Depeche Mode / Remixes 81-04


Remixes 81-04

Remixes 81–04 is an album by British electronic music group Depeche Mode which was released on October 25, 2004.

It was the band’s first release since Daniel Miller’s independent label Mute Records was acquired by industry major EMI in 2002. It features well-known remixes from the band’s back catalog as well as previously unavailable mixes.

There are three versions of Remixes 81–04. The main version has 2 CDs. The limited edition version has the same two CDs, plus a bonus CD with mostly new remixes. There’s also a one-CD release with selections from all three discs.

The booklet, found in all three versions, features an essay by Paul Morley. A special “Secret Website” (now offline) could be unlocked with the CDs.

The Analysis: Disc One

Never Let Me Down Again [Split Mix]—-Beginning with a rather grand and sweeping instrumental introduction, the song is much more bass heavy than its original version. The vocal is unusually sedate…Gahan sounding rather calm and melodic compared to some of the mixes I have heard of this song. This is rather remarkable just for the pronounced bass heavy beat that is delivered.

Policy Of Truth [Capitol Mix]—-Still one of my favorites…simply for the message alone, this comes even more alive under this remix treatment. There is at the onset, a much more funk infused sound to the song and the intro beats are delivered in a very staccato way….there are some nice spoken word overdubs and some remarkable synth effects….giving the song a brand new and updated sound. Simply wonderful to hear this in this form!!!

Shout [Rio Remix]—-Really not entirely familiar with this song, the intro leads to a promising expectation though. The sounds of the song are nice and Industrial in sound…the vocal is VERY removed from the song…..allowing the synth beats to be the star of the show. This has a primitive sound that is very attractive to me….I love this stuff…old school with a nice fresh twist!!!

Home [Air ‘Around The Golf’ Mix]—-This has never been a favorite song of mine, and I remain perplexed that the band actually released this as a single. To me, this is a bit flat…the lyrics are very nice, but I just feel like they could have been presented in a very different way…the music is very sedate and quiet and the mood is even more melancholy than dark….still, nice to have on a collected work!

Strangelove [Blind Mix]—-This takes what has become a rather overplayed club song and turns it into a rather banging track that is bass heavy and infused with fresh club sounds. The song has a remarkable way of sliding wonderfully between retro sounds and a fresh approach that really keeps you interested and feeling like you are hearing it for the very first time. I don’t have this on any of the remixes I own, so this is really a nice find.

Rush [Spiritual Guidance Mix]—-Do I know this song……..???? Oh yes…there are the familiar strains. This remix reminds me of the acid house influenced sounds of the mid 90’s that were coming from the UK in the mid 90’s…reminding me of Jesus Jones. this is nice…even though unremarkable…the vocal is pushed way to the back of the mix…allowing for some nice beats to land right on your forehead…not bad, but not stellar!!!

I Feel You [Renegade Soundwave Afghan Surgery Mix]—-Again, this is full of retro sounds that bring an immediate smile to my face. There are some nice irritating loud Industrialized sounds to this song that are so different from what you would expect…they flow wonderfully in and out of some backdrop female infused vocals that add a huge dance floor appeal to the song. this is a remarkable remix, but what would you expect from Renegade Soundwave…just fantastic!!!

Barrel Of A Gun [Underworld Hard Mix]—-This has been played and overplayed in clubs everywhere in the world and really holds no current appeal for me…this is so ANTI-DEPECHE MODE that you wonder what the point was…to me, this was a mis-step in the remix realm…but it is hear to stay none the less.

Route 66 [Beatmasters Mix]—-This remains my favorite remix of this rather under rated track…simply because it was one of the first of the remixes I really started when I was collecting…all the rest came later. this is a fresh sounding mix…full of classic 80’s sounds but still playing very well in the land of club music if you pop it on the turntable in 2010. Such is the appeal of Depeche Mode…they remain in many ways, timeless.

Freelove [DJ Muggs Remix]—-As you would expect from a Muggs mix, this has a nice bit of funk sound and a bass heavy delivery that gives this rather sedate song a new life. Dave delivers a pretty true vocal, but the sounds that are going on in the background are remarkable…including the surprise inclusion of some rather electric guitars that pump up the song and give it remarkable life. This is fresh, approachable and entirely playable in any party situation…that voice is just ageless and timeless!!!!

I Feel Loved [Chamber’s Mix]—-From the onset, this is full of some rather annoying sounds that really so not do much for the formulation of the song itself. This is an excursion into sound that eventually leads to the outside and a more acceptable beat, but the intermittent annoying sounds are rather distracting and take away from the enjoyment of the song….next…..

Just Can’t Get Enough [Schizo Mix]—-Returning to one of the very early singles, this remix does no credit to the song itself. it is remarkable to me that this was not at least remastered for this release…the song sounds a bit hollow and dated…none the less, it is one of those poppy Mode songs that are irresistible and like a drug you have not had for a long time….still a favorite!!!

Disc Two—-

Personal Jesus [Pump Mix]—-Rather overplayed and a rather generic remix, I much prefer the Manson version of this song….next…sorry guys…..

World In My Eyes—-Still one of my favorite tracks from the very popular period of the band, this almost coincided with the release of New Order’s World In Motion…I’m sure causing some confusion in the UK chart summary and sounding a bit alike at the onset. This is classic stuff, and the minute Gahan opens his mouth, you know that this is the band you though it was….remarkable and still a very favorite song of mine..if only for the sentiment alone.

Get The Balance Right [Combination Mix]—-Another of those songs that has a permanent place in my memory, this remix gives us a much more pumped up and danceable version than the original. This again revisits the prime time of the band when the aim was accessible pop music that the world would fall in love with…and indeed we did. This is full of nice breaks and vocal manipulations that also manage to showcase the remarkable baritone of Gahan while also allowing you to appreciate the wonderful harmonies of the rest of the band. Priceless…..

Everything Counts [Absolut Remix]—-This remix gives this track a much more ‘adult’ sound…full of modern beats and much less poppy than the original appears to be. I love the escalating synth line that Gore and Co. managed to produce…remarkably contagious yet incredibly familiar and comforting!!!!

Breathing In Fumes—-Another track that is rather foreign to me, it seems almost rote as it begins though. This is full of those classic machine generated sounds that the Mode was so good at during the early years of their career. This is classic stuff…where the hell did this come from?

Painkiller [Kill The Pain Mix-DJ Shadow]—-WOW….this has shadow written all over it…with a nice touch of the Boom Boom Satellites….I am amazed by this remix and the version of this song. I have found something that I really did not pay very close attention to when I first got this release…such is the joy of music…it is a constant discovery and joy…just remarkable…I love this stuff!!!!

Useless [The Kruder & Dorfmeister Sessions]—-Beginning in a rather ambient manner, the song ushers in the sedate and intense vocal of Gahan right at the onset…setting a mood that seems to travel through the entire song. this is rather remarkable…it is both retro and rather updated at the same time…giving you sounds from the best of both the worlds…this is a tour de force…Gahan delivers a vocal that is even more depressing and intense that anything ever delivered but still has a nice accessible element to it…this remains…a remarkable band!!!!

In Your Room [The Jeep Rock Mix]—-Again, this delivers a sound that is very reminiscent of that mid-90’s Acid house sound….the synth lines are jagged and abrupt…all the while delivering a sound that is remarkably danceable and accessible. This is the sound of a band that was turned over to incredible remixers and the result is nothing less that stellar and memory laden. Most people never paid attention to this era Mode…but I did damn it!!!!

Dream On [ Dave Clarke Acoustic Version]—-This is nice…even thoug delivered with an acoustic guitar, there is a nice funk element that is included that just manages to kick me in the ass. this is wonderful…expressive and a classic example of how accessible this band truly is. When the song does come alive, it as if they had never been gone…just wonderful!!!

It’s No Good [Speedy J Mix]—-Full of nice Garage Dance sounds mixed with 90’s Acid House, this is a tour-de-force of sounds that leave you almost exhausted by the end of the song. this is so erratic and so ANTI Depeche mode that you have to wonder how the band felt about this presented mix…none the less, it play really well even today!!!!

Master And Servant [An-On-U Sound Science Fiction Dance Hall Classic Mix]—-With a really grandiose remix title, this really does not differ too much from the massive collection of remixes of this song that are available. The vocal seems to be a bit more pronouced…the machine sounds are apparent and the fun edge of the song is everywhere. The lyrics are clear…giving the track a bit more of a sinister and sexual edge…this is huge fun and a great memory in more way than one!!!!

Enjoy The Silence [Timo Maas Extended Mix]—-Perhaps the bands crowning moment gets a huge dum down from Maas…what a disappointment!!!!

****1/2 out of 5

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