, including the UK top ten single, "Just Can't Get Enough". Their loyalty to Mute was reciprocated by the label’s rapid expansion to cope with their success. In defiance of the major recording labels predictions of failure, Depeche Mode became a successful charting band worldwide. The band's consistency was unbroken even by the departure of principal songwriter Vince Clarke. Martin Gore took over the main songwriting role, opening the band up to different influences and sustaining their creativity as a band.
Mute continued to support other experimental artists, such as NON, releasing an album of Boyd Rice's pre-NON recordings, titled Boyd Rice. 1982 began with the release of the 12-inch single, "Rise", by Boyd Rice, released under the name NON.
Fad Gadget released his third album for the label, titled Under the Flag, influenced by the current Falklands War and the feeling of being British in the most unseemly of times. The album spawned the singles "For Whom the Bells Toll" and "Life on the Line".
Mute Record's big commercial success of 1982 was the band Yazoo, the duo of Vince Clarke and Alison Moyet. After leaving Depeche Mode, Clarke had set up a studio in the Blackwing Studios complex, where he recorded the singles "Only You" and "Don’t Go". That year, Mute licensed the single, "Fred Vom Jupiter", from the German record label Atatak. The track was recorded by Holger Hiller, Andreas Dorau and the schoolgirl Marinas. Also from Germany was the single, "Los Ninos Del Parque", by Liaisons Dangeruses, later released by Mute. Liaisons Dangeruses included Chrislo Hass, who had previously been in the German band DAF.
After returning from a world tour in 1983, Depeche Mode release the industrial-influenced hit single "Everything Counts". Bruce Gilbert and Graham Lewis, of the band Wire (who had been working together under the name Dome), teamed up with Daniel Miller to form a project known as Duet Emmo, an anagram of Mute and Dome. They released an album and 12-inch single, both titled Or So It Seems. Miller also secured the rights to the back catalogue of the experimental band Throbbing Gristle.
During 1983, the Australian band The Birthday Party transferred from 4AD to Mute Records. The band broke up after releasing their final 12-inch single, "Mutiny". Birthday Party's singer, Nick Cave, stayed with Mute and released his debut single as Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. The single was a cover of the song, "In the Ghetto", by Mac Davis, previously made famous by Elvis Presley. Yazoo released the album You and Me Both that year, and disbanded. Vince Clarke then began working at Blackwing Studios under the name The Assembly. The project's first single, "Never Never", was a hit, featuring Feargal Sharkey on vocals.
D.A.F. split up, and in 1983, ex-member Robert Görl released the single "Mit Dir" on Mute. He recorded the album, Night Full of Tension, the following year, including the single "Darling Don’t Leave Me", featuring Annie Lennox. In 1984, Depeche Mode had one of their biggest hits in the UK with the single "People Are People". Their album that year, Some Great Reward, reached number one in Germany and became their first hit in the United States.
Mute released an album of archive material from the German band Einstürzende Neubauten, titled Strategies Against Architecture '80–'83, compiled by Jim Thirlwell. Mute used Berlin as a recording location at this time. Einstürzende Neubauten member F.M. Einheit contributed on the recording of the Fad Gadget album, Gag, along with Rowland S. Howard (ex-guitarist for The Birthday Party), who also contributed to the 1983 Fad Gadget single, "I Discover Love". Einstürzende Neubauten's Blixa Bargeld began working with Nick Cave at this time, playing guitar with Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. The resulting 1984 album, From Her to Eternity, included a cover of Leonard Cohen's song, "Avalanche".
In 1984, Bruce Gilbert extended his field of music into dance after a commission to write music for dancer Michael Clark. Gilbert recorded with engineer John Fryer at Blackwing Studios. The recordings were documented by Mute on the album, This Way.
The synth duo I Start Counting released their debut single, "Letters to a Friend", in June 1984, produced by Daniel Miller. 1984 ended with the long delayed release of Easy Listening for the Hard of Hearing by Frank Tovey and Boyd Rice. The album was originally recorded at Blackwing Studios in May 1981, using sounds created from non-musical appliances, and other studio-generated sounds. The recordings were engineered by John Fryer and Eric Radcliffe.
In 1985, a new incarnation of Simon Bonney's Crime and the City Solution formed, including ex-Birthday Party members Mick Harvey and Rowland S. Howard. The new line-up released the EP, The Dangling Man, and later the mini-album, Just South of Heaven. Mute released the single, "Hypnotized", in May 1985, by newly-signed artist Mark Stewart, produced by Adrian Sherwood. Stewart recorded his first album for Mute, As the Veneer of Democracy Starts to Fade, in November 1985, also produced by Sherwood, under the name Mark Stewart and the Mafia. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds released their second album, The Firstborn Is Dead, recorded at the Berlin recording studio, Hansa Tonstudio, co-produced by Flood.
Fad Gadget began recording as Frank Tovey in 1985, and released the single "Luxury" in August that year, co-produced with Daniel Miller. Vince Clarke and Andy Bell began recording as Erasure in 1985, and released their debut album the next year.
Frank Tovey released his first album under his own name, after leaving his Fad Gadget moniker behind him. The new album was titled Snakes and Ladders. The initial release included a twelve inch single containing four Fad Gadget tracks.
To celebrate five years of Depeche Mode, Mute released a compilation album of the band's singles, The Singles 81→85. A remastered edition was issued in October 1998 with additional tracks, including an original version of the song "Photographic", released on Some Bizzare Records. Wire member Graham Lewis launched his project in 1985, known as He Said, with Mute releasing the project's debut single, "Only One I". Lewis released his debut album the following year after two more singles.
Erasure released the single, "Sometimes", in 1986, a UK top ten hit. I Start Counting finished recording their debut album that year, My Translucent Hands. Wire re-grouped to record a 12-inch single, "Snakedrill", produced by Daniel Miller and Gareth Jones. Band member Bruce Gilbert went on to produce the 12-inch single, "Just Talk", for A.C. Marias.
Two Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds albums were released in 1986. The first was Kicking Against the Pricks, a collection of covers including All Tomorrow's Parties and Something's Gotten Hold of My Heart. The second album released in November 1986 was Your Funeral… My Trial.
Mute carried out a licensing deal with the Japanese company Wave. This gave Mute the rights to release the Japanese financed album titled Oben Im Eck by Holger Hiller; the album was released in November 1986.
Crime and the City Solution released new material in 1986 including the album Room of Lights and the twelve inch single Kentucky Click/Adventure. The new album won the band acclaim in the European press showing the Australian bands growing popularity across Europe.
The end of 1986 saw Mute Records sign the Yugoslav band Laibach. The following year Mute released the bands album Opus Dei, which included the cover single, Life is Life. Also at the end of 1986 the band Wire returned to the studio with producer Gareth Jones. In 1987 Mute released the result of the studio sessions, the album The Ideal Copy.
1987 saw Depeche Mode recording and working with a new producer Dave Bascombe. In September, Mute released Music for the Masses. The album was supported by a world tour. During the promotional tour for the new album, Depeche Mode became increasingly popular in the musical mainstream. The 101st concert they performed was recorded and made into a film, documenting one of their largest attended concerts. A live album of the concert was released in 1989 titled 101. The Music for the Masses tour saw new Mute artists Nitzer Ebb performing as a supporting act. They had already released two singles with Mute before releasing their debut album, That Total Age, in May 1987.
Mute released Mark Stewart's album, Metatron, in May 1990, which included the single, "Hysteria". Stewart continued working with producer Adrian Sherwood. Mute signed Goldfrapp in August of that year, consisting of Alison Goldfrapp and Will Gregory. The duo began recording their debut album, Felt Mountain, in a hired cottage in Wiltshire, South West England. Goldfrapp completed the recording after six months, and the album was released in September 2000.
Mute was one of the first British record labels to have an Internet presence, entitled Mute Liberation Technologies. This started out running as an FTP site, Telnet site and a bulletin board system in 1994. They continued to be run in tandem for a number of years until they were shut down. Mute Liberation Technologies has been running as a website since 1995. A newer version of the site was launched in July 2004.
In 2001, Rough Trade Records celebrated the twenty fifth anniversary of the opening of their first retail shop. To mark the anniversary, Mute released the Rough Trade Shops 25 Years four CD box set. The album release coincided with ten days of special live events across London. Tracks appearing on the box set were carefully chosen to represent some of the most popular records sold during the past twenty five years at Rough Trade shops; these included recordings by Nick Cave, Joy Division and Stereolab.
2002–2009, the EMI Years
In May 2002, Mute Records was bought by EMI for £23m. The deal was finalized even though one in four acts signed by EMI faced being dropped by the label after job cuts in March 2002. Daniel Miller remained in charge of the company’s global activities.
Mute released the single "Dirty Sticky Floors" in May 2003, from Depeche Mode singer Dave Gahan's debut solo album, Paper Monsters. Gahans debuted as a songwriter on the album, written and recorded along with Gahan's friend, Knox Chandler. Mute released another Depeche Mode solo project that year, Counterfeit² by Martin Gore, a collection of cover songs recorded at Gore's home studio. The eleven tracks on the album included songs that were recorded originally by Iggy Pop, John Lennon, and Brian Eno.
In September 2010, EMI and Daniel Miller reached an agreement in which EMI would support Miller in the establishment of a second record label. The Mute brand once again became an independent record label. The new label will operate under the Mute trademark, which will be licensed by EMI and will be supported by EMI via services such as sales, licensing, and distribution. Daniel Miller was given full control of the new label, leaving EMI with a minority equity interest in the company. To help fund the new label, EMI licensed part of the Mute back catalogue, also giving support in areas such as royalty administration and business affairs. Current Mute artists such as Depeche Mode and Goldfrapp remain signed to and marketed by EMI Music. Many other bands will move over to Miller's new independent label.
October 2010 saw the release of Dust Lane by the French artist Yann Tiersen. The album incorporated vintage electronic sounds and textures recorded over two years in France and the Philippines. In November Mute released Einstürzende Neubautens fourth album in the Strategies Against Architecture series. The album continues with an archive compilation of the band's output from 2002 to 2010.
- ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z Mute - Documentary Evidence - Biba Kopf 1986
- ^ Muted Response - Daniel Miller Interview - E&MM 1984
- ^ E&MM Magazine - March 1984
- ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w Mute - Documentary Evidence (Album Booklet) 1986
- ^ a b Bruce Gilbert – This Way (Editions Mego) CD sleeve notes.
- ^ “Mute Records – Letters to a Friend”. Retrieved 7 November 2010.
- ^ Easy Listening for the Hard of Hearing (Mute Records) CD sleeve notes.
- ^ “Mute Records – Hypnotized”. Retrieved 9 November 2010.
- ^ “Mute Records – As the Veneer of Democracy Starts to Fade”. Retrieved 9 November 2010.
- ^ "Mute Records – The Firstborn Is Dead". Retrieved 17 November 2010.
- ^ “Mute Records – Snakes & Ladders”. Retrieved 27 November 2010.
- ^ “Mute Records – The Singles 81-85”. Retrieved 17 November 2010.
- ^ “Mute Records – He Said (Discography)”. Retrieved 17 November 2010.
- ^ “Mute Records – Oben Im Eck”. Retrieved 27 November 2010.
- ^ “Mute Records – Crime & the City Solution (Discography)”. Retrieved 27 November 2010.
- ^ a b c d "Mute Records – Depeche Mode (Discography)". Retrieved 29 November 2010.
- ^ "Nitzer Ebb (Discography)". Retrieved 29 November 2010.
- ^ “Mute Records – Metatron”. Retrieved 18 November 2010.
- ^ a b Simpson, Dave. "The Friday Interview". The Guardian. 4 May 2001. Retrieved 29 October 2010.
- ^ a b c "Ask Mute". Retrieved 29 October 2010.
- ^ a b c d Rough Trade Shops 25 Years. Retrieved 7 November 2010.
- ^ a b "BBC News 13 May 2002 - EMI buys Moby’s label". Retrieved 7 November 2010.
- ^ Dave Gahan Discography – Mute Records , accessed 7 November 2010
- ^ Dave Gahan (Paper Monsters) – Mute Records, accessed 7 November 2010
- ^ Martin Gore (Counterfeit²) – Mute Records, accessed 7 November 2010
- ^ a b "Goldfrapp – Head First". Retrieved 7 November 2010.
- ^ “Mute Records - Sisterworld”. Retrieved 20 November 2010.
- ^ a b c d "EMI – Mute to go Independent Again…" , accessed 29 October 2010
- ^ a b "Yann Tiersen - Dust Lane". Retrieved 7 November 2010.
- ^ “Mute Records—Strategies Against Architecture IV”. Retrieved 20 November 2010.
Links for Mute Records Depeche Mode Andy Fletcher · Dave Gahan · Martin Gore
Former members: Vince Clarke · Alan Wilder
Touring members: Christian Eigner · Peter Gordeno
Studio albums Compilation
Live albums Singles"Dreaming of Me" · "New Life" · "Just Can't Get Enough" · "See You" · "The Meaning of Love" · "Leave in Silence" · "Get the Balance Right!" · "Everything Counts" · "Love, in Itself" · "People Are People" · "Master and Servant" · "Blasphemous Rumours"/"Somebody" · "Shake the Disease" · "It's Called a Heart" · "Stripped" · "A Question of Lust" · "A Question of Time" · "But Not Tonight (US)" · "Strangelove" · "Never Let Me Down Again" · "Behind the Wheel" · "Little 15" · "Strangelove '88 (US)" · "Everything Counts (Live)" · "Personal Jesus" · "Enjoy the Silence" · "Policy of Truth" · "World in My Eyes" · "I Feel You" · "Walking in My Shoes" · "Condemnation" · "In Your Room" · "Barrel of a Gun" · "It's No Good" · "Home" · "Useless" · "Only When I Lose Myself" · "Dream On" · "I Feel Loved" · "Freelove" · "Goodnight Lovers" · "Enjoy the Silence '04" · "Precious" · "A Pain That I'm Used To" · "Suffer Well" · "John the Revelator"/"Lilian" · "Martyr" · "Wrong" · "Peace" · "Fragile Tension"/"Hole to Feed" · "Personal Jesus 2011" Videos Tours1980 Tour · 1981 Tour · See You Tour · Broken Frame Tour · Construction Time Again Tour · Some Great Reward Tour · Black Celebration Tour · Music for the Masses Tour · World Violation Tour · Devotional Tour · Exotic Tour/Summer Tour '94 · The Singles Tour · Exciter Tour · Touring the Angel · Tour of the Universe Tribute albumsI Sometimes Wish I Was Famous · For the Masses · Color Theory Presents Depeche Mode · Goth Electro Tribute to Depeche Mode · Techno Tribute to Depeche Mode · Electronic Tribute to Depeche Mode · String Quartet Tribute to Depeche Mode · Enjoy the Sounds (A Tribute to Depeche Mode) · Destruction Time Again by Louis Guidone Related articles Alison Goldfrapp · Will Gregory Studio albums Remix albumsWe Are Glitter (2006) Live albumsWonderful Electric (2004) · Live 2005 (2005) · iTunes Originals (2008) · Live: O2 Academy Bristol (2010) Video albumsWonderful Electric (2004) OthersAccelerator: The Soundtrack (2001) · My Summer of Love Soundtrack (2005) · Radio 1's Live Lounge–Volume 3 (2008) · Winter Wonderland (2008) · The Vampire Diaries Original Television Soundtrack (2010) ToursHead First World Tour (2010) Related articlesDiscography · Awards · Mute Records Category · Template Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds Martyn P. Casey · Nick Cave · Warren Ellis · Ed Kuepper · Conway Savage · Jim Sclavunos · Thomas Wydler
Barry Adamson · Blixa Bargeld · Mick Harvey · James Johnston · Anita Lane · Kid Congo Powers · Hugo Race · Roland Wolf
Studio albums Live albums Compilations Singles"In the Ghetto" · "Tupelo" · "The Singer" · "The Mercy Seat" · "Deanna" · "The Ship Song" · "The Weeping Song" · "Straight to You" / "Jack the Ripper" · "I Had a Dream, Joe" · "What a Wonderful World" with Shane MacGowan · "Do You Love Me?" · "Loverman" · "Red Right Hand" · "Where the Wild Roses Grow" with Kylie Minogue · "Henry Lee" with PJ Harvey · "Into My Arms" · "(Are You) The One That I've Been Waiting For" · "As I Sat Sadly by Her Side" · "Fifteen Feet of Pure White Snow" · "Love Letter" · "Bring It On" · "He Wants You" / "Babe I'm On Fire" · "Rock of Gibraltar" · "Nature Boy" · "Breathless" / "There She Goes, My Beautiful World" · "Get Ready for Love" · "Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!!" · "More News from Nowhere" · "Midnight Man" Cave and Ellis Related articles
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The Birthday Party: Door, Door · Hee Haw EP · The Birthday Party · Prayers on Fire · Junkyard · Mutiny/The Bad Seed · It's Still Living
A Collection ... Grinderman: Grinderman · Grinderman 2 · "Get It On" · "No Pussy Blues" · "(I Don't Need You To) Set Me Free" · "Heathen Child" · "Worm Tamer"
Wire Robert Gotobed · Graham Lewis · Colin Newman · Matt Simms (touring only)
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Studio albums Other albums Singles and EPs Related articles Vince Clarke · Alison Moyet Studio albums CompilationsOnly Yazoo - The Best of Yazoo · In Your Room Live albumsReconnected Live EPsNobody's Diary EP · Reconnected EP Singles Related articles ToursReconnected Tour
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