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Pop experimentalists I Start Counting favored English artiness with a sense of fun. Unlike many other electronic groups from the '80s, I Start Counting never settled into a single formula; the band continued to tinker with its sound, shifting effortlessly from light to dark, accessible to avant-garde. I Start Counting was formed in the early '80s by David Baker and Simon Leonard. In 1984, the duo was signed by Mute and released its debut single, the quirky "Letters to a Friend." "Letters to a Friend" easily distinguished itself from the glut of synthesizer-laden records from the mid-'80s with Baker's distinctly British talk-sing style and the psychedelic feel of the keyboards. The follow-up, 1985's "Still Smiling," was hailed as another instant classic from the band. Writing and recording songs from their basement, Baker and Leonard finally released an LP, My Translucent Hands, a year later. I Start Counting gained a significant cult following in the U.K. and the U.S., especially among American suburban teens who were discovering Depeche Mode and Kraftwerk in dance clubs. 1989's Fused, heavily influenced by house music, was the last album Baker and Leonard made under the I Start Counting name. Switching their appellation to Fortran 5, the duo ventured further into their bizarre imaginations, sampling the most unlikely of sources and challenging listeners with their unpredictable adventures in electronics.
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