(lastfm) Contrastate were formed in 1987 by Stephen Meixner and Jonathan Grieve. Their initial musical ventures were of a more improvisational nature, based on noise and volume (not to be confused with power electronics). Sounds emerged, sub-merged and re-emerged at varying painfully low frequencies with extremes of treble tonality. The idea was physical confrontation through sound. Towards the end of 1988 Contrastates music became more subtle and considered, concentrating on the atmospheric rather than aggressive content.
1992 saw the release of A Live Coal Under The Ashes which was inspired by the events leading up to the changes across Eastern and Central Europe during 1989. This release marked the change conceptually in which the groups ideas became more specific and more focused on contemporary political issues. A Live Coal Under The Ashes was critically acclaimed not just for the music, but also for the artwork and packaging. Stephen J. Pomeroy joined the group for these recordings and became Contrastates third member.