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'Greedy Baby ' Interview: Plaid's Saga of Warped Patience

Author: Andrez Bergen
Saturday, June 24, 2006
If he's to believed, Ed Handley's latest project drained not only his financial coffers and those of his mates, but also a good deal of their combined creativity - and siphoned off some of the patience of British electronic label Warp Records as well.

We're talking about the aptly titled opus Greedy Baby, a combination CD/DVD set due for release next month, after almost four years in the works.

"It got to a point where we really didn't think it was going to be finished. It proved to be expensive to make, and it was just one of those things where the people involved started to lose track," Handley admits down the line from his studio in England, where he finally just wrapped up the release with Andy Turner - his partner in musical outfit Plaid - and their visual accomplice Bob Garoc.

"Longer than three years," muses Handley in confessional manner. "It was never supposed to be just another Plaid album - it was something we were doing together with Bob. That's one of the reasons it took forever, but it really is a collaboration."

Luckily, the people at Warp already know a thing or two about patience. The label has had to deal with certain other members of their musical roster who compete for the role of enfant terrible of the electronic fraternity - people like Prefuse 78 and Squarepusher.

The far less egocentric Handley and Turner have stuck with the label for a decade and released several albums through Warp, of which 'Not For Threes' (1997), 'Restproof Clockwork' two years later, and - arguably their best album - 'Double Figure' (2001) are the stand-outs.

While ostensibly an instrumental band, Plaid have also tried their hand working with vocalists like Nicolette and Bjork, and both contributed to 'Not For Threes'.

Greedy Baby steers away from vocal cords and peruses instead the terrain of the audio-visual mix. It's granted Plaid and Garoc a leave of absence from generic club gigging, and landed them a bunch of performances at digital art festas like London's Ether Festival. Last year they found themselves on Europe's largest IMAX screen for the Optronica film and music festival.

Along the way, Handley says that his and Turner's working relationship with Bob - and their combined artistic entity known as Greedy Baby - matured over time like a cellared cab sav.

"The whole project was always about the video, and it was quite conceptual when we first thought it up," he recalls. "I suppose it's a journal of what we've been doing over the past three years. Bob got to know our music pretty well, and we like the way he doesn't go too hi-tech. We don't feel like our music goes so well with the latest Flash animation. We really respect what Bob does - it has a good feel to it."

Plaid are currently gigging internationally as part of the i-Warp tour, alongside a bunch of other respected Warp people like Luke Vibert and LFO - not to mention label guv'nor Steve Beckett.

Just don't expect to hear a Greedy Baby live showcase.

"Bob's doing visuals, but we're a lot more improvisational than we have been in the past," Handley says.

"We actually play very little off the album this time around - instead we play a lot of newer material and stuff we've been developing live."

Is that a hint of relief in his tone-

'Greedy Baby' will be released June 28, 2006