Long-running San Francisco sound pioneers Negativland announced some sad news yesterday (Jan. 21). Former member Ian Allen died on Jan. 17 at the age of 56.
According to a Facebook post on the band’s page, Allen died from “unexpected complications and infections following heart valve replacement surgery at Stanford Hospital in California.” He is survived by his brother, Pyke Allen.
Allen was a regular contributor to Negativland from 1981 to 1987, the year they released their most prominent album, Escape From Noise.
“Ian struggled with various serious health issues his entire adult life,” the post explains, which eventually kept him from regular membership in the band.
The obituary continues: “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.”
Negativland formed in 1979 and liked to call their cut-and-paste music “culture jamming.” For interpreting culture through samples and borrowed sound (which eventually got them into legal trouble), they were praised for being years ahead of the mash-up and remix artists that came after. Their last release was 2014’s It’s All In Your Head.