“The Horse Hospital is delighted to announce a new exhibition detailing Thomas Leer and Robert Rental’s work and legacy, coinciding with a long-awaited reissue of their influential 1979 album, The Bridge”.
“The Bridge spans the gulf between punk and electro. It’s as good as the best of ‘79 and still potent, still the future.” – Ian Rankin
“The Bridge remains a record for the here and now, just as it did there and then.” – Karl O’Connor (Regis / Downwards Records)
“This a record way ahead of its time, made by two pioneers of sound with ingenuity, basic electronics and a world of young minds to distort. Love it!” – Clint Mansell
The Grey Area of Mute have announced details of a long awaited reissue of Thomas Leer and Robert Rental’s influential 1979 album, The Bridge – on vinyl for the first time since its original release, and on CD for the first time since The Grey Area of Mute’s release 30 years ago. This new reissue will be available on limited edition white vinyl and CD, both featuring new sleevenotes, on 28 January 2022: The Bridge
The reissue of Leer and Rental’s sole collaboration will coincide with ‘From The Port To The Bridge’, an exhibition detailing the duo’s work and legacy, due to run at The Horse Hospital in London from 21 January through to 10 February 2022.
Thomas Leer and Robert Rental, both from Port Glasgow in Scotland, were at the vanguard of a DIY electronic scene that went on to influence and inform the 80s synth-pop movement. After self-releasing two solo 7” singles, they came to the attention of Throbbing Gristle and signed to their label, Industrial Records. Their one and only collaboration, The Bridge, was originally released in 1979, the first non-TG / associated release for the label.
Recorded at Rental’s home over two intense weeks using equipment provided by Throbbing Gristle (with only rudimentary explanation of how to use it), their groundbreaking album went to #9 in the UK Independent Chart and its influence was cited by a number of electronic musicians at the time, including John Foxx, Matt Johnson (The The) and ABC.
Robert Rental (who sadly died in 2000), went on to collaborate with The Normal – Daniel Miller and Rental’s live album, Live at West Runton Pavilion, 6-3-79, was released in 1980 by Rough Trade – released a single on Mute, ‘Double Heart’ / ‘On Location’ in 1980 and produced music for the Comic Strip’s A Fistful of Traveller’s Cheques, before retiring from the industry. Thomas Leer went on to release albums on Cherry Red and Arista, formed Act with Claudia Brücken (formerly of Propaganda) in the late 80s who released on Trevor Horn’s ZTT label. After a hiatus, he re-emerged with a series of releases from 2001, and currently lives in Greenock.
‘From The Port To The Bridge’ originally exhibited in 2018 in Greenock, the neighbouring town to the Leer and Rental’s birthplace. The exhibition will include photographs, equipment (including the EDP WASP which is ever-present on The Bridge), ephemera, cuttings and film to tell the story of Leer and Rental’s work.
The Horse Hospital is at Colonnade Bloomsbury, London, WC1N 1HX.The exhibition runs from 21 Jan 2022 – 10 Feb 2022 open midday until 6pm Monday until Saturday. Admission is free
More details of The Bridge