Saturday, September 27, 2014

some great reward

Depeche Mode made a lasting impression with the gothic melodrama and blasphemous rumours of this industrial synth pop classic.  Building on the sound of their previous album 'Construction Time Again', 'Some Great Reward' shows the band moving toward more personal subject matter. 

Recorded from January through August of 1984 at Music Works in Highbury, London and Hansa Mischraum in Berlin for Mute Records, the sessions for 'Some Great Reward' were produced by Depeche Mode, Daniel Miller, and Gareth Jones and featured Dave Gahan on lead vocals and sampling;   Martin L. Gore on synthesizer, guitar, sampling, backing vocals,  and lead vocals for "It Doesn't Matter" and "Somebody";   Andrew Fletcher on sampling and backing vocals;   and Alan Wilder on synthesizer, sampling, programming, backing vocals, and piano.  

Wilder looks back:   "By the time we came to record Some Great Reward we not only had the Emulator, but Daniel Miller had invested £60,000 in a Synclavier which rarely worked -- although when it did it sounded great...We used a PPG Wave, which was our first digital synth, although we also had the Synclavier and the Emu Emulator I by this point. What people forget about the Synclavier is that it's also a very powerful synthesizer. A lot of the synth sounds on Construction Time Again, Some Great Reward and Black Celebration were actually generated from the Synclavier. Once the samplers appeared, though, our setup didn't change very much. Actually, a lot of the changes to the band's gear happened so that we could take songs out on the road. For example, the Emu Emax was a very rugged, user-friendly keyboard which would hold a lot of our sounds and was ideal for live work." 

 Jones reveals:     "Martin made a demo for 'People Are People' — it was also the first time the band had done a pre-production session — and this had one ambient sound that he'd recorded with a Walkman on an airplane; a bit of laughter and noise. He looped this up on the demo, and we decided to somehow recreate that sound, but it was impossible to recreate because it was a 'found sound', full of texture and rhythm, so we ended up using what was on the demo. Nobody thinks anything of that now — found sounds are used all the time — but back then it was a bit of a breakthrough for us. The demos were all very lo-fi, recorded on four-track or whatever, yet somehow a tiny snippet of this sound still existed in the Emulator and it became a big part of the chorus. I remember that very clearly, because there was a moment's confusion when we thought, 'How are we going to recreate that?' and then suddenly we realised we didn't need to recreate it, we'd just use it.  One of the big things we were using samplers for at that time was to sample the world and make our own melodies and rhythms out of it. In my work with Depeche and others, I've never been that interested in using samplers to recreate conventional instruments. Instead, when the sampler came out it was like opening a door of perception. We could sample almost sound and turn it into a rhythm or melody, or even use the intrinsic rhythm within a sound — during that period there were lots of sounds on Depeche Mode records that consisted of spinning saucepan lids, things falling downstairs, ping-pong balls bouncing, and loads of things with inherent rhythm that we twisted and warped into Martin's songs. The fragment of sound from the aircraft cabin was part of that."

'Some Great Reward' went to fifty-four in the US, thirty-four in the Netherlands, thirty-two in Italy, nineteen in Australia, seven in Sweden, five in Switzerland and the UK, and number three in Germany.  

"People Are People" was a breakthrough hit around the world, going to number thirteen in the US, eight in the Netherlands, four in Sweden and the UK, two in Ireland, and number one in Germany.  

"Master and Servant"


'Some Great Reward'
full album:

All songs written and composed by Martin L. Gore, except "If You Want" and "In Your Memory" written by Alan Wilder.

side one
1. "Something to Do"   3:45
2. "Lie to Me"   5:04
3. "People Are People"   3:52
4. "It Doesn't Matter"   4:45
5. "Stories of Old"   3:12
side two
6. "Somebody"   4:26
7. "Master and Servant"   4:13
8. "If You Want"   4:40
9. "Blasphemous Rumours"   6:21

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