by K.M. Whitehouse
 
Gary Michael Langan was born on 11th May 1955 in London. From the age of seven he studied piano and sat through his Royal College exams. When he was around fourteen he started to go to sessions with his musician father, who used to play on programmes such as the BBC’s Music While You Work. It was at this time that he realised that he didn’t enjoy the performing side of things, but was more interested in the way that records were made, although he continued to play trumpet in dance and jazz bands until he left school at the age of seventeen.

He then got his first job at Trident Studios before the bosses realised he was too young. Disappointed by this Gary went to college for a year and got a degree in sound engineering before being offered a job at Sarm Studios by the owners after they met his father at a reception at the Dorchester Hotel. He accepted the job of tape op and worked with the likes of Gary Lyons, Mike Stone and Roy Thomas Baker. The first album he worked on was for Duane Eddy. He was also the tape op on Queen’s classic album A Night At The Opera where he worked on the infamous Bohemian Rhapsody and continued to work with them on their two follow-up albums. The first artist that saw him working as an assistant engineer was Lynsey de Paul, before going onto work with the Boomtown Rats.
 
After that Gary met Trevor Horn of the Buggles and engineered their first album, where he won the NME Engineer Of The Year Award for the track Video Killed The Radio Star. He continued to work with Horn, got involved with the Yes album Drama as well as with Dollar and ABC's The Lexicon Of Love. By this time he had became Horn's right hand man in  Horn’s production team which also included  Anne Dudley and J.J. Jeczalik. It was around this time that he became a freelance engineer and got introduced to Malcolm McLaren when Horn was producing his album Duck Rock. Gary went to South Africa, the USA with McLaren and Horn to recording everything he could to use on the album. After that came the Yes album 90125 which saw the engineer “seeing little green men crawling up the wall” due to boredom until one day the group scrapped a drum riff. Impressed with the tracjk he had the idea of sampling it on a Fairlight. With the help of Jeczalik they came up with a demo track that would later become known as Close (To The Edit) and thus the Art of Noise were created in early 1983. Due to the poor quality of the Fairlight it was Gary who boosted the sound using his engineering skills and brought the sound up to a high standard. The techniques used by both men created sounds that had never been heard on a record before and managed to baffle experienced sound engineers as to how their records were being made.
 
Because the Art of Noise was a part time project, Gary was able to co-produced ABC’s second album Beauty Stab. He also worked with numerous other artists either as a producer, engineer or remixer including Paul McCartney, Spandau Ballet, Billy Idol, Nik Kershaw, Scritti Politti, Jody Watley, Divinyls, The Dream Academy, Drum Theatre and The The. In addition to his duties as and engineer/producer Gary founded One Management in 1983 to look after engineers, producers and programmers before founding Metropolis Studios in Chiswick, London in 1985.
 
In 1987 Gary, Jeczalik, Dudley and Duane Eddy won a Grammy Award for the Art of Noise hit Peter Gunn from the previous year, but by this time he had moved on from the group but remained connected to it and his engineering duties were taken over by various close-circle engineers. For the remainder of the 1980s and throughout the 1990s, he continued to produce, engineer and remix for the likes of Public Image Ltd., Pepsi & Shirley, Then Jerico, Sigue Sigue Sputnkik, Jimmy Somerville, Belouis Some, Spear of Destiny, T’Pau, Yen, Propaganda, Voice of The Beehive, Pele, My Life Story, The Aloof, Hugh Cornwell (formerly of The Stranglers), Chris Hughes (a.k.a. Merrick, ex-Adam and The Ants), Big Country, Flowered Up, Jon Carin, Gay Dad and Hannah Jones to name but a few before going on to work with more diverse artists in the new millennium including James.
 
The 2000s have seen the engineer’s skills reach new heights after working with producer and orchestra leader Jeff Wayne. Wayne asked Gary to remix and restore Wayne’s 1978 classic masterpiece Jeff Wayne’s Musical Version Of The War Of The Worlds into new 5.1 surround sound mixes for the SACD reissue. The release of the boxset for the album contains a documentary DVD of the story of the making of the album that features Gary talking about various aspects of the album. In addition to that album, he was also involved in the making of the album, Jeff Wayne’s Muscial Version Of The War Of The Worlds – ULLAdubULLA II: The Remix Album. For the live tour he was appointed the Senior Sound Advisor, Senior Front of House engineer & Head of Sound which involved him designing the sound systems for each venue of the sold out 2006 shows. The show's cast featured Justin Hayward, Tara Blaise, Chris Thompson, Alexis James, Anna-Marie Wayne and Russell Watson with Wayne’s orchestra. A DVD of the Wembley Arena show was released including a behind the scenes documentary of the tour including sound checks for each member of the cast.
 
That same year saw Gary, Jeczalik, Dudley, Horn and Morley involved with making of the Art of Noise archive boxset, And What Have You Done With My Body, God? He also took part in some of the promotion work for it including contributing to the book that came with the set as well as radio interviews. Next up was yet another collaboration with Wayne on a new remastered version of Highlights From Jeff Wayne’s Musical Version Of The War Of The Worlds in 2007 before going on tour again with the show that played to sold out venues in China, Australia, New Zealand and ending at the O2 Arena at the end of that year.
 
In the past 30 years Gary has become on the countries most sort after enginner/producers. In 2008 he has produced the new album for ABC, teamed up once again with fellow ex-Art of Noise member Trevor Horn recording Escala, previously before that with Lisa Stansfield in 2004 and has taken on FOH duties for PALLADIUM. April 2009 saw him team up yet again with Horn and Anne Dudley when he was in charge of sound when ABC performed their classic The Lexicon Of Love album at the Royal Albert Hall.
 
In addition to his work already stated, he has also been involved with the soundtrack for the remake of the Magic Roundabout, The Roosters debut album and work on the research & development for the PSII game Play Mix. He is also the only member of the Art of Noise not to have made a solo album or become a member of another act since the Art of Noise. One thing is for sure, whatever projects Gary becomes involved with in the future, you can be sure it will sound fantastic.

© Copyright K.M. Whitehouse 2008-2009
 


 
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