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Between the years 1976 and 2000 — years that bridge the gap in time from Howard Devoto's departure from Buzzcocks to the year in which Devoto and fellow Buzzcocks founder Pete Shelley began working together for a second time — Shelley, as it is well-known, continued with Buzzcocks on through the next century with a breakup period that lasted most of the '80s. He also made some solo records and was involved with a short-lived band called Zip. Devoto formed Magazine after parting ways with Shelley in 1977 (after the release of Buzzcocks' infamous Spiral Scratch EP), a band that made three excellent post-punk records. After Magazine's end in 1981, Devoto briefly went solo and busied himself for a brief spate in the late '80s and early '90s as one half of the duo Luxuria. After that, he was perfectly content to leave music and work at a photo agency.
On September 2, 2000, at London's ICA, Shelley and Devoto opened for Goldfrapp. Billed as Buzzkunst (a sly twist on the duo's old band's name, though "kunst" translates to "art" in German and is not anatomy-related) the duo played a brief set of four new songs for a small number of people who had heard about the performance only a few days prior through Buzzcocks and Magazine websites. Reviews of the show were positive, remarking that the electronics-heavy music made a push forward and not a step backwards. With no intent to revisit past glories, Shelley and Devoto continued to write and record new material, leading to the release of Buzzkunst in early 2002. At some point prior to its release, Shelley and Devoto decided to call their pairing ShelleyDevoto. Meanwhile, Shelley continued to keep Buzzcocks afloat, while Devoto apparently kept his day job.