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Meat Beat Manifesto, often shortened to Meat Beat or MBM, is an electronic music outfit originally consisting of Jack Dangers and Jonny Stephens formed in 1987 in Swindon, UK. This was also the hometown of the band XTC, who helped Meat Beat get started.
Dangers and Stephens left Perennial Divide in 1988 to record an album, but the tapes were destroyed in a studio fire before the album could be released. They then recorded the LP Storm The Studio, which got them pigeonholed as an industrial act. In response, they released 99%, which was more techno-influenced, in May 1990. In August of the same year, they released Armed Audio Warfare, which was an effort to re-create the lost tracks of the would-be debut album.
The band's live show was conceived as an intense audio-visual experience, with dancers, led by choreographer Marcus Adams, in costumes designed by artist Craig Morrison and video clips accompanying live instruments, sequenced electronic instruments, and live DJing. In the United States, they opened for Nine Inch Nails on their debut national tour in 1990. Despite his contributions being nonmusical in nature, Adams was credited as a full band member and appeared in many of the band's record sleeves and promo photos until the release of Satyricon in 1992. Adams also appeared in several of MBM's early videos, such as "Strapdown" and "Psyche-Out".
1992's Satyricon continued to show Meat Beat adopting a more mainstream electronic sound, crediting influences of such newly popular dance bands as Orbital, The Shamen, and The Orb, all of whom had either remixed or been remixed by MBM. The album produced the hits "Mindstream" and "Circles". However, "Original Control (Version 2)", renamed "I Am Electro" in later compilations, remains the best-known track from the album, featuring samples of recordings from the 1939 World's Fair exhibit Elektro The Robot, and was the opening song in MBM's 2005-2006 tour.
In 1994 Dangers relocated from England to San Francisco, resulting in Stephens' departure from the band. Dangers continued MBM from his new home, releasing the double album Subliminal Sandwich in 1996. While this album represented MBM's major-label debut on Trent Reznor's Nothing Records, it failed to achieve the critical and commercial successes of previous releases.
In 1997 Dangers recruited drummer Lynn Farmer and guitarist Jon Wilson to record and release Actual Sounds + Voices in 1998, which found the group's earlier flirtations with jazz fusion featured more prominently; the record included appearances by saxophonist Bennie Maupin. The album yielded the single "Prime Audio Soup" which was featured in the film The Matrix. While Jon Wilson left the band prior to the 1998-99 tour, Farmer remains with the band as of Spring 2007. Wilson was replaced by former Consolidated programmer Mark Pistel, who also remains a contributing member.
In 2002 Meat Beat released RUOK?, which demonstrated great steps in the evolution of their sound and prominently featured Dangers' newly acquired EMS Synthi 100, as well as guest contributions from turntablist Z-Trip and The Orb's Alex Paterson. In 2003 they released a remix album for Storm The Studio, followed by ...In Dub, a remix album of RUOK?.
At the Center, the latest MBM album, was released in May 29, 2005. A part of independent label Thirsty Ear's Blue Series, the album is a collaboration between Jack Dangers and jazz musicians Peter Gordon, Dave King, and Craig Taborn. It has been well-received by many critics, with one reviewer calling it "one of the best albums of the year in any genre."
From 2005 through 2006, MBM launched a worldwide tour, their first since 1999, making use of video sampling technology that allowed the band to trigger video clips in realtime, on two large screens positioned stage front, while the band performed either sidestage or behind the screens. Many of the video clips used were the sources of samples previously used in various MBM tracks, such as footage of Elektro the Robot and clips from films such as Head and Dark Star. Live video footage of the band performing was projected onscreen alongside the triggered samples.
In May, 2007 Jack Dangers released a double CD of old Meat Beat Manifesto demos, as well as an instrumental version of the Perennial Divide album, Purge, entitled Archive Things 1982-88 / Purged. Currently MBM is mixing their 9th studio album Autoimmune, a double-album which is expected for release in Summer 2007. According to the band's website, Z-Trip is again collaborating on several tracks.