Stress Jingle/Station ID #24 : Martin Bramah

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Martin Bramah is a British musician best known as a founder member of The Fall, Blue Orchids and Factory Star. Bramah met Mark E. Smith and original keyboard player Una Baines towards the end of 1975. Originally, he was slated to be the group's vocalist and Smith was going to be the guitarist, but then they swapped roles. Apart from The Fall's early singles, Bramah also plays guitar on the band's debut, Live at the Witch Trials, most of which he co-wrote with Smith.

In 1979, he left the band and alongside Una Baines formed Blue Orchids (Mancunian poet and recording artist John Cooper Clarke came up with the group's name). They signed with Rough Trade Records in 1980 and their first singles (produced by Mayo Thompson of The Red Krayola) drew comparisons to the Velvet Underground's sound. Ironically, a year later the Blue Orchids would become the backing band for former Velvets singer Nico during her tour of Europe. The group's debut LP, The Greatest Hit (Money Mountain), was released in 1981 to excellent reviews. The Blue Orchids' uncompromising sound - half-sung or spoken lyrics, drugged-out keyboards, jagged guitars - made them favorites on the UK independent charts. The band split up in 1982, briefly reforming in 1985 for a further single. After this Bramah formed a new group named The Thirst with ex-Fall drummer Karl Burns.

In 1989, Bramah unexpectedly returned to The Fall, taking the place of Brix Smith who had recently left, to participate in the recording of Extricate. Following this he formed a fresh incarnation of Blue Orchids, releasing new albums and EPs, as well as overseeing reissues of the group's earliest material before becoming a solo artist in 2008, releasing the folk-influenced The Battle of Twisted Heel. In early 2009, he formed a new group, Factory Star, featuring fellow ex-Fall members Steve Hanley on bass and Paul Hanley on drums. Bramah reformed Blue Orchids in 2012. A second Factory Star album New Sacral was released in 2012. 

"Post-punk has been many things, but rarely beautiful. The Blue Orchids, out of Manchester, turned its thrift shop formula of damaged guitars, stuttering rhythms, badly-tuned keyboards and corrosive visions into something as rare and unlikely and delicately gorgeous as the band's name-sake."
Jennifer Kelly, DUSTED Magazine



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