ZTT Records has released Andrew Poppy on Zang Tumb Tuum, a 3 CD box set compiling classic recordings, unreleased and rare material commemorating the 20th anniversary of Poppy’s period with the label.
One of the UK’s leading contemporary composers, Poppy arrived at ZTT in 1984 having studied under John Cage and founded the avant-garde collective The Lost Jockey (Crepsecule/Operation Twilight). He went on to successfully straddle two worlds: orchestral compositions on one hand; left field pop collaborations (Psychic TV, Coil, Nitzer Ebb) on the other.
Andrew Poppy on Zang Tumb Tuum compiles all of the key tracks from both Poppy’s ZTT albums – The Beating of Wings (1985) and Alphabed (1987). Rare remixes, alternate takes and B-sides are also included, all of which are available for the first time on CD. A completely unreleased third album, which has been locked in the ZTT vaults since 1988, is on a third disc. A ‘mini book’ is also included, containing a biography, new interviews with the composer, bibliography and discography.
Highlights of the box set include Cadenza, a 14-minute recording of Poppy’s breakthrough composition; The Impossible Net, which places him squarely at the recent convergence between classical and electronics; Kink Kong Adagio – industrial downtempo from before the genre was so named; Inside The Wolf, Poppy’s theme for Channel 4’s The Tube; The Passage, a completely unreleased and mesmerising suite from Poppy’s very last session for ZTT.
Some pieces are performed by a full orchestra, others just by ship-yard samples. Guest musicians include Ashley Slater (Norman Cook), Joceyln Pook (Real World), and Annette Peacock (Salvador Dali) and certain tracks have been notably sampled – in one way or another – by the likes of Ninja Tune’s DJ Food, Boards of Canada and Warp Records’ Max Tundra.
This is the definitive view of Andrew Poppy as a progenitor of avant-garde composition, minimalism and early electronica.