"Assemblage 23" is a one-man futurepop/ebm project, whose sole member is musician Tom Shear, based in Seattle, Washington, USA.
Prior to starting Assemblage 23, Shear experimented with music under the name "Man on a Stage", beginning in the early 1980s. Most of Shear's music at this point was instrumental, as he lacked the confidence to sing; the quality of the music itself was highly questionable by his own admission. Shear eventually began to add vocals to his music; at the same time, Shear was also playing bass in a punk band called the "Advocates".
Assemblage 23 got its start in 1988, when at a "Depeche Mode" concert, founder Tom Shear heard the opening DJ spinning industrial dance music. Prior to hearing this type of music, Shear had been creating primarily synthpop and post-punk type music.
Hearing industrial music for the first time proved to be something of an epiphany for Shear, as he had finally found a form of music that combined the electronic sounds he loved from his synth-pop background with the heavier, darker aggression punk represented. Even so, the project was more of a hobby for Shear at this point; it took until 1998 for Assemblage 23 to gather enough positive acclaim to attract the attention of record labels.
Shear signed a deal in 1999 with the Canadian label Gashed! for a full-length album, "Contempt" (released in November 1999). A second album, "Failure", followed in March 2001 and was released by Gashed! in North America and Accession Records in Europe. A single from "Failure", "Disappoint", was released on Accession in October 2001. The song dealt with Shear's sense of loss after his father's suicide on October 28, 1999.
After falling out with Gashed Records following "Failure", Shear signed with US label Metropolis Records later in 2001; Metropolis re-released "Contempt" and "Failure" that November. A remix release, "Addendum", was also released in November only on Accession. By this point, Assemblage 23 had become fairly popular within the ebm genre.
The third studio album, "Defiance", was released in October 2002 on Metropolis and Accession, preceded by the single "Document" in September. October 2004 saw the release of a fourth album, "Storm"; two singles were taken from the album, "Let the Wind Erase Me" in August and "Ground" in November.
Almost three years later, in March 2007, Assemblage 23 returned with a new single, "Binary", which debuted at #21 on the Billboard US singles chart. This was followed by the album "Meta" in April.
In September of that year Shear released "Early, Rare, & Unreleased [1988-1998]", which is a limited edition collection of A23 tracks taken from the years 1988 - 1998, on his own label 23db records. This was followed in February of 2009 by a second collection "Early, Rare, & Unreleased: Volume Two", which was also limited to 1000 copies.
Late 2009 saw the release of "Compass". Both regular and deluxe limited 2CD editions were released in October 2009, preceeded in September by the single "Spark".
The latest album "Bruise" was released on June 12, 2012. It is also available in both regular and 2CD versions.
Shear also has a side-project, "nerve filter", which has been running alongside Assemblage 23 since 1995. However, no more albums will be released since the project is now open for remixes only.
Official website: www.assemblage23.com