Published Jan 21, 2015Ian Allen, onetime member of avant-garde culture critics Negativland, passed away last week from complications during a heart valve replacement surgery. He was 56 years old.
The news was delivered today (January 21) on Negativland's Facebook page, where the band explained that Allen had died last Saturday (January 17). A surgery had been done at Stanford Hospital in California, but "unexpected complications and infections" stemming from the procedure led to the musician's passing. It had been added that Allen faced "various serious health issues his whole adult life."
The band wrote: "For those who knew him, he was a visionary, magical, impish, playful and eccentric thinker, a true genius who was light years ahead of all of us with his ideas about art, sound, society, and technology. He will be dearly missed."
Allen played with Negativland between 1981 and 1987. The Bay Area multimedia outfit noted the impact he had on the collective, having introduced tape splicing techniques and four-channel tape loop procedures to the group's sound collages. He was also integral to band's concept of "culture jamming," and helped start up Over the Edge radio program with DJ Don Joyce. According to the band, without Allen "there would be no group as we know it today."
"He was part of creating Negativland's points LP in 1981, introducing to the rest of us, on the track 'BABAC D'BABC,' the idea of using tape splicing not just as a way to make loops and connect tracks, but as a compositional tool unto itself," the act explained of his visionary contributions to Negativland. "This revelation led to the exploration of this technique full-on in 1983's A Big 10-8 Place and he played a major role in the creation of that record and its unique packaging."
Allen is survived by his brother, Pyke Allen.