Originally based in Los Angeles
1994: Ultra-red are a sound art collective founded by two AIDS activists
With an art they describe on their website as "exploring acoustic space as enunciative of social relations," Ultra-red develops explicitly political art projects sometimes in the form of radio broadcasts, performances, recordings, or installations. Known for their militant brand of political ambient music along with artist Terre Thaemlitz, Ultra-red are also part of a wave of young conceptual artists who combine participatory art with their own commitments to political organizing. Other artists working in a similar vein include Chicago's Temporary Services, Berlin's Kein Collective and, in New York, LTTR.
Following their remixes of Thaemlitz' Still Life with Numerical Analysis in 1998, Ultra-red joined Thaemlitz on the German label Mille Plateaux for their first two albums; Second Nature: An Electroacoustic Pastoral (1999) and Structural Adjustments (2000). Through these releases and others, Ultra-red developed a kind of ambient sound activism combining situationist radicalism with the sound research techniques of the acoustic ecology movement. In 2004, Ultra-red launched their own creative commons online label, Public Record, to showcase works of politically engaged ambient music. In additional to Ultra-red, other artists to appear on Public Record include Elliot Perkins (formerly "Phonem") and Sony Mao.
Although the group is unapologetic about its Leftist political commitments, the name Ultra-red apparently designates no affiliation with any specific political party or organization.