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90 Degrees South

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90 Degrees South is the pseudonym of multi-instrumentalist Kevin Fox from Cheltenham, England. The moniker comes from the location of the South Pole, which is found at 90 degrees below “zero degrees” (the equator). It is also the title of a famous British documentary film depicting the ultimately doomed expedition by two English explorers who struggled through the harshest of conditions in order to be the first people to reach the South Pole. All of 90 Degrees South’s album titles and compositions, in fact, are derived from Fox’s obsession with polar themes, hauntingly beautiful images of ice caves. Fox performs these bleak yet beautiful instrumentals by multi-tracking himself on drums, bass, guitar, Fender Rhodes, and various synthesizers. The title of The Barrier Silence (issued by Cheltenham’s Ochre in 1999), comes from a poem by Edward Wilson, the Antarctic explorer who perished on his return from the South Pole; Wilson had reportedly lived on a hill in the same English locale where Fox’s recording studio was located. This album — which featured vocal samples that sounded like archaic radio transmissions — was critically acclaimed and favorably compared to the output of similar post-rock groups, including Labradford, Calexico, and Tortoise. 2002’s Plans for Travel was a collection of nine pieces reportedly inspired by various means of record-breaking pioneering travel, whether by transoceanic flight or by train, car, or motorcycle

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