A product of the mid-'70s England industrial music community that also gave rise to Throbbing Gristle and Cabaret Voltaire, Clock DVA emerged in 1980 from the ashes of Sheffield-area bands including the Studs, Block Opposite, Veer, and They Must Be Russians, as well as the Future, an early incarnation of the Human League. After a series of shifting lineups, a roster comprised of vocalist Adi Newton, bassist Steven Taylor, guitarist Paul Widger, saxophonist Charlie Collins, and drummer Roger Quail recorded Clock DVA's debut, White Souls in Black Suits, a cassette-only improvisational release fusing metallic noise with funk designs that was issued on Throbbing Gristle's Industrial label.
In 1981, the group issued Thirst, which abandoned R&B accouterments in favor of edgy, abrasive electronic noise. Following its release, all of Clock DVA except Newton defected to form Box. After assembling a new lineup of saxophonist Paul Browse, future Siouxsie and the Banshees guitarist John Carruthers, bassist Dean Dennis, and drummer Nick Sanderson, Newton wrangled a major-label deal with Polydor, and Clock DVA soon resurfaced with 1983's Advantage, an intense montage of dance beats, piercing feedback, and jarring tape manipulations. However, Carruthers and Sanderson both exited following the LP's release. After a brief attempt to carry on as a trio, Clock DVA disbanded in late 1983.
Newton subsequently turned his focus to the Anti Group, an industrial jazz and visual arts project created in tandem with engineer Robert Baker. After a series of singles, he re-formed Clock DVA with Browse and Dennis, releasing the sample-fueled EPs The Hacker and The Act (both 1988), as well as the full-length Buried Dreams (1989). By Transitional Voices (1990), Newton's Anti Group partner Baker had replaced Browse. After Man-Amplified (1991) and Digital Soundtracks (1992), Dennis departed, leaving the remaining duo to record Sign (1993). As Clock DVA went on an extended hiatus, compilations of previously unreleased material and highlights were released. During the late 2000s, Newton took Clock DVA out of dormancy for performances and new recordings, and he also put together archival packages issued through his Anterior Research label. ~ Jason Ankeny, Rovi