Experimental multi-instrumentalist Eric Random released three albums and a slew of singles between 1980 and 1987, tracing a fascinating post-punk arc from art-bruit to esoteric jazz and funk, and later exploring non-Western idioms with his group The Bedlamites. Alongside his solo work, Random struck up enduring associations with Buzzcock Pete Shelley, Velvets femme fatale Nico and (most notably) Sheffield avant-gardists Cabaret Voltaire, with whom much of his early material bears comparison.
Born Eric Ramsden in 1961, a teenage Random first recorded as a member of The Panik before joining Buzzcocks' road crew. In 1978 he became one-third of The Tiller Boys, an experimental trio formed with Buzzcock Pete Shelley and drummer Francis Cookson. Often referenced, yet seldom heard, the group reflected shared Krautrock/Fripp and Eno avant-rock preferences and were a regular feature on Mancunian post-punk bills in 1978/79, making their live debut supporting Joy Division at the Factory (Russell) Club on 9 June 1978, a gig immortalised on Peter Saville's iconic Fac 1 poster. The Tiller Boys also supported Joy Division and Cabaret Voltaire at the Factory on 20 October, as well as Gang of Four in York, and cut a single intended for Factory Records at Arrow Studio in January 1979. However for various reasons these tracks - three slices of pounding percussion and Neu!-like guitar clangour - were fated not to appear on Tony Wilson's radical Manchester indie.