With its name culled from an Italian Futurist manifesto, Art of Noise approached pop from a distinctly postmodern slant. Using the studio as their tool, these three producers/programmers/arrangers were virtually anonymous; star power, when called for, was imported. Dudley, formerly a producer for Paul McCartney
and Frankie Goes to Hollywood, joined up with Jeczalik and Langan as part of Trevor Horn's innovative production team in the early '80s. Under Horn's auspices, Art of Noise was formed to fashion state-of-the-art dance instrumentals. "Beat Box" and "Close (to the Edit)" - with their audacious and influential mixture of treated musical textures, found sounds, and overdriven disco rhythms - became popular on both sides of the Atlantic.
Breaking away from Horn, Art of Noise recruited rock & roll guitar pioneer Duane Eddy to update his 1960 hit "Peter Gunn" (#50, 1986); the song won a 1986 Grammy
for Best Rock Instrumental Performance. The video for "Paranoimia" (#34, 1986) incorporated computer-generated TV character Max Headroom; Art of Noise also contributed to the Headroom television series. Eschewing any pretense of aesthetic purity, the group began doing considerable advertising work for Revlon, Swatch, and Barclays' Bank, among others. In July 1986 Art of Noise toured for the first time, appearing in the U.S., Japan, and at a solitary British performance. The next year the group worked on the soundtrack to the film adaptation of Dragnet. A remake of Prince's "Kiss" (#31, 1988) featuring '60s pop icon Tom Jones helped revive Jones' career. Other left-of-center recordings followed, including "Yebo" (#63 U.K., 1989), which featured South African singers Mahlathini and the Mahotella Queens. By the turn of the decade the three were concentrating on individual projects, and Art of Noise dissolved. Throughout the '90s, the group enjoyed a kind of vicarious fame, its music frequently sampled by other artists and its sound recognized as seminal by hip-hoppers, minimalist composers, and ambient musicians. Paul Morley and Anne Dudley reunited in 1999 to release, along with Trevor Horn and Lol Creme of 10cc, The Seduction of Claude Debussy, an homage to the 19th Century French composer. Mixing dance versions of Debussy's music with lush orchestration, Art of Noise drew parallels between the classical music innovator and their own pioneering.