UNKLE man goes Krautrock

Wendy Rae Fowler and Richard File named their electronic act after David Bowie’s first acting role as an intergalactic visitor in The Man Who Fell To Earth. But if they fell from space, then they’ve arrived from two very different planets...

“When I first met Wendy I had never even heard anyone speak like her!” explains Richard. “My only point of reference for her accent was through the movie True Romance.” “We’re unusual, the pair of us,” admits a heavily-accented Wendy. “I’m from the South in America, and here I am with this Englishman!”

But the age-old proverb of opposites attract certainly seems apt in Wendy and Richard’s case. When they first met - in Joshua Tree, CA’s mythical recording studio - it was the musicians’ equivalent of love at first sight. “It was in October 2005. We were just hanging out and I picked up this guitar and we started playing a song and I thought, ‘This is beautiful!’” reels Wendy. “Within about twenty minutes we already had two songs.”

Richard’s last relationship was with James Lavelle, crafting beats and programming electronics with UNKLE, during which time Wendy was busy rocking out with Queens Of The Stone Age and her own experimental act Earthlings?. We Fell To Earth’s eponymously named EP finds a happy medium between both artists’ mixed musicmaking histories by using the little common ground between them - krautrock- as a building block. “It was all about what she could tolerate on an electronic front, and what I could tolerate on more of a surf rock front,” Richard explains. “At the same time, we had this common ground between us [in krautrock] and that was a great place to build from.”

Seminal trip-hoppers Portishead are a band heavily influenced by the aesthetics of krautrock and We Fell To Earth are not dissimilar from their elder peers. Richard’s glitchy beats, otherworldy sonics and Wendy’s piercing mourns - particularly on the haunting ‘Careful What You Wish For’ play ode to the Bristol act’s trademark downbeat electronica.

But Richard and Wendy refused to be pigeonholed under any one genre and insist there’s much more to their act. “We share influences with bands like Portishead, but I think song-wise we’re coming from a different place. The influences run right through the album and only after hearing the whole thing do these thoughts and ideas really come together.”

The full We Fell To Earth effect can be appreciated at London’s ICA on April 21st, when Wendy and Richard will be joined on by an additional guitarist and a drummer (who may or not also be from outer space) for their debut performance. Expect some freaky light shows.

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