I’ve wanted to do a song by this guy for ages but they’re just all so good in their own way that it was hard to choose. I decided to finally just pick one and maybe do some others later. Everyone knows Depeche Mode and some people even know that for the past ten or twelve years they haven’t been the same “classic” line-up as they were in their glory days. So what happened to the cute one? Not Paul McCartney, Alan Wilder!
What happened was that he struck out on his own and began recording intricate, sample-happy, electronicy music under the name Recoil. I gather his voice must blow because he enlisted lots of other fine singers to sing on his tracks, including Douglas McCarthy from Nitzer Ebb, Maggie Estep, Siobhan Lynch, and Diamanda Galas. One of his first was Moby who then went on to make a successful career out of doing the exact same thing. Hmmmmm…..
Anyway, I chose this song because the one I really wanted isn’t available on Napster or iTunes. Come on, Alan, get with the program! But this one is a fine choice as well. It’s a really slow build, so don’t go turning it off because nothing seems to be happening. It’ll kick in soon after the one minute mark, I assure you. Like many of Recoil’s songs, this one is dark and spooky and ominous and takes advantage of the fact that Douglas McCarthy sounds quite a bit like Martin Sheen in Apocalypse Now. It’s not a sample, it’s Douglas. But every time you listen you get just a few more of the dense layers of sound. And if you’re listening to the song for the first time and you know anything about Nitzer Ebb, you know that calm mood can’t last. I’m pretty sure he explodes by the end of the song. Luckily, he manages to put himself back together and be quietly sinister once again.