Brett Wickens & Roger Humphreys
CERAMIC HELLO was a duo from Burlington, Ontario, formed by Brett Wickens in 1980 after leaving Spoons. He teamed up with Roger Humphreys, who added a more classical bent to the minimal synthesizer tunes (in the mould of John Foxx and Mute Records).
Their first release was the single "Climatic Nouveaux / Theatre Matrix" (MAN003) on Mannequin Records in 1980, followed quickly by the album "The Absence Of A Canary" (MAN LP1), which included the single's A-side. The 1000 copies have become a collector's item, so much so that in 2006 the German label Vinyl On Demand produced a two disc re-issue named "The Absence Of A Canary V1.1". The original LP has sold on eBay for up to US$350.
The first two sides consisted of the album as originally issued. Sides C and D contained eight track demos Wickens prepared while in England for a never-issued second album (recorded between 1981 and 1983). Additionally "Theatre Matrix" and demos for a track from a Wickens/Jah Wobble collaboration 12" ("Between Two Frequencies") and a song from the collaboration The Partnership ("Sampling The Blast Furnace") were included. The version of "Sampling The Blast Furnace" that's included on The Absence Of A Canary V1.1 is a demo recorded in a studio run by William Orbit in London. Orbit also produced a 24-track version of the song with Andy McCluskey from OMD on vocals, which was never commercially released due to contractual issues with Virgin Records.
Currently Wickens and Humphreys have re-united and are working on a new album with the working title "Daisy Cutter".
Wickens lives in Northern California and is a partner in the design firm Ammunition. Wickens' design career paralleled his musical career in the 1980s, when he was in partnership with Peter Saville and designed dozens of LP covers for Peter Gabriel, New Order, Joy Division, Ultravox and others.