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Music / John Foxx

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John Foxx (born Dennis Leigh) is a musician, artist and teacher from Lancashire, England.

He was the original singer for Ultravox from 1973-1979 before Midge Ure's arrival in which he and the band pioneered portable synths in Punk Rock and New Wave Music that wrote the blueprint for The '80s (and Ultravox's later success). After he left, he began an acclaimed solo career that has encompassed harsh and minimalist Synth-Pop, romantic New Wave, and Ambient. He has also recorded albums with Louis Gordon, Robin Guthrie, and formed the House Music band Nation 12 in 1990, and analogue synth band John Foxx and the Maths in 2009 with electronic musician Benge.

Select Discography

With Ultravox

Solo and Collaborations

  • Metamatic (1980)
  • The Garden (1981)
  • The Golden Section (1983)
  • In Mysterious Ways (1985)
  • Cathedral Oceans (1997)
  • Shifting City (1997) - with Louis Gordon
  • The Pleasures of Electricity (2001) - with Louis Gordon
  • Cathedral Oceans II (2003)
  • Crash and Burn (2003) - with Louis Gordon
  • Translucence/Drift Music (2003) - with Harold Budd
  • Cathedral Oceans III (2005)
  • Electrofear (2005) - with Nation 12, compilation of recordings from 1990-1991
  • Tiny Colour Movies (2006)
  • From Trash (2006) - with Louis Gordon
  • Sideways (2006) - with Louis Gordon
  • Mirrorball (2009) - with Robin Guthrie

John Foxx and the Maths

  • Interplay (2011)
  • The Shape of Things (2011)
  • Evidence (2012)
  • The Machine (2017)
  • Howl (2020)

Behind The Trope Glass, No One Sees You:

  • Design Student's Orgasm: Being a graphic designer himself, his album covers can sometimes be awash with color and detail, especially his ambient albums like Cathedral Oceans.
  • Face on the Cover: Metamatic and The Golden Section feature shots of John.
  • Minimalistic Cover Art:
    • Crash and Burn is a grayscale shot of a single eye, taken from a close-up used in the RKO film The Spiral Staircase.
    • The Maths' art as designed by Jonathon Barnbrook is stark, usually composed of just one tri-colored emblem on a black background.
  • New Sound Album:
    • His first solo album after leaving Ultravox, Metamatic, was a gritty, stark, minimalist Synth-Pop album more akin to Gary Numan's The Pleasure Principle than the New Wave they were known for.
    • The Garden returned to the romantic New Wave of Ultravox's Systems of Romance.
    • Cathedral Oceans began his long-running series of ambient albums, eschewing song structure for washes of sound and Gregorian chant.
  • Revisiting the Roots: His albums with Louis Gordon and The Maths return to the minimalist, analogue Synth-Pop of Metamatic. Howl goes even further back to his noisy Post-Punk days with Ultravox, reuniting with Systems of Romance/The Garden guitarist Robin Simon.
  • Robot or Spaceman Alter Ego: He often writes from the perspective of "The Quiet Man", a detached, not-quite-human variant of this trope. The Quiet Man is visualized on the cover of the "Miles Away" single as an invisible man in a suit and tie.
  • Silly Love Songs: The Garden through In Mysterious Ways have many grandly romantic songs like "Europe After the Rain" and "My Wild Love". Averted by Metamatic, which Foxx intentionally wrote without any love songs, inspired by The Who doing the same.
  • Stage Names: His real name is Dennis Leigh, and he originally developed "John Foxx" as a persona that was everything he wasn't as a performer and artist.
  • Title Track:
    • The Garden, In Mysterious Ways, Cathedral Oceans, Shifting City, Crash and Burn, From Trash, Interplay, The Machine ("The Ghost in the Machine"), Howl.
    • "Systems of Romance" was intended to be this for the Ultravox album of the same name, but Foxx saved it for later due to the original missing an instrumental section.