The Higher Intelligence Agency (or just Higher Intelligence Agency) was formed in 1992 by Bobby Bird in Birmingham, England. Bobby Bird remains the main creative force behind the Higher Intelligence Agency, occasionally joined by co-conspirator Dave Wheels.
The Higher Intelligence Agency originated as a live experiment at founder Bird's Oscillate parties, which also played host to other electronic artists such as Autechre, Orbital, and Scanner early on in their careers. They released their first track (Ketamine Entity) on the Beyond label in 1992, packaged as part of Ambient Dub Volume 1: The Big Chill. In 1993, aside from releasing other tracks (such as Speedlearn) as part of compilations, the Higher Intelligence Agency released their first album, Colourform, also on Beyond. Needless to say, the album was quite well received and the Higher Intelligence Agency started their tour within the United Kingdom.
Aside from touring and doing a commission piece for the Musée Lilim in Carcassonne, France, 1994 saw the release of Reform, an EP on Beyond. It contained four tracks by four artists (A Positive Life, Autechre, Irresistible Force, and Pentatonik, respectively) that were "reformations" of tracks by the Higher Intelligence Agency. While the tracks are essentially remixes, it is very hard to call them as such due to their bearing very little resemblance to the original track by the Higher Intelligence Agency; each artist reformed the music into something completely unique.
In 1995, the Higher Intelligence Agency did several remixes, appearing on Biosphere's Novelty Waves and Pressure Of Speech's Mothmath. In September, their second album, Freefloater, was released on Beyond in the United Kingdom (released in May, 1996 by Waveform in the United States). It, too, was met with critical acclaim.
Also in 1995, the Higher Intelligence Agency performed alongside Biosphere on top of a mountain in Tromso, Norway. Music played by both artists at the event was based around samples taken from the cable cars along the mountain. Appropriately enough, the event was sponsored by the Norwegian Arts Board. Polar Sequences, a recording of the performance, was released in 1996 on Beyond.
Tromso, 70 degrees north, in the Arctic region, in the middle of the most active northern lights zone. In summer time, land of the midnight sun. In winter, total darkness.
In October 1995, as part of the annual Polar Music Festival, Geir Jenssen of Biosphere and Bobby Bird of The Higher Intelligence Agency, were commissioned by Nor Concerts to collaborate together on a musical project to take place in Geir's home town of Tromso, Norway. The brief was for them to perform three concerts, using sounds sourced from the area as the basis of the music - the machinery of the local mountain cable lift, the snow, the ice etc...
The performances from which this recording is taken, took place on top of a mountain above Tromso, in a cabin reached by the cable car, in which the audience were transported up the mountain in turn.
Deep Space Network Meets Higher Intelligence Agency, released in February of 1997 by Source, was a collaboration between Deep Space Network and the Higher Intelligence Agency originally recorded in 1996. In June of the same year, S.H.A.D.O., a collaboration between Pete Namlook and the Higher Intelligence Agency, was released on Namlook's FAX +49-69/450464 label. A second collaboration with Biosphere, the Birmingham Frequencies live event, took place in October.
Bird of the Higher Intelligence Agency set up his own label, Headphone, with the assistance of FAX +49-69/450464, in 1998, mostly to release his own material and collaborations with others. Bird's first release on Headphone was Nothing, under the name System Error, in December.
In 1999, the Higher Intelligence Agency's second collaboration with Pete Namlook, S.H.A.D.O. 2, was released on FAX +49-69/450464. Finally, the live collaboration with Biosphere in 1997, Birmingham Frequencies, was released on Headphone in January of 2000.
Released December 1993
Label Beyond (RBADCD5)
Label Beyond (HIACD2)
Released September 1995 UK (May 1996 US)
Label Beyond (RBADCD13) (UK) / Waveform (86102) (US)
Title Polar Sequences (With Biosphere)
Released August 1996
Label Beyond (RBADCD17)
Title Deep Space Network Meets Higher Intelligence Agency (With Deep Space Network)
Released February 1997
Label Source (960424)
Title S.H.A.D.O. (With Pete Namlook)
Released June 1997
Label FAX +49-69/450464 (PW 34)
Title Nothing (Bobby Bird as System Error)
Released December 1998
Label Headphone (H000)
Title S.H.A.D.O. 2 (With Pete Namlook)
Released May 1999
Label FAX +49-69/450464 (PW 41)
Title Birmingham Frequencies (With Biosphere)
Released January 2000
Label Headphone (H002)
Title Novelty Waves (Biosphere)
Label Apollo (Apollo 20 CD)
Title Mothmath (Pressure Of Speech)
Label North South
Title Remit Recaps (Spacetime Continuum)
Label Reflective (REFCD 009)
Title Ambient Dub Volume 1: The Big Chill
Contributed Ketamine Entity (Colourform)
Label Beyond (RBADBO1)
Title Ambient Dub Volume 2: Earthjuice
Contributed W. H. Y., Speedlearn (Colourform)
Label Beyond (RBADCD3)
Title Ambient Dub Volume 3: Aqua
Contributed Delta (Colourform)
Label Beyond (RBADCD4)
Title Excursions In Ambience
Contributed Solid Motion (Black Hole Mix)
Title Volume Eight
Contributed Delta (Colourform)
Released September 1993
Label Volume (8VCD8)
Title Artificial Intelligence II
Released May 1994
Label Warp (Warp23CD)
Title One A.D.
Contributed Spectral (Colourform), Harmony Angel
Label Waveform (330142-2)
Title Two A.D.
Contributed Tortoise (Freefloater)
Label Waveform (330143-2)
Title Interference Live At The Love Parade '94
Released July 1995
Label Interference (IF001)
Title The State Of E-Motion Volume 4
Contributed Corona (Polar Sequences With Biosphere)
Label E-Motion (EFA Dance 96)
Title Der Alchemistische Kongress
Contributed Chai (Deep Space Network Meets Higher Intelligence Agency With Deep Space Network)
Label Bochumer Ton Manufaktur (BTM 701)
Title Ambient Soho
Contributed Skank (Freefloater)
Label Millenium (Mill 088-CD)
Title Sally's Photographic Memory
Label Volume (Sal CD001)
Official Higher Intelligence Agency Website @ Oscillate - http://www.cuttlefish.com/oscillate/hia/index.html
wolf's kompaktkiste - http://www.kompaktkiste.de