I stumbled upon a Dave Gahan appearance in a version of Goldfrapp’s “Ocean” recently (the video is beautiful), and it made me wish that any of Depeche Mode’s more recent music would have a similar feel and appeal. Goldfrapp on the other hand is one of these bands whose name I had heard before – but none of their music.
After diving a bit into their back catalogue, I can honestly say that of their older work, only “Tales Of Us” is appealing to me – previous albums seem to be more dance-oriented electronic music, and I find that this genre, as a whole, doesn’t age very well. Or perhaps it’s just not very attractive if one hasn’t been a fan back then already. I’m sure a lot of the music that I personally hold in high regard is not appealing at all to someone who comes in from “the outside” and hasn’t been a part of this-or-that particular scene, at the time.
Goldfrapp’s album “Silver Eye”, released about a year ago, merges the more contemplative nature of “Tales Of Us” with their electronic sounds. I was originally only interested in “Ocean” with Dave Gahan, but out of curiosity (“who the heck is Goldfrapp?”) I listened to the entire album. It’s ironic that a video hosting service is the best source to do this, but the YouTube-generated playlists of entire albums have become quite convenient to get a more complete picture before ‘pulling the trigger’ on a purchase: Silver Eye.
I guess I’m lucky that I had the initial patience on that day to “endure” the first two tracks. I found “Anymore” to be a particularly weak opening track. Maybe I just wasn’t in the mood for up-tempo electronic dance music but then again, I do not find myself in the mood for that kind of music as much as I used to. A vast collection of old Trance & Goa albums & compilations sits, aside from brief moments of nostalgia, unplayed in my CD rack, or folders of my hard drive, and I’ve wondered more than once whether I should just sell the whole bunch in bulk…
But then “Tigerman” started playing, and my interest was piqued. The lyrics are sparse, minimal, the instrumentation is anything but: it wraps the rich synthesizer sounds of the 80ies in modern cloth, plus a droning bass, filtersweeps, percussion that reminded me of Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill”. What a beautiful track!
The following songs have grown on me by now, but “Beast That Never Was” stood out on my first listen as well. And just as well, after a couple of listens, I find the original version of “Ocean” actually better than the “remix” to which Dave Gahan lent his voice (“remix” in quotation marks because it doesn’t actually sound different – except for the voice, obviously).
My absolutely favorite though is “Moon In Your Mouth” – if you must, skip to the 2:00 mark, where “we’re alive” leads into an all-too-brief break with a little melody and wonderful, atmospheric synth pads.
In my humble opinion, it’s this track and this segment that would beg for a longer, dance-oriented remix. But alas, the remixes that are included in the “Deluxe” edition are, after a few listens, pretty much superfluous. They can’t actually enhance and expand the atmosphere of the original tracks, and so are reduced to the typical up-tempo 4/4 beat that I’ve grown a bit tired of.
Might as well have bought the normal edition, dang! 😉