Anne Dudley, Gary Langan, and Paul Morley were members of producer Trevor Horn's in-house studio band in the early '80s before they formed the Art of Noise, a techno-pop group whose music was an amalgam of studio gimmickry, tape splicing, and synthesized beats. The Art of Noise took material from a variety of sources: hip-hop, rock, jazz, R&B, traditional pop, found sounds, and noise all worked their way into the group's distinctly postmodern soundscapes.
Dudley was the center of the group, having arranged and produced material for Frankie Goes to Hollywood, ABC, and Paul McCartney before forming the Art of Noise. The trio signed with Trevor Horn's ZTT label, releasing their first EP, Into Battle With the Art of Noise, in 1983. The following year, the group released the full-length (Who's Afraid Of?) The Art of Noise!, which featured the hit single "Close (To the Edit)."
After "Close (To the Edit)," the group parted ways with Horn and ZTT, releasing In Visible Silence in 1986; the album included the U.K. Top Ten hit "Peter Gunn," which featured Duane Eddy on guitar. Re-works of the Art of Noise, an album of remixes and live tracks, was released that same year. In No Sense? Nonsense!, released in 1987, saw the band experimenting with orchestras and choirs, as well as horns and rock bands. The next year, the Art of Noise released a greatest-hits collection, The Best of the Art of Noise, which featured their collaboration with Tom Jones on Prince's "Kiss."
Below the Waste (1990) captured the band experimenting with world music; it received a lukewarm critical and commercial reception. The following year, a low-key remix album directed by Killing Joke's Youth called The Ambient Collection appeared. Later in the year, the Art of Noise broke up. Dudley eventually worked with Killing Joke's Jaz Coleman and Phil Collins. Horn, Dudley, and Morley reunited in 1999 for a new album, The Seduction of Claude Debussy. Kevin Godley and Lol Creme were added to the lineup. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine