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Vince Clarke and Martin L. Gore’s thirty-year relationship has been entwined in some of the most exciting and innovative moments in modern music. Founding members of legendary pop experimentalists Depeche Mode, the pair toured the world together until 1981 when Clarke left to explore pastures new. Gore stayed with Depeche Mode making a string of groundbreaking albums, while Clarke went on to form Yazoo, Erasure, The Assembly and collaborate with Martyn Ware. “We stayed in touch, of course,” remembers Clarke. “I don’t think we ever thought we’d work together again. But I suppose we’re kindred spirits, me and Martin. It was bound to happen.” It did indeed happen and the duo are now on the cusp of releasing a brand new album, Ssss – a fiercely inventive techno record full of snarling synths and pulsating rhythms, every bit as mesmerising as you’d expect from two of electronic music’s most pioneering performers.
VCMG is two men with a shared history. With 100-plus hit singles between them over the last 30 years, Vince Clarke and Martin Gore had barely been in contact since the former left Depeche Mode at the end of 1981, giving Martin the opportunity to become chief songwriter for the band (and chuck radiators down stairs while wearing perv-breeks). Vince went on to Yazoo, The Assembly and most notably Erasure, earning an Ivor Novello award for his song collection in 2009. It would be fair to say that Vince has always kept himself to himself – Alison Moyet has suggested that the pair never really got to know each other during the 18 months Yazoo had together in the early 80s – but VCMG has seen him reconnecting with his past. This is a good thing, for all concerned.
Clarke first approached Gore about doing a little something over email, and having piqued Gore’s interest work began at a leisurely pace. This album was assembled entirely via file swapping – the duo only actually properly met up at Mute’s Short Circuit celebrations at The Roundhouse in 2011 – but the results show that there’s an innate thinking and nous between the pair, which happily ties their shared experiences together.
Collecting 10 tracks of minimal yet meaty European techno, SSSS excels with the likes of first-taster Spock, which pounces along in an Orbital-like manner, and the giddy Situation-esque pulse of Windup Robot’s build up. Bendy Bass is another highlight, doing exactly as it says with elastic sounds weaving about, while Single Blip constructs an array of doofs and oomphs around a – yes – single blip. The elements are all here: Vince’s knack for slight but perfectly pop melodies and Martin’s strident anthemic blasts are easily noticeable. There really is no sign of a duff moment at all.
Reuniting a couple of friends on the one hand and exciting the fans on the other, there’s no doubt SSSS is a fine piece of work – and regardless of the back-story, it’s quite amazing in its own right: an instrumental technofest that you could quite easily enjoy down the rave-up or while engaging in some housework. And that makes it mission accomplished so far as anyone with ears should be concerned. Tremendous stuff.
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Top Customer Reviews
Both of them have, in their ways, explored the power of technology over the past three decades : Vince drawn always to the brighter, sunshine of analog synths, easily creating delicate structures of jauty, fast paced, and melodic pop where it always April 1984. Gore, on the other hand, gave the world such feelgood tunes as "Shake The Disease", "It's No Good", and "Enjoy The Silence", melding an immaculate production with a fetish for minor keys and chords, and vocals that try to make a disco out of an existential crisis. So... what you might expect with VCMG is an almost of literate, retro-futurist, morbid pop? No such luck.
Immaculately produced, VCMG is a dense hour of electronic exploration : the material - 10 or so pieces of instrumental motifs - created by email and from thousands of miles apart, sounds like a determined single entity. The undulating tones and rhythms could be a particularly fond return to form from a mid-range electronic outfit that makes a small living.
The pounding, slightly threatening "Lowly" begins the album : like all of this, made on old-fashioned, customised synthsets, tweaked and bent, with longstanding, elegant melody lines and immaculate rhythms, it sounds like the unholy, lovely union of two very different minds, with jaunty drums and melancholy strings, and a joy through repetition that only repeated exposure can bring.
"Spock" is utter Depeche Mode.Read more ›
I'm guessing you'd call it "techno" and other reviewers have complained about it being samey and like other "techno" artists but so what? I've listen to a lot of techno over the years and find a lot of it very identikit and lacking in any real personality. Listen to some compilation mix albums and it's hard to tell where ends and begins.
So, ignore the fact it doesn't sound like DM or Erasure and enjoy it on its own merits, it's worth it.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I was eager to hear this collaboration from two old friends! It's fantastic. A nice old school feel with the vintage synths. Really great instrumental dance flavoured techno tunes. Read morePublished 6 months ago by James Thorold
pants , thought as a mode fan and
erasure would like this collaboration , but its complete nonsense .
I love this CD.
A very unusual dance album!
Its a collaboration I didn't know I had been waiting for.