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Vince Clarke|Songs of Silence

Songs of Silence

Vince Clarke

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Trapped by the pandemic, Vince Clarke started messing with his Eurorack modular synthesizer. "It was an opportunity to get acquainted with gear that I didn't fully understand. I'd been collecting the modules for a while, but never bothered to read the manuals. With lockdown there was lots of time to watch Eurorack tutorials on YouTube. I actually enjoy watching synthesizer geeks talking about granular synthesis." While he claims to be surprised that the Mute label wanted to release Songs of Silence, he steadily built textures into the ten tracks of pulsing ambience, what he calls "synth-generated, cosmic remoteness" that's "often jolted by stark interventions." Clarke wisely kept the chapters short; none reach the five-minute mark. "Imminent" is a drone over which curtains of synth tones shimmer. The ominous tolling of "Red Planet" blends into chiming notes that sinuously slide before sequencers quiver and shake. Clarke has said that he thinks of the emotional tenor of these tracks as "having a sense of sadness, of things going bad, things crumbling," and while the mood is definitely grayscale and cool, an uneasy foreboding quality does inform the structure of this entire session. Cellist Reed Hays joins "The Lamentations of Jeremiah," adding much needed low string textures over synth tones that tremble in the background. A repeated loop accurately suggests the sense of life multiplying in "Mitosis." Molded around a vocal recording of the 1844 anti-scab song "Blackleg Miner," given to Clarke by Human League's Martyn Ware, "Blackleg" falls somewhere between a voice from the grave and a cracked prayer. Clarke's ambient journey closes with "Last Transmission," rising and falling chords that he calls an "oblique homage" to Joy Division. Clarke has been a willing student in his home studio, finding surprise success: "The infinite shades of sounds you can create with just the tiniest tweak of a knob or slider continues to fascinate me." © Robert Baird/Qobuz

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Songs of Silence

Vince Clarke

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1
Cathedral
00:04:21

Vince Clarke, Composer, Producer, Mixer, MainArtist

© 2023 Mute Artists Ltd. ℗ 2023 Mute Artists Ltd.

2
White Rabbit
00:04:40

Vince Clarke, Composer, Producer, Mixer, MainArtist

© 2023 Mute Artists Ltd. ℗ 2023 Mute Artists Ltd.

3
Passage
00:03:10

Vince Clarke, Composer, Producer, Mixer, MainArtist

© 2023 Mute Artists Ltd. ℗ 2023 Mute Artists Ltd.

4
Imminent
00:04:56

Vince Clarke, Composer, Producer, Mixer, MainArtist

© 2023 Mute Artists Ltd. ℗ 2023 Mute Artists Ltd.

5
Red Planet
00:04:40

Vince Clarke, Composer, Producer, Mixer, MainArtist

© 2023 Mute Artists Ltd. ℗ 2023 Mute Artists Ltd.

6
The Lamentations of Jeremiah
00:04:23

Vince Clarke, Composer, Producer, Mixer, MainArtist - Reed Hays, Composer

© 2023 Mute Artists Ltd. ℗ 2023 Mute Artists Ltd.

7
Mitosis
00:04:51

Vince Clarke, Composer, Producer, Mixer, MainArtist

© 2023 Mute Artists Ltd. ℗ 2023 Mute Artists Ltd.

8
Blackleg
00:03:06

Vince Clarke, Composer, Producer, Mixer, MainArtist

© 2023 Mute Artists Ltd. ℗ 2023 Mute Artists Ltd.

9
Scarper
00:03:47

Vince Clarke, Composer, Producer, Mixer, MainArtist

© 2023 Mute Artists Ltd. ℗ 2023 Mute Artists Ltd.

10
Last Transmission
00:04:46

Vince Clarke, Composer, Producer, Mixer, MainArtist

© 2023 Mute Artists Ltd. ℗ 2023 Mute Artists Ltd.

Album review

Trapped by the pandemic, Vince Clarke started messing with his Eurorack modular synthesizer. "It was an opportunity to get acquainted with gear that I didn't fully understand. I'd been collecting the modules for a while, but never bothered to read the manuals. With lockdown there was lots of time to watch Eurorack tutorials on YouTube. I actually enjoy watching synthesizer geeks talking about granular synthesis." While he claims to be surprised that the Mute label wanted to release Songs of Silence, he steadily built textures into the ten tracks of pulsing ambience, what he calls "synth-generated, cosmic remoteness" that's "often jolted by stark interventions." Clarke wisely kept the chapters short; none reach the five-minute mark. "Imminent" is a drone over which curtains of synth tones shimmer. The ominous tolling of "Red Planet" blends into chiming notes that sinuously slide before sequencers quiver and shake. Clarke has said that he thinks of the emotional tenor of these tracks as "having a sense of sadness, of things going bad, things crumbling," and while the mood is definitely grayscale and cool, an uneasy foreboding quality does inform the structure of this entire session. Cellist Reed Hays joins "The Lamentations of Jeremiah," adding much needed low string textures over synth tones that tremble in the background. A repeated loop accurately suggests the sense of life multiplying in "Mitosis." Molded around a vocal recording of the 1844 anti-scab song "Blackleg Miner," given to Clarke by Human League's Martyn Ware, "Blackleg" falls somewhere between a voice from the grave and a cracked prayer. Clarke's ambient journey closes with "Last Transmission," rising and falling chords that he calls an "oblique homage" to Joy Division. Clarke has been a willing student in his home studio, finding surprise success: "The infinite shades of sounds you can create with just the tiniest tweak of a knob or slider continues to fascinate me." © Robert Baird/Qobuz

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