1953 (age 71)
Thomas Leer (real name Thomas Wishart) is a Scottish musician, who, as well as releasing music in his own right, was also one half of the 1980s electro pop band Act.
Leer was born in 1953 in Port Glasgow, Scotland, where he grew up together with his friend and musical collaborator Robert Rental. Leer and Rental started a punk bank in 1976 before deciding to switching to electronics a year later. Leer made his debut release in 1978 with his seminal DIY indie EP, Private Plane, to help jump start a movement still evident today. With shrewd invention often born of necessity, he blended conventional instruments with tape loops, electronic experimentation and treatments to forge a compelling pop with a dark heart, swooping seamlessly (or not) between the pretty and the (pretty) disturbing.
After Private Plane he collaborated with Rental on the 1979 album The Bridge, released on Throbbing Gristle's Industrial records. The duo was short-lived as Rental decided to quit making music a year or so later, and Leer subsequently continued his solo career. In the early 1980s he released two EPs and the album Contradictions on the Cherry Red label. The album was released in the US in an extended format combined with one of the EPs under the name Letter From America.
A few years of indie cult status led inevitably to his recruitment to major label Arista in 1985, where as reluctant synth boffin, he sought to challenge the listener, undermine or reinvent form, and playfully subvert expectation. The result was the album "The Scale Of Ten". It would never last. Finding what he hoped was a natural haven of like-minded souls at ZTT, Thomas formed the finely honed but blissfully ignored duo ACT in 1987 with Claudia Brücken from Propaganda. The duo disbanded in 1988, having released 4 EPs and the album "Laughter, Tears And Rage". Tired and a little bit jaded, he took a (quite) long break from releasing any music to regroup and pursue some personal projects.
Recording again from 2001, starting with the album "Parts Of A Greater Hole", Thomas Leer seems resolute in his doggedness to avoid classification. If his music draws on wildly varied sources (and it does), it’s always stamped with his own brand - as ever, striving to celebrate the eclectic in music creation. A true original.
Website - Future Historic
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