Review Summary: A compilation of Recoil songs that somehow work together very well. Also included is a disc with new and old remixes that show what intelligent remixing (so no club remixes) can do to songs.
When listening too Recoil (a.k.a. Alan Wilder, former musical wizard of Depeche Mode
) you need to have some patience. The Recoil songs tend to grow on you as you hear them more often. Alan disguises his soundscapes into songs and uses vocalists and spoken word artists for added lyrics.
This compilation consists of two discs. Disc 1 contains 14 regular tracks, whereas disc 2 contains 12 remixes of Recoil songs. Both collections were picked by Alan himself, so they contain his version of an overview of his solo career.
Somehow the track listing of disc 1 makes you forget that you’re listening to a compilation of older songs. The songs are not represented in chronological order but in a naturally flowing one. Starting off with Strange Hours
with the grand voice and lyrical input from Diamanda Galás
, this song sets the pace for the album. Next is one of the highlights, when Douglas McCarthy from Nitzer Ebb
puts his take on Faith Healer
. Although this song is originally released in 1992, it still sounds fantastic. The song builds up and still gives me shivers. The religious content of Faith Healer
is somewhat continued in Prey
. Prey contains the blues vocals of Joe Richardson. Although I hate blues most of the time, his voice is a great addition to this song. I really like the lyrical use of ‘pray
’ and ‘prey
’ in the line ‘You’d better pray for prey
Some other highlights are Luscious Apparatus
, Edge to Life
. Luscious Apparatus
is a spoken word song in which Maggie Estep talks about Carla, who meets a man that feels she was begging to be carved with a knife after having sex. The song is haunting, creepy and beautiful at the same time. In Edge to Life
Toni Halliday croons like in her best days with Curve
. Once again a song from 1992 that works very well in the order and context that Alan presents here. Shunt
does contain lyrics (There’s blood on the line
), but is very much an instrumental song. It is the song that comes closest to the first two Recoil EP’s (1+2
, of which there are no songs on this compilation) and shows the craftsmanship of Alan in creating instrumental songs that keep you listening throughout the whole song. Very, very good.
As already said, the order in which the songs are presented makes you think you’re listening to an album with new songs, even though you might already know the songs from earlier albums. This makes it an album worth buying. But the addition of the second disc with 12 remixes makes it even better. Consisting of (edits of) older remixes and new or previously commercially unavailable remixes, this disc shows the power of intelligent remixing. So you won’t find any club remixes on this disc, but instead the songs are recreated or twisted in a way which takes the songs to other areas than they were originally intended. And with great results. That is, if you are into it.