Published Jul 13, 2016Steven Young, the UK electronic pop pioneer that founded '80s outfits Colourbox and M|A|R|R|S, has died. Details surrounding his passing have yet to be revealed in full, but the death was confirmed today (July 13) through the musician's former label 4AD.
A true pioneer, Steven Young (Colourbox / M/A/R/R/S) has sadly passed away. Our thoughts are with Martyn and family. pic.twitter.com/48MZYGUl5P— 4AD (@4AD_Official) July 13, 2016
Young founded Colourbox in 1982 with brother Martyn Young. The band would release the dub- and dance music-inspired "Breakdown"/"Tarantula" 12-inch that same year through 4AD, with Debian Curry handling lead vocals on both tracks. The next year, they reinterpreted and re-recorded both songs for a second 12-inch release, this time with Lorita Grahame singing on the tracks.
Colourbox would issue a self-titled EP in 1983 and a self-titled full-length in 1985. By then, the group had perfected a melding of electronic pop tones with R&B-modelled vocal hooks and various movie dialogue-scouring snippets. The band's soccer-appreciating "The Official Colourbox World Cup Theme" would follow in 1986, though the song was not actually officially sanctioned by the tournament itself.
The early part of the '80s also found Young contributing to 4AD supergroup This Mortal Coil's It'll End in Tears debut from 1984, as well as 1986 follow-up Filigree & Shadow. The latter LP also featured a chamber music revamp of "Tarantula," which was not performed by any members of Colourbox.
In 1987, Young and his brother teamed up with A.R. Kane members Alex Ayuli and Rudy Tambala, as well as Russell Smith, to form M|A|R|R|S. Together, they would issue the landmark "Pump Up the Volume" single, their only commercial release.
While it was a big hit, legal disputes led to some of the samples from the original version of the song being removed from later pressings. It was nominated for Best Pop Instrumental Performance at the Grammys in 1989 but lost.
Below, you'll find streams of Colourbox's original version of "Tarantula," as well as M|A|R|R|S's "Pump Up the Volume."