Information Society

From Academic Kids

This article is about the band. For the general concept it was named after, see information society.

Information Society (aka InSoc) was a U.S. band from Minneapolis, Minnesota, consisting of Kurt Harland (aka Kurt Valaquen), Paul Robb, James Cassidy, and Amanda Kramer. Their breakout hit was 1988's "What's On Your Mind (Pure Energy)", a dance hit which included a sample of Mr. Spock (Leonard Nimoy) from Star Trek, saying "pure energy," and opened with a sample of Dr. McCoy (DeForest Kelley), also from Star Trek, saying, "It's worked so far, but we're not out yet!"

The self-titled debut album Information Society (1988) also had another hit, "Walking Away", and a cover from ABBA's "Lay All Your Love On Me". The disc was one of the few to use CD+G, which included digital graphics on the compact disc version in addition to the music.

The second release, Hack, wasn't as powerful, but had a small hit with "Think". Kurt was also the owner of the heavily-modified art car featured on the cover of Hack, eventually sold to a friend at Burning Man in the mid 1990s. The car sported a functioning ranging laser, among other unusual features.

The third release, Peace & Love, Inc., proved to be more powerful, although their spotlight had vanished. Their first single "Peace & Love Inc." reached #1 on the Billboard Dance Chart.

The fourth album, Don't Be Afraid, done by Kurt Harland alone, is more industrial-driven. One notable instance of such play with computer-related materials included both the complete music video collection to date contained on a second CD provided with Don't Be Afraid and a carefully-orchestrated digital scavenger hunt culminating in the discovery of a bonus track called "White Roses". The scavenger hunt began with decoding a modem's audio signal recorded at the end of the first CD of the Don't Be Afraid album, which pointed the way to a website. There is also a cover included of Gary Numan's "Are 'Friends' Electric".

Paul Robb's influences in earlier albums ranged more to the prototypal hip-hop and house music, and he was integral to the early operations of Tommy Boy Records. Amanda Kramer has also been a member of the Golden Palominos and 10,000 Maniacs.

Amanda left the group before the second album Hack (1990), Paul and James followed after Peace & Love, Inc. (1992), and Kurt was the only remaining member left to record Don't Be Afraid in 1997, which was produced in part out of his car. During the course of the four albums and about a dozen remix singles from them, Information Society's sound went from more electronic pop music to a darker industrial type, though they will always be remembered for their first hit song and the cardboard guitars they wielded in its music video. In 2001, Greatest Hits: Strange Haircuts / Cardboard Guitars / and Computer Samples was released including all the hits from 1988 to 1992. Information Society has no plans to work on new material.




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