Love: And A Million Other Things CD
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Expanded 2CD reissue of the only solo album to date from Claudia Brücken, electronic pop siren and lead singer
of Propaganda, the band NME described as the 'Duel' in ZTT Records' crown.
* Originally released in 1991, the album includes the singles 'Absolut[e]', 'Kiss Like Ether' and 'Fanatic', cowritten
with godfather of electronic music Thomas Leer, with whom Claudia formed the cult ZTT band Act in the
* Cherry Red's expanded reissue includes the original album plus 10 bonus tracks covering all the singles, B-sides
and remixes of the era.
* 'Love...' was produced by Pascal Gabriel who at the time was on the wave of massive success producing and cowrit
ing Bomb The Bass' Beat Dis and S'Express' Theme from S'Express. But it was this album with Claudia Brücken
that set the standard for every electronic diva that has followed in her wake all of which have been produced by
Goldfrapp, Kylie, Dido, Little Boots, Sophie Ellis-Bextor and Ladyhawke.
* Other artists featured on the album include Glenn Gregory (Heaven 17), Steve Jansen (Japan), John Uriel
(ABC, Thomas Lang), Steve Nye (Penguin Cafe Orchestra), and singers Claudia Fontaine and Carol Kenyon.
* Three tracks are released on CD for the first time, including Pascal Gabriel's promo-only 12" Bastille Mix of
'Absolut [e]' and the Earth Mood Magic in a Present Tense 12" mix of 'Kiss Like Ether' by John Waddell, whose remix
credits range from Kylie to De La Soul.
Top customer reviews
After buying this album, I found out that I had heard her in Propaganda (I vagely remembered "Duel") and on the first solo album from Andy Bell. I have since bought the fantastic re-release of the Propaganda album, the original singles of "Absolut(E)" and "Kiss Like Ether" - and of course the re-release of this album! It is a most welcomed release - the sound it better, the bonus CD is a great thing to have and the booklet has some additional pictures and new liner notes (which include fascinating insights into the recording of "Surprise"). The back cover is different to the original release - my only complaint is the front cover, which looks like a bad (way too dark) copy of the original cover.
Next month will see the release of the first ever compilation from Claudia. The first single from it, "Thank You" is a fabulous proof that Ms Brucken has not forgotten anything. A great song, fantastic vocals - one can only hope that this compilation will be the start of more to come. Until then, "Love: And A Million Other Things" remains her only solo album to date. I urge everyone to check it out - because it truly might be the best album you never heard. Thank you Claudia!
The music is pitched somewhere between the brooding electronics of Electribe 101, the teutonic detachment of Propaganda and the tight dance-pop of Vogue-era Madonna (not likely to be a popular comparison, I know, but I'm thinking more of the arrangements and production than Claudia's vocals). Where other artists have mined the tension between a highly emotional soul/blues-influenced female vocal and cold electronica (e.g. Yazoo, Eurythmics, the aforementioned Electribe 101), this album subverts the genre by marrying Claudia Brucken's almost icy vocal style with slick, programmed backings but emotional and confessional lyrics.
The project was a commercial flop on its release in 1991, possibly due to the choice of lead-off single, "Absolut(e)". Far from the strongest song here, I can only think that someone pictured a club full of frugging young persons, who would subsequently rush out and buy the song the next day; it's certainly not a fair representation of the rest of the album. Follow-up single "Kiss Like Ether" was massively better, but by that stage Island Records seem to have gone off the boil and, anyway, there was probably a new U2 album to level the balance sheet.
Overall it's a strong album and has dated well (at the time I recall it sounded overly 'bassy' and a bit muffled compared to the production sparkle of "A Secret Wish", but it sounds fresh 19 years on). The songs are wistful and yearning, but with a constant undercurrent of danceability. The closing "Surprise" even ropes in the avant-garde Bow Gamelan Orchestra, which producer Gabriel tamed using rudimentary sampling and tape-splicing, to construct a rather sinister, ever-growing rhythmic contraption around Claudia's siren voice. I've eased away from 5 stars only because of Absolut(e) and the nagging suspicion that Claudia's songwriting was at its best when she had Michael Mertens as a foil in Propaganda.
Having said that, the bonus mixes and B-sides are, in fact, exceptionally good, and the Electrical Embrace mix of Kiss Like Ether is outstanding, mixing shifting, scurrying eddies of synth under Claudia's slower-moving vocal as the song builds. I always loved 'Whisper' (which was the B-side of 'Absolut(e)' and the most Propaganda-like song here), and it could easily have been included on the main album.
The re-issue project was overseen by Ian Peel, who also 'curated' (his term) the recent 25th anniversary edition of "A Secret Wish". He gives a full account of how the CDs were mastered, all from digital master tapes apart from two obscure 12-inch mixes on Disc 2 (the Bastille Mix of Absolut(e) and the Earth Mood Magic in a Present Tense mix of Kiss like Ether) which were mastered from vinyl, since the original tapes had gone missing. Peel even reports rummaging through Pascal Gabriel's DAT locker and Claudia's personal collection in his attempts to find the master tapes - some dedication to duty! The CDs were mastered by Ken Peel and he seems to have done a very good job of keeping faithful to the original mix and opening up the sound nicely. No in-yer-face maxxed-out compression job here.
A fitting treatment for this long-awaited re-issue, and the 2nd instalment in a very good year for Claudia fans. We just need someone to re-issue "When Your Heart Runs Out of Time" (perhaps as a download), and I'll be back in Brucken heaven!
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