The Death and Beauty Foundation or D.B.F. was initiated on 29th April 1982 from the final year degree show at the Royal College of Art in London. The original line up was Val Denham, Mike Wells, Nick Coombe, Stuart Jane, Elita Denham and Antal Nemeth. Originally the D.B.F. was conceived as a performance/action group with experimental sound.
As the group progressed the sound became the most defining aspect of their creative output. Visuals were still evident to some degree, but, had obviously receded due to the dominance of the ‘music’. With Val Denham on vocals, lyrics, harmonica and other various instruments and Oli Novadnieks on guitar; various friends were roped in as occasional musical cohorts in their venture.The first side of The Death & Beauty Foundation double album highlights various tracks taken from “The Darlington Tapes”, recorded by Val Denham and Andrew McKenzie (of the Hafler Trio) in 1982.
The Death and Beauty Foundation were adopted by a small group of experimental performers that orbited the Industrial ideology of Throbbing Gristle, bands such as Coil, Pure, Ake, Ramleh and Dogs Blood Order. The D.B.F. performed at the legendary Equinox Event with these bands at the London Musicians Cooperative in London 1983.However, the D.B.F. never really considered themselves to be Industrial noise merchants at all. They were merely welcomed by these radical musicians because of their perverse and somewhat confrontational atonal sound art. To be honest they weren’t even that atonal or abstract anyway, often veering off into classic R and B riffs, performing distorted cover versions of songs such as Working in a Coal Mine, Heartbreak Hotel, Light my Fire and Tomorrow Never Knows in an almost minimalist hysterical fashion.In fact the Death and Beauty Foundation were really avant-garde pop brutalists who liked to have a good time. Much of these rare recordings can be heard on this double album, some tracks may even sound as though they have been recorded incorrectly. They haven’t, it is all intentional, and the awkward sounds were there from the beginning. It becomes obvious that The Death & Beauty Foundation had a sense of humour, a trait that sometimes seemed to be lacking in their Industrial allies at the time.