For The Masses
DE/VISION - Unplugged and the motion pictures (DVD)
On the 16th of August 2001, the most popular German SynthPoP band De/vision did an unplugged gig during the
PopKom 2001. This unplugged session was recorded by the German music broadcast station ViVa for "Overdrive".
At this time De/vision hit their peak with the album TWO and the singles "Heart-Shaped Tumor" and
the two co-productions with "Green Court" "Shining" and "Take (My Breath Away)".
Well, picky listeners would not designate this session an unplugged one, as De/vision still make use of an
electronic keyboard and a synthesiser. But the most important thing is that all musical and sound elements
are played live. De/vision was also supported by an additional drummer, guitarist and keyboard player,
and the guitarist Lars Baumgardt also supports the band during concerts.
This unplugged session includes 9 tracks taken from the albums "Two", "Void" and "Monosex"
which were rearranged and performed with great emotion
and remarkable warmth. The audio recordings of this gig
were already released in 2002 (read my review).
The package includes the live
video, additional ten video clips including three brand
new live recordings from the wave gothic meeting in
Leipzig in 2004, an interview, a picture slideshow and
the full discography.
additional audio CD is features the whole unplugged
session and three previously unreleased remixes of the
songs "Drifting Sideways (gigi d'augostino viaggio
mix)", "I'm Not Dreaming Of You (nevarakka mix)" and
"Aimee (intuition mix)".
The DVD comes with 16:9
format and both 2.0 and 5.1 Dolby Digital (only the
unplugged session) sound. Unfortunately the 16:9 format
isn't anamorphous, therefore the full lines are not
utilized which results in a lost of sharpness. Also the
automatic format changing does not work. Nevertheless
the picture quality is still very good and portrays very
good contrast, vivid colours, a good sharpness and no
video-noises. The sound is as good as on CD and hits the
listener with firm basses, very balanced mids and clear
During the German
interview (optional with English subtitles) De/vision
speaks about their chronicle from their begginings in
1998 until now and delivers some very interesting
information about De/vision (e.g. the importance
producing demanding music, first successes with "Strange
Ways Records", comparisons with Depeche Mode, the lost
of fans with "Void", etc.).
On the whole, this DVD package delivers an exciting
view of the band's musical qualities, a variety of their
video clips and much more in a good quality package.
|Date of Release:
||30th August 2004
DE/VISION - Pictures Of The Past (non unplugged) (DVD/CD)
This DVD includes the videos "Live Moments We
Share and "FairyLive" which were filmed in
1995 and 1996. The two live concerts have been available
on CD audio for a long time and
nearly entered the German charts years back. Now, after almost 10
years the video material is available and represents De/vision of
a time when the trio (including Markus) only worked
with electronic sounds. Many fans are proclaiming
this time the heyday of De/vision. Also the purchasing
patterns for the last releases have shown that the
fans prefer the pure electronic compositions of De/vision.
Technically the DVD features only 4:3 format and
Dolby Digital Stereo. The video quality does not really
reach modern requirements due to the age of the
recordings and the fact that the videos were filmed on
video masters. The viewer has to forgo the vivid
colours, excellent sharpness and contrast available in
later, more technically advanced DVD releases. This is
especially evident in "Live Moments We Share" which is
filmed too dark with a constant block-noise is present.
But regarding the current demands for technical
superiority, it's very creditable that De/vision decided
to bring out those live concerts on DVD.
is the more exciting video as it combines both live acts
and touring happenings (including interviews and studio
reports) in a short film which is spiced up with stylish
elements. Much like Depeche Modes "101" or Apoptygma
Berserk's "Live 2000", all live acts are in full
length. As a bonus this DVD also includes the
rare video clips of "Blue Moon", "I Regret 1996", "We
Fly Tonight", "Strange Affection", "Foreigner",
"Freedom" and "I Regret 2003".
Well, apart from the average sound and picture
quality, this DVD represents a worthwhile retrospective
of a time when De/vision was focused on pure electronic
|Date of Release:
||30th August 2004
Equatronic - Too Close, Too Far And Gone
After a ten years, Equatronic is able to look
retrospectively on a successful musical career.
Equatronic started in 1996 with their self-produced five
track E.P. Shadowland which was re-released with
additional tracks in 1997 by the independent label Zoth
In 1998 Equatronic were scaled back to a duo
and produced their second longplayer "Motivation". In
2002 Equatronic, comprising of members Oliver Thom and
Dorothea Brandt, released their so far "real" last album
During the last 10 years, mastermind
Oliver Thom always held together Equatronic and now they
are releasing the "Best of" album featuring 12 remixed
versions of their best songs. The remixes are made by
"Wave In Head", "Tristraum", "Liberté", "Pearls Of Dew",
"Northern Electric", "Pleasures Remain" and other
"Too Close, Too Far And Gone" is
features technically refreshing remixes which absolutely
satisfy the requirements of modern music. In doing so
the remixed versions never alter the typical Equatronic
core, and therefore successfully retrain the feeling of
each Equatronic song. Therefore, the songs still retain
the gorgeously simple and very remarkable melodies. It
is the simplicity of Equatronic's electronic
compositions that is able to convey a great portion of
melancholic emotions and warmth.
characteristic of Equatronic is Oliver Thom's voice. And
I am right to affirm, you either to love or hate it.
Well, I have to admit that I got used to his exceptional
singing and appreciate all the releases by Equatronic.
On the whole, this remixed album is delivers 12
well-done remixes of both danceable songs (e.g. Shame,
Assistant Views, Light, Late Night Show) and melancholic
ballads (Searing Eyes, Always The Same, No Tomorrow),
which I have to recommend to people who like 'easygoing'
and very melodic electronic music.
|Date of Release:
||5th July 2004
Pleasures Remain - Magmatears
This German Duo, now consisting of Matthias and
Heike, released their debut single "Waste My Time" in
late 2002 (read the review). In 2002 I also had the
chance to interview Heike of Pleasures Remain (click
here). Now, I am very proud to review the debut
album "Magmatears" by these talented newcomers.
After a short instrumental intro, the album kicks
off with the very 80s styled and pulsing track, "One
Step Ahead". The title of this track could not be more
accurate. After being invited to dance, the following
track reduces the speed with gentle electronic sounds
and a reposeful singing.
The third track "Dark
Affairs" is also based on a mid-speed foundation and the
sounds are reduced to the most essential elements and
kept very minimalist. The interplay of Matthias and
Heike's vocal parts works absolutely perfect and
harmonic. After these two mid-tempo songs the re-worked
single track "Waste My Times" loosen the album with both
melancholy and catchy melodies. With "Remember" the duo
capped it all. The seventh track "Hall Of Shame" is
build on an akin structure as "One Step Ahead" and again
the eighties influences are very concise.
mid-speed tracks the ballade "One Rainy Day" showcases
the skills of Pleasure Remain, who can also compose
smooth and melancholic duets. The next song "Meeting
You" is one of the less interesting songs. I can't do
anything with it, as it is based on disordered melodies
and does not include a cognizant refrain.
vocals for the next song "Hidden Tears" are by Heike.
It's a more or less danceable song that showcases the
old style playful/poppy synth-melodies combined with
sauve melancholy singing. Followed by the "Waste My
Time" CDM B-Side "Pretty Girls", the album contains yet
another peppy song. It's a fast-beat very late 80s,
early 90s influenced song which reminds me of songs by
"Cetu Javu" or "OMD". It's a great eighties resurrecting
song. "Orange Dreams" is the first instrumental song
which acts as interlude for the final song "I Was
Wrong". "I Was Wrong" again represents a mid-speed song
where "Pleasures Remain" sound pleasant up-to-date and
show their competence for creating compositions which
are always kept too minimalist level.
On the whole this album features well known songs for
which Pleasures Remain successfully build on innovative
structures. It's a pure SynthPoP album without techno
runs or trance elements as we know exist in commercial
electronic music - Top Of The SynthPoPs!.
|Date of Release:
||30th August 2004
Back to top