Release Date: Jun 7, 2011
Record label: Reprise
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock, Punk/New Wave, Synth Pop
There is little question New Order were the undisputed masters of the 12-inch single as a self-contained art form during the 1980s. But Depeche Mode were right behind. If the band’s late ‘80s breakthrough was driven by MTV and alternative radio, it was fuelled by years of dancefloor exposure. During Depeche’s crucial, formative period, the idea of the remix underwent an important transformation.
Remixes 2: 81-11, an inevitable sequel, contains a handful of early remixes not contained on Remixes 81-04, as well as a dozen selections from the Playing the Angel (2005) and Sounds of the Universe (2009) singles, and is filled out with 14 newly commissioned remixes. Among the older highlights are Francois Kevorkian's percussive “Dub in My Eyes” mix of “World in My Eyes” (which also resembles a muscular version of Kraftwerk’s “The Telephone Call,” a track he happened to mix four years prior) and the Tim Simenon/Mark Saunders mix of “Strangelove” (a radical overhaul that nonetheless sticks to the original’s core elements). For the Angel and Universe singles, the group held up its reputation of seeking diverse and cutting-edge producers, from Stuart Price (as Jacques Lu Cont) to Efdemin, for remix duties.
A few seconds into Tigerskin's remix of "In Chains", a pro forma Martin Gore song from 2009's Sounds of the Universe, there's a startling sound-- a little two-note metallic clank, off-pitch but ear-grabbing in a way the rest of the track (and most of the album) isn't. It's the opening noise of Depeche Mode's 1984 single "People Are People", or something a lot like it, and it's a reminder that the band used to be about sound as much as mood and tune and personality. The first decade's worth of Depeche Mode songs were eminently remixable, because they almost all had sonic signatures: You could put together a terrific version of anything on, say, Some Great Reward without even using their melodies or vocals.