Monday, June 25, 2012

Martin and Vince's Vanity Project

Here's what happens when you become famous. After a while you get bored with the avenue that made you rich and famous and you start looking for new ways to express yourself. Actors will write children's books, authors will attempt to act in movies, musicians start fashion lines. It's inevitable. The problem is that sometimes this can be a good thing, sometimes not so much. There's a reason they weren't famous for this new endeavor, usually because they are not cut out for that work.The ancillary to this condition is the vanity project. An actor may write or direct. An author of adult fiction may try young adult or a comic book. A musician will seek out a new genre of music to dabble in. This is where we meet Martin Gore and Vince Clarke. 

Gore and Clarke are two of the founding members of DEPECHE MODE. Clarke also went on to form YAZ and ERASURE. So clearly both men are credentialed as pop music gods. Both have their roots in the dance/club/rave culture and have chops in creating anthems that move the body. So when I heard they were teaming up to record together, the hair on the back of my neck stood up. I mean these guys are legends, what could they produce that wouldn't be good.

Turns out, pop music wasn't what they were after. Recording under the moniker VCMG the duo have released "SSSS", a collection of techno musings designed to entreat the listener to a club experience through your headphones. They duo reportedly concocted this collection through email exchanges working in separate studios. The offshoot of this working relationship, is music that feels tacked together. With minimal interplay between the two, beats are left to linger on (maybe be design). Each track houses the same basic structure; a 4-4 drum beat with effects washed over the top. Keyboard washes and blips and blops abound. Songs mesh together at a relentless place as the duo by homage to the scene they cut their teeth in. "Spock", the erstwhile single, uses the same keyboard sound as "Just Can't Get Enough" but warps it into a much darker, foreboding tone. only the lead track, "Lonely", spends any time building to the rhythm, the rest of the songs pound away, slaves to the beat. 

This is a vanity project because it in no way resembles their other jobs. Gone are the vocals about love, faith and despair. Replaced by the cold electronic dots and dashes that are designed to be enveloped on the dance floor. I am certain this record was created as a result of two famous guys wanting to shed the shackles of pop music for a fresh challenge. Which is fine, and taken for what it is the record is not half bad. Just don't quite your day jobs.

(mp3) vcmg -- Lowly

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