a life on disc
The artist known as Gagarin has been active in music since the late 1970s. His recording career first began with the seminal Manchester based post-punk band Ludus in 1981. Here Gagarin featured on the A/A sided single Mothers hour/Patient, the cassette only release: Pickpocket, and the bands first LP: The Seduction. Originally released on Manchester's New Hormones label, all of these recordings are now available in CD format and can be found at the LTM records site. After Ludus, collaborations began with another Manchester based artist - Eric Random - where Gagarin became an integral part of Eric's group, known as the Bedlamites. With the Bedlamites, Gagarin recorded several LPs and toured widely. Gagarins work with Eric Random & the Bedlamites included contributions to; Earthbound Ghost Need (New Hormones), Timesplice (Double Vision), Ishmael (Double Vision), Subliminal Seduction / Bedlam-a-Go-Go - 12" (Plurex). A brief history of Eric Random and the Bedlamites can be found here. In 2014 Gagarin and Eric resumed their collaboration with a one off gig at London’s Inspiral rooms and there are rumours of future live and recording output.

Membership of Eric Random's Bedlamites, brought Gagarin into contact with people such as Cabaret Voltaire's RH Kirk, (who later remixed one 12" by Sonexuno), and former Banshee John McKay (the UK guitarist who single-handedly slowed down UK Punk and developed the sound that later became known as Goth). Gagarin worked with McKay in the group Zor Gabor, releasing the Tightrope 12" (Intape) - which at the time of release was NME record of the week. After her relocation to Manchester, Gagarin also worked extensively with the legendary ex Velvet Underground singer Nico, as a part of her backing band (known as the Faction). Up until Nico's untimely death in 1988, Gagarin was a core member of Faction, providing both backing at live appearances and co-writing with her the 1985 LP/CD Camera Obscura (Beggars Banquet). Gagarin backed Nico for almost all of her live appearances from 1984-1988 and may be viewed on a multitude of official and unofficial CDs and DVD releases that have appeared posthumously as tributes to the great lady. Through Nico Gagarin also became involved in a collaboration with another ex Velvet Underground member, John Cale where Gagarin contributed to his 1985 LP Artificial Intelligence (Beggars Banquet). Another Gagarin long term collaboration born out of his connections with the Manchester scene, was with world-beat pioneers Suns of Arqa, where he contributed to their 1987 album 7. This is a relationship that even today continues to bear fruit and his last work was contributing remixes to a remix album and in 2009 playing on and mixing new material for future release.

Post Nico's death, Gagarin remained a member of the Faction, who released two CD/LPs - Bag (Third Mind) and Faction (Third Mind), plus two 12" and perhaps most notably, the sound montage/collage titled Listen Buddy (Crook), which used vocal samples of the then PM Maggie Thatcher, and brought the group legal threats from Tory party central office. Aside this, he also played at this time on a 12" for the group Moontwist - Talking about the Weather (London). Post the break up of Faction, Gagarin then began another project named Sonexuno. Sonexuno released three 12" singles (and herein lieth the beginnings of Gagarin's own Geo records), one containing RH Kirk (ex Cabaret Voltaire) remixed versions of the song Alchemy on 12 " (Slaughterback), reissued with further remixes (on Yello's Solid Pleasure label), plus Claddach, the debut release on Geo. Sonexuno also performed as support to Cabaret Voltaire during the groups 1992 UK tour. Aside from his work with Sonexuno, Gagarin also concurrently become one third of the Anglo-Japanese ambient-electronica collaboration Mekong Zoo, who released one CD Minimal Dance (Wolf).

Ever in demand, around this time, Gagarin also worked as percussionist in Infidel - an ensemble created and lead by publicist/vocalist Nick Hobbs. Nicks involvement as UK Manager/Agent of with the seminal American band Pere Ubu then brought Gagarin to the attention of the Bands leader David Thomas, Over several years Gagarin collaborated with Thomas in various ways – live sound mixer, guest musician, remixer etc until being asked to become a full member of Pere Ubu for the theatrical piece and album Long Live Pere Ubu. Since then he has contributed to the two follow up albums Lady from Shanghai and Carnival of Souls as well as becoming an integral part of the live band on extensive European tours. Gagarin has used his Geo record label both as a base for his own solo output but also for some other projects he was involved with. One of these was the glitch pop group Raf & O whose debut EP - Has the Air Gone Walking (Geo) and album Giant in the Snow (Geo) both featured gagarin on elecotrinic percussion and were released on Geo. The other major project released via Geo and one that he remains deeply involved in is Roshi featuring Pars Radio, the band around talented Iranian singer/songwriter Roshi who have released two albums The Sky and the Caspian Sea and Three Almonds and a Walnut on Geo, as well as an EP And Stars and 7 “ single Don’t Breathe it to a Soul. RfPR have alse released an EP Mehregan on Stone Tape recordings.

A cassette release Outside Broadcast was released in 2014 through Tapeworm – a subsidiary of Touch records under Gagarin’s birth name of Graham Dowdall. Another on-going recording project is Low Bias with Mark Beazley from Rothko whose debut album The Oak and the Ash was released on Trace recordings. In 2015 Gagarin also contributed to a largescale remote band recording Some Some Unicorn which featured numerous well known improvisors and experimentors from across the country. Gagarin has released six albums under his own name through Geo – the eponymous Gagarin, Earthling, Ard Nev, Adaptogen, Biophilia and Aoticp as well as a 12” T150 , 7 “ Golden Cap and several download only releases. All current Geo releases are available from our distributor Kudos here. If you are interested in buying any earlier releases including one or two obscurities in the Geo vault then please get in touch.

Gagarin - the story remains to be told ...
community music
sound vision words