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Sunday 4 June 2023

Forty Minutes Of Depeche Mode

I recently watched 101, D.A. Pennebaker's documentary film from 1989 that showed the group preparing to play the 101st gig and final leg of their world tour the year before. It was good fun, a time capsule peak into the world of 1988, with a van of radio competition winners travelling to the Rose Bowl in Pasadena to see DM with live snippets of the group interspersed. 

It's fair to say that I'm a fan of some of Depeche Mode's songs rather than an outright fan of the band. Their story is interesting, electro- pop boys from Basildon who survive the departure of their songwriter becoming a pop sensation and then a stadium size electronic rock group. The death of Andy Fletcher last year showed a fairly unique aspect of the group too- Fletcher was the man who made the group work but whose contributions weren't predominantly musical. For the mix below I've concentrated on the late 80s/ early 90s era of the group, mainly singles with some remixes. I seem to have omitted Personal Jesus which is an error on my part. 

Forty Minutes Of Depeche Mode

  • Happiest Girl (Orbital Mix)
  • Never Let Me Down Again (Tsangarides Mix)
  • I Feel You (7" version)
  • Enjoy The Silence (Rich Lane A&E Cotton Dub)
  • Blasphemous Rumours
  • Barrel Of A Gun (Underworld Soft Mix)

From 1990 The Orb's remix of Happiest Girl confusingly titled as the Orbital Mix (how both The Orb and Orbital mist have wished the other had chosen a different name). The remix is typically Orb- like, downtempo ambient house with Dave Gahan's words on top. As well as a 12" single in 1990, it came out on The Orb's compilation of their own remixes in 1996, alongside a welter of other remixes- Pop Will Eat Itself, Erasure, Killing Joke, Primal Scream, Yello, Innersphere and Wir all feature. 

Never Let Me Down is a throbbing, growling, druggy electro- rock single from 1987 and from their Music For The Masses album. The Tsangarides mix is from the 12", a remix by Chris Tsangarides. My favourite DM song, one that has worked its way into my musical world in recent years. 

I Feel You was a 1993 single, screeching tyres, glitter stomp and blues guitar riff. 

Enjoy The Silence was a 1990 single and from their massive 1991 album Violator. Synths, monochrome gloom, a lush darkness made for those sunset moments in stadia round the world- along with Personal Jesus it's the 90s Mode in excelsis. The version here is a re- edit by Stoke- on - Trent's Rich Lane, a man who knows his way round a re- edit better than most. 

Blasphemous Rumours came out in 1984, a song about suicide, survival and religion that baited the religious, including those in the band. The crunchy synth sound and industrial drums show the way ahead. 

Barrel Of A Gun was a single in 1997, the lead song for their Ultra album. Underworld's remixes, three of them, showed the two sides of late 90s Underworld- the Hard Mix is nine minutes of thumping, hard and fast drums that don't let up. The Soft mix (included here) is Underworld in dreamy, floaty mode and proof that Underworld were still capable of great remixes and of creating some lovely, low key, intimate moments.


Khayem said...

Looking forward to listening to this mix, Adam, Unfortunately, the current link takes me to the 101 film on YouTube...

Swiss Adam said...

Link fixed

Khayem said...

A belated thanks, Adam, this is a great mix. The Orb remix improves the original song no end and has long been a favourite. The vocal-free dub mix on the original 12" edges it for me. Remember having to carefully cut through a sealed blue plastic outer sleeve just to get to the 12" within! A pain in the arse but the music more than made up for it.

The Rich Lane dub of Enjoy The Silence is a brilliant update.