Although Plaid preexisted the association, the duo's Ed Handley and Andy Turner spent most of their early recording years with Ken Downie as the dancefloor-confounding Black Dog Productions. Meshing well with Downie's vision of heavily hybridized post-techno and obscurantist thematics, the pair brought several nascent Plaid tracks to the Black Dog table on the group's debut, Bytes, a collection of tracks recorded by various iterations of the three members. The group recorded several albums and EPs throughout the early and mid-'90s, helping to forge a style of dance music one step removed from the 12" considerations of the average faceless techno act; Handley and Turner's mutual love for early hip-hop contributed BDP's more bawdy, street-level grit.
The pair split from Downie in 1995, and began rechanneling their efforts full-time with an EP on the neo-electro Clear label before signing to Warp. (The pair also recorded an album with European techno figure Mark Broom under the pseudonym Repeat, two tracks of which also made it onto the South of Market EP, released on Jonah Sharp's similarly located Reflective imprint.) Both of Plaid's first two full-lengths, 1998's Not for Threes and the following year's Rest Proof Clockwork, were issued in the U.S. through Nothing. Once Warp set up a home on American shores, however, Plaid made the natural switch with the long-awaited collection Trainer, a retrospective including much of their early, pre-BDP work. The proper third album, Double Figure, followed in spring 2001, and the handy Plaid remix collection Parts in the Post was issued in 2003 by Peacefrog. The end of the year brought the duo's fourth proper LP, Spokes.
Plaid were quiet on the recording front for several years, finally returning in mid-2006 with Greedy Baby, a mini-album that found the pair co-billed with visual artist Bob Jaroc. Two years later, they made the small leap to soundtracking an official film, Heaven's Door, a Japanese film directed by Michael Arias. In 2011, they returned with Scintilli, released on Warp. Three years later, they nodded to the warmer and more playful sounds of their late-'90s material with Reachy Prints. ~ Sean Cooper