I got into music after I heard Level 42 Early Tapes. The reason Early Tapes happened was because of one guy- Andy Sojka.
In 1979 Andy Sojka, who has died of multiple myeloma aged 48, formed, produced and recorded the five-strong music group, Atmosfear. The first fruit of the liaison was their single, Dancing In Outer Space. Thus did he pioneer a new British dance music.
Dancing In Outer Space fused disco, funk, jazz and psychedelic production. It sold 100,000 copies – and the tune survives, still played and frequently sampled.
Educated at Kingsbury high school, north London, in the late 1970s, Sojka opened All Ears, a dance music shop in Harlesden. It quickly became a focus for the 12in 45rpm dance single boom, which had begun in the United States. Many of the customers at All Ears were DJs buying American imports and the British releases that followed.Advertisementhttps://90ab91b47317a2eb13036d1108cad466.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html
After Dancing In Outer Space, in 1980 Sojka discovered and named Level 42, and signed them to his Elite label, producing their first single, Love Meeting Love, and The Early Tapes album.
In the 1980s, Elite Records became a home for the new independent British dance music, and releases by DSM (Danny D), Beverley Skeete, Projection, Atmosfear, Sahara and many others featured regularly in the dance music charts. With his music championed by the late Larry Levan at the Paradise Garage, Andy became a cult figure in New York.
Between 1986-88 he worked with Garry Hughes, producing two experimental world music crossover albums. In 1987, a rhythm and blues label was formed. Its first release was Keni Stevens’s Blue Moods, a classic album of British soul music.
In the mid-90s Andy established three new labels, Jump Cut, Meta4, and Chemical Discs, whose catalogue included such notable works as Atmosfear’s Trance Plants (1994) and Jangala Spirits (1997). His last major project was Altered Slates (1998), made with the US group, Masters at Work, the U2 producer Francois Kevorkian, and Dimitri from France. In 1999, he began writing Groove World, an album by Atmosfear due for release later this year.
Sojka is survived by his wife, Karen, and two children.
Andy Sojka, record producer, born July 10 1951; died February 12 2000.