January 22, 2008

The Concise Guide To Alan Wilder-Era Depeche Mode

I created this 63-minute mix a few years ago. I've had a couple of requests for it recently, so I'm just going to post it. You can play it right here or download the mp3 (by clicking on the divshare logo) if you choose. Sometimes the streaming feature of divshare works great, and other times it sucks. They tell me "they are working on it." When Vince Clarke ditched Depeche Mode after their first album Speak & Spell, the song writing duties fell on Martin Gore. They brought in a new guy named Alan Wilder to help out with programming and whatnot for the second album, A Broken Frame, but although Wilder contributed much to that album, his membership within the band was not officially recognized until the third album, Construction Time Again. When Wilder left the band more than a decade later, he still did not feel that he had been fully accepted as an equal partner. Some surmise that this attitude toward him resulted from a fear (particularly in the case of Martin Gore) of losing too much creative control to Wilder-- all three remaining bandmates have described Wilder as a much more accomplished musician than themselves. I'm a big fan of the mood and atmosphere Alan Wilder brought to many of the tracks during his time with Depeche Mode. Some will dismiss it as dark and depressing. If you listen to an album like Music For The Masses, it simply does not sound like anything else you've heard before. It has a quality which is organic, complex and timeless in comparison to the purely electronic sound the band employs today. Here are a pair of great videos of Alan demonstrating the gear he used at the time: