It was in 1983 that Howard Jones first burst upon the contemporary music scene and brought his very English song-writing and pioneering synthesizers to an unsuspecting world. Anyone who was around in the mid to late eighties will remember those high energy gigs and his first two albums Human’s Lib and Dream into Action. They lived in the higher reaches of the album charts in the UK, USA, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Canada, Australia and many other countries in the 1984-86 period and the hits kept coming New Song, What is Love?, Pearl in the Shell, Hide and Seek,(which he performed at Live Aid in 1985), Like to Get to Know You Well, Look Mama, Things Can only Get Better, Everlasting Love and the quintessential No One is To Blame, which reached No.1 in the US.
Now Howard Jones has re-mastered those first two classic albums ‘Human’s Lib’ and ‘Dream into Action’ and played them both live in their entirety for the first time on November 6th 2010 at the IndigO2 in London’s O2 Arena Complex. The re-mastered albums are available from www.howardjones.com. A special re-mastered box set of the 12” mixes was released in March 2011 and a DVD of the IndigO2 concert will be available in the summer of 2011.
A classically trained pianist, Jones applied his technique to the early synths particularly the Roland Juno 60, the Jupiter 8 and the Moog Prodigy. He also pioneered the classic Roland 808 drum machine and the Sequential Pro-One. In the early days he was triggering sequencers live on stage whilst playing and singing, something that no one had done before.
These days he still operates on the cutting edge of today’s technology and has been one of the leading exponents of the Roland Fantom G8 and the Roland V-piano. He has also been working closely with Roland on the development of the 2011 Jupiter 80 which he will be using on stage. Many contemporary giants of the dance world have shown interest in working with Howard which has resulted in tracks such as ‘And do you Feel Scared?’ with Eric Prydz and ‘Into the Dark’ with Ferry Corsten.
Jones continues to tour extensively and will be playing multiple dates and festivals in 2011/2012 with Robbie Bronnimann on live sequencing/sampling and effects using Ableton Live and various controllers, and Jonathan Atkinson on electronic drums. He will be performing the Human’s Lib and Dream into action albums in their entirety in Salt Lake City on 9th July and Saratoga on 10th July as well as a longer US tour in October 2011.
Always one to take chances, Jones continues to write great songs inspired by his Buddhist beliefs as is evident on his latest studio album ‘Ordinary Heroes’ which features a string quartet on every track and one of the best Welsh male voice choirs in the world The Morriston on the song ‘Soon You’ll Go’.
But 2011 will mark the return of one of the true eighties icons and godfathers of modern electronic dance music in full electric mode.
If you were too young the first time around it’ll be a chance to find out where all those beats and sounds came from, and if you were around it’ll bring all those memories flooding back.
w/Jake Rudh (DJ)