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LFO was a British electronic music act formed in 1988 consisting of Mark Bell and Gez Varley. Named after the initialism for the synthesizer function low-frequency oscillation, they released their acclaimed debut LP Frequencies in 1991 on Sheffield label Warp. After Varley left the group in 1996, Bell continued solo to release Advance (1996) and Sheath (2003).[1] Bell died in October 2014, effectively ending the project.[2] LFO are considered to be pioneers of the bass-heavy "bleep techno" style.[3] AllMusic called them "one of British techno's most important, agenda-setting groups."[4]

Mark Bell (LFO) on stage in Moscow.JPG
Mark Bell (LFO) on stage in Arma 17, Moscow, on 30 March 2013.
Background information
OriginLeeds, England, United Kingdom
Years active
  • 1988–1996
  • 2003–2014
WebsiteLFO at Warp
Past members



Varley and Bell met while studying at Leeds and gave their first track, the eponymous "LFO", to Nightmares on Wax. The popularity of the demo in clubs led to the track being released by the Sheffield-based Warp label in 1990, and it was a Top 20 hit in the U.K., reaching number 12 in the singles charts in July.[5]

In 1991, LFO released the debut album, Frequencies.[6]

DJ Martin (Martin Williams) is credited as a cowriter and coproducer of the track "LFO" but was not a member of the group.[7] Mark Bell explains:

"We gave a tape of our recordings to DJ Martin who helped loads with arranging our tracks so it'd work on the dancefloor. We'd just been messing around with drum machines since we were like thirteen, tapping away at them like they were arcade games, making tapes to play our mates at school. Anyway, DJ Martin would play our cassettes in his sets and people would go mental - in a good way - cos they were totally raw."[8]

Later signed to Tommy Boy Records in the U.S., the duo remixed Afrika Bambaataa's "Planet Rock", as well as songs from Björk, Radiohead, Depeche Mode, Laurent Garnier, and The Sabres of Paradise.

In 1996, LFO released the second album, Advance.[9] Varley left the group in 1996 and formed Feedback with Simon Hartley (a.k.a. Wild Planet). Mark Bell produced Homogenic with Björk and Exciter with Depeche Mode. Bell performed with Björk on her 1997 Homogenic tour and 2007/2008 Volta tour.

In 2003, LFO released the third album, Sheath.[10]

In 2009 the Warp20 (Recreated) compilation featured covers of two early LFO songs, "LFO" by Luke Vibert and "What is House? (LFO Remix)" by Autechre. The original version of "LFO", albeit in the Leeds Warehouse Mix, featured on Warp's 10th anniversary album Warp 10+2: Classics 89–92.

LFO's track Freak was used in the opening title sequence for Gaspar Noé's 2009 film Enter the Void.




  • What Is House? EP (1992) No. 62 UK – January 1992


  • "LFO" (1990) No. 12 UK – July 1990
  • "We Are Back" (1991) No. 47 UK – July 1991
  • "Tied Up" (1994) No. 99 UK – December 1994
  • "Freak" (2003)[11] No. 79 UK – September 2003


  1. ^ "Warp Records confirm the death of LFO's Mark Bell". NME. 13 October 2014. Retrieved 6 August 2017.
  2. ^ "Warp Records confirm the death of LFO's Mark Bell". NME. 13 October 2014. Retrieved 6 August 2017.
  3. ^ "Warp Records confirm the death of LFO's Mark Bell". NME. 13 October 2014. Retrieved 6 August 2017.
  4. ^ LFO at AllMusic
  5. ^ LFO at AllMusic
  6. ^ "Mark Bell of LFO, RIP". BrooklynVegan. 13 October 2014. Retrieved 6 August 2017.
  7. ^ "LFO - Frequencies". Discogs. Retrieved 21 May 2018.
  8. ^ Unpublished interview with LFO Archived 3 December 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ "Leeds' Musical Heritage: 1990s". BBC. 21 October 2008. Retrieved 6 August 2017.
  10. ^ "LFO's Mark Bell: 10 essential tracks". The Guardian. 14 October 2014. Retrieved 6 August 2017.
  11. ^ a b c Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 309. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.

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