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Absurdist pop pioneer Yello wins Swiss music prize

The Swiss electronic duo Yello is composed of Dieter Meier (left) and Boris Blank (right). Keystone / Alexandra Wey

The Swiss electronic duo Yello – Dieter Meier and Boris Blank – will receive the Grand Prix Music 2022, presented by the Federal Office of Culture and worth CHF100,000 ($100,400).

The pioneering band, best known for their 1985 hit Oh Yeah (which featured in the film Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and numerous commercials) or 1988’s The Race, has been “distinguished for its originality, influence and decisive impact on electronic music”, the culture office saidExternal link on Thursday.

Yello was founded as a trio in Zurich in the late 1970s but founding member Carlos Peron left in 1983. Over their long career, the group has produced 14 studio albums, for which Boris Blank composed most of the music while Dieter Meier wrote the texts.

Mixing pop, dance and avant garde styles, music samples, percussive rhythms and Meier’s distinctive voice, Yello has been hugely influential on the dance and electronic music scene.

“Boris Blank and Dieter Meier have been able to maintain a careful and original production over the years, taking advantage of the process of digitisation in music,” the culture office said. Their last album Point was released in 2020.

The award will be presented on September 16 at Pully, near Lausanne. Eleven other musicians will each receive CHF40,000 honouring their contributions to the Swiss music scene.

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