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South London, England's Spacek was the definitive example of the blurred line between trip-hop and R&B, and major (if unwitting) instigators of alternative R&B before the term was commonly used. The trio formed in the mid-'90s; bassist, vocalist, and head songwriter Steve Spacek (born Steve White) was introduced to guitarist Edmund Cavill through a mutual friend, and former MC Morgan Zarate (aka Morgan Spacek) was discovered through Spacek's management as a fitting drummer for the outfit. By the end of 1998, the group was signed to Island Blue in the U.K. Working out of the Clapham studio that Steve Spacek built after receiving a publishing deal in the early '90s (he produced and wrote for Stex, among others), the group generated a fair amount of hype during the latter half of 1999, when a white label of their first single, "Eve," circulated among DJs. Featuring a lush beat, a subtle but melodic bassline, gliding strings, and Steve Spacek's silky vocals, it became obvious that the their desire to "bring soul music and R&B up to date" would be fulfilled. The group released a pair of albums: Curvatia (Island, 2001) and the comparatively stripped-down Vintage Hi-Tech (Studio !K7, 2003). Steve Spacek subsequently went solo under his own name, used the aliases Blackpocket and Beat Spacek, and recorded with Mark Pritchard as Africa HiTech. Zarate was active with solo releases on Hyperdub and a partnership with A-Cyde as We Are Shining. ~ Andy Kellman

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