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Worn-out record Violator. Design: Jennifer Ancízar / AM:PM Magazine. Violator. Design: Jennifer Ancízar / AM:PM Magazine.


In 1986 Depeche Mode walked out of a nightclub drunk and went for a ride to hell itself. that year came out Black Celebration (Mute Records), the album where they definitively jump into the shadows, where the wires are twisted. Until Some Great Rewards (Mute Records), previous studio long-play, released in 1984, the party had been going on relatively normally. There was sun, pool, drink and young people in bathing suits. I say "relative" because from there you can see that Martin Gore and his men were cooking the expedition to the underground. They were at the party, but they didn't dress the same, and if you asked them "Everything OK?" they nodded confidently, but winked at each other. It was two years later when the blues became violets, and reds came the vermilion.

It is very common for artists to have creative peaks, of varying durations depending on the case. For me, that of Depeche Mode goes from 1986 to 1993, or what is the same, from Black Celebration until Songs of Faith and Devotion (Mute Records, 1993). I went for rapist (Mute Records, 1990) today for two reasons: it is the one that contains Staff Jesus, which is not a theme, it is an outlet, and because it was, of the four studio albums that cover this stage, the first that combined me against the ropes.

I already had references from the band. Someone had told me: "Hey, brat, stop talking shit and listen to Depeche Mode". I did it. I listened to the single version of Staff Jesus, and I cannot explain to you here what was the anxiety of hearing for the first time that riff bulky, resounding, 300 kilograms of sound in a post-apocalyptic landscape with lightning in the background and orange skies, swaying, orphaned, on top of a rhythmic swing whose chains and rivets always seem about to break, but never do. I will have enough of this column if someone who reads it right now, without having encountered the subject before, goes, looks for it, reproduces it, and the same anxieties as me that time form.

There is a beautiful moment and only a few times repeatable in the life of the listener, which is to collide in the song with a style not even sniffed before. When you know, with a very clear and very distinct Cartesian certainty, that you have never, ever, ever heard anything like that. Whether the moment occurs will depend on how far the listener is from the style—consciously or not—and how much of the style is in the song. But when it happens, the feeling is that an entire work, an entire particular aesthetic fits there in two or three minutes, and that it will last a lifetime. This is how it happened to me when Spinetta said: “Early the peach / fell from the tree”; when Charly yells: “They're dead! They are dead! They are dead!"; when Robert Smith sings: “Standing on the beach with a gun in my hand”; and when i heard Staff Jesus.

But before getting there, whoever gropes rapist for the first time you will have to go through World in My Eyes, where the rhythm is marked by a sampling hollow of what would become the barking cough of the machines; You will have to go through the electric meows that appear after the 42nd second of Sweetest Perfection; and above all things, meeting David Gahan's voice of the living dead.

Here in the convent everyone imitates someone. Forget those candid "no, I'm original" speeches. What's that? Original or original. To you what nobody has caught the account in the necklace of the mimesis. Of course there are people who breathe another type of oxygen, and detect the umami taste while you and I do not go beyond sweet and salty. They are, well, the usual special people, the Thom Yorkes and Ornette Colemans of the world. But in his gestures, however avant-garde they may be, there is no intention of originality (although there really is, take note). An artist can only be original as long as the desire to be so is not noticed; otherwise your train will have stopped at one of the most populous stations of the ridiculous: the pujada vanguard. Many very good people have fallen there, don't believe it. Cortázar wrote a novel that can be read in two different ways; Lars von Trier, in nymphomaniac, completely contradicts the characterization of a character who had worked for, not one, two films!, to ensure the final impact and continue to be Lars von Trier, the Danish groundbreaker; and our left-handed monster Santiago Feliú says “dimensionally different”, which as you can see is an ugly construction but it sounds cultured and shocks the university classrooms. Returning to the trill, Stone Temple Pilots imitates Pearl Jam and Pearl Jam Sonic Youth. Melendi imitates Ricardo Arjona, Arjona Sabina, Sabina Bob Dylan and Bob Dylan, well... I'm not going to get into that, God, it must be. Well, I have not found who David Gahan imitates, neither in the territory of men, nor in that of Zeus, nor in that of Hades. There is no record so far of another voice like that. I'm about to think that it's not real, that it's another noise from the synths, and David just moves his lips, doubles, like Milli Vanilli.

One of the best kept secrets of Depeche Mode is the separation of rhythmic and harmonic speech in the background. Whoever is not doing anything right now, go to the sixth and seventh tracks, Enjoy The Silence and Policy of Truth. If you leave nothing more than the rhythmic dimension of these songs, you can start dancing without much conflict. Now, it is enough for a chord to sound for you to return to your chair immediately, with the sorrow of a custodian at six in the morning. Rhythm and harmony only make a chorus on a first reading, and that's why the band works on the dance floor, but if you scratch the veneer just a little, you know that the language of rhythm is directed to a subject, and that of harmony to other. The same if we say that one speaks the language of the body and the other that of the soul.

It is not necessary to pay much attention to the lyrics to enjoy this album. Depeche Mode is not that kind of experience. The complete package is always better, obviously, but what I'm saying is that the earthquake here is not produced by words. The thing about the British group is that nobody has ever heard or will hear something like that. There is not, in the sound web of the world, an aesthetic direction equal to Depeche Mode. And under these conditions, the lyrics, logically, lose relevance. That said, the album does contain some very accomplished lyrical passages, like this one: “You wear guilt like a halo in reverse"

rapist It should not be heard once, or twice, or three, and that's it. It must be tomographed. After learning the melodies, which are floating on the surface, break down all the accessory noises. In Blue Dress, for example, I don't know if I like the theme more than the keyboard phrase of the other. That's a strange melody. It is in an area between sweetness and fear, which are two distant areas, but, I don't know how, those from Essex invented a Channel Tunnel that brings them closer. Despite this, I don't like the overexploitation of the other instrumental. Of nine tracks (I'm talking about the first edition, from 1990, which ends in Clean) is used in five, which makes it less unique. The excessive reiteration of that tool causes the listener to question the inevitability of its use. Expressive tactics, as is known, are the ways of materializing discourse in communicative processes such as music; And there are many, of course. But the use of a specific resource is only justified if the receiver swallows the tupe that only in this way can the speech be broadcast. It is a "fool me that I like". By repeating the trick so much, Depeche Mode trivializes it, and the listener doesn't perceive it as inescapable, which is what should happen.

Well, I left, the alarm has already sounded. hear this, Knight. If you don't believe me, and know someone gene X British, ask him what happened in London nightclubs in the last months of the '80s, when everyone was having the most fun exchanging secretions and, suddenly, an accomplice DJ played that “Reach out and touch faith!"

Avatar photo Carlos M. Merida hearer. Collector without space. Lawyer. Afraid of bees and hurricane winds. More posts

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