i never intended to write a review on a record. and certainly not about a record of the very idols of my youth. i feel humility, thinking of the glory, depeche mode have reached with their music over the last 30 years. they had such a deep impact on me, and their music became a part of my life. and o course, i don´t want to expose myself to a shitstorm of a devoted monch, or nun, that accidentally stumbled across this post, but there is something about depeche mode that bothers me.
i still remember the analog warmth of “a broken frame“. a record, that i encountered in 1982 in my sisters room. i listened to it secretly, over and over, on mono headphones! a transition record, produced right after the leaving of vince clark. i was confused about this very different kind of music. this music pierced me to my heart.
then, i was fuddled after listening to “construction time again” for the first time, in stereo! a true masterpiece of sound sampling, that left a metalic taste in my mouth. i still comprehend the uncertain and slightly undefined atmosphere of “some great reward“. a search for the right point of view on life and love and truth. a record like puberty.
then i witnessed the four young men from basildon and london during a concert in 1984! i was twelve, and this was my first concert ! total infection!
i admired the ultra compact and wonderfully dark atmosphere of “black celebration” with it´s long reverb tails and nearly unmatched sound layering. still, my bible of sound.
i felt the punchy airstream of “music for the masses” right in my face, with its atmosphere of a furious tank, build of massive drums, raving right toward me, with angels from hell on top, shouting out the refrains. a drifty circus of sound, with the power of an atomic bomb and synth riffs, that left traces my brain.
i adored the fine and dark sequencing on “violator“, that sounded like a complicated superhuman robot, that coundn´t be stopped, an improved, more sophisticated atmosphere. and i explored my suffering soul, together with dave gahan on “song of faith and devotion“, in my room.
there is no doubt, these four guys provided the bombastic soundtrack of my youth, and that is something that lasts forever. i am a devotee.
martin gore is often discribed as an introverted person and his songwriting is intimate and fragile. perhaps, a complex character like martin gore needs a kind of translator. and perhaps alan wilder was excactly that, a translator with the ability to quarry an intimate and multifaceted monolithic atmosphere out of the demos of martin gore. he seemed to be the workhorse, that defined the dm-sound in the studio, he was the genius of the sound, the mastermind of the never matched dm sound architecture. a musician with the ability to work out, no, to squeeze out the machines in the studio, and with the declared intention to evolve with every new record.
but then, there was a caesura in the sound of depeche mode, when alan wilder left the band. you can hear it, and you can feel it with every new record. the years are passing by, and other people are trying to translate the sensible masterpieces of the introverted martin gore into a new dm record. the core function of alan wilder had to be replaced by others.
change is progression and different people of course have a different influence on the production proccess of a record. listening to the “counterfeit” record from 1989, gives an impression of the kind of demo character of a martin gore production. in opposite, listening to recoil´s “unsound methods” from 1997 points out, that the monolithic atmosphere of the former dm records had left the band, together with alan wilder. the quality of martin gore´s songwriting is outstanding, the voice of dave gahan is deeply burned in our souls. alan wilder´s ability to creating deep atmospheres is obvious. together, they were unbeatable. everyone of them an artistic talent in their field. and so, my poor devoted soul is torn since 1995, when alan wilder left the band.
for sure, there are many other factors, that changed the sound of dm. a different workflow of recording without the need of giving a song a tight structure through oldstyle sequencing. the personal development of the members, or the unknown person, that brought a ton of overdrive- and distortion devices into the studio.
and everytime i buy a new dm record, i really want to love it and i do hope to find something behind the nerve-racking wall of modular gargling and crackling that they provide onto the last three records. the wonderful melodies are still there, the voice is there, the passion is still there, but it seems to be a matter of the selection of sounds and how they are mixed, that i do desperately try to find the clearance inside the brushwood of distorted and overdriven gargling and crackling. i am longing for that eclectic wide atmosphere of the past so much.
but the records pass by, and i can´t hear it anymore. i do even skip the titles, blasphemy!!! but they leave me unimpressed. they leave me torn. and so, i will wait for the day, they engage guys like Magnus Birgersson, or Daniel Segerstad or someone else as a producer and kick off these damned distortion devices, give away the armee of icecold sounding vintage curiosities, and light a candle. revert, revert and save my devoted soul!
from prosper with love
ones again i have to recommend my favorite website for electronic music. it is “www.spacemusic.nl” located in rotterdam/netherlands.
if you are looking for inspirational music, news or you want to make your
own music public, this is the blog to follow!
there you find a potcast with fantastic music every month.
youtube.com gave me the opportunity to listen to OMDs “dazzle ships” album again, 20 years!
this record left a lasting impression on me in the early 80s. i must have heard it a thousand times, because i could remember every sound and every note, even after 20 years. it was the only album of the omd that i bought as a teenager. thank you youtube.com, you brought back my teenage days.
few records that influenced me strongly
radio-aktivität (kraftwerk, 1975)
oxygéne (jean michel jarre, 1976)
computerwelt (kraftwerk, 1981)
a broken frame (depeche mode, 1982)
dazzle ships (omd,1983)
soul mining (the the, 1983)
zoolook (jean michel jarre, 1984)
black celebration (depeche mode, 1986)
mainstream (lloyd cole and the commotions, 1987)
violator (depeche mode, 1990)
love de luxe (sade adu, 1992)
and all talk talk records!! and björks vespertime!! ……………………….all electric….