Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Plastic Heart by De/Vision

I'm probably a little too circumspect in describing how much I like De/Vision material.  I admit that my prior posts on them seem a bit ambivalent.  De/Vision didn't really get consistently good until their fourth album, and I do have to admit that there's a lot of filler in all but two of their albums (Monosex and Popgefahr) but since they have twenty albums available (if you count remix albums, that is--if not, you've still got 14 or so) there is a lot of really good material out there.  A casual glance at the audio files on my memory card on my Android will indicate that other than Depeche Mode tracks, I have more De/Vision than any other single artist.  Probably by quite a long shot, in fact (although Erasure, Mesh, Duran Duran, Pet Shop Boys, and several others have a pretty respectable number of tracks too.)  Some of their tracks are among my favorite synthpop tracks--80s or otherwise--that I turn to over and over again, and have done so for years.

Part of this is the collection of stunningly fabulous remixes of De/Vision songs that I have, though, I should admit.  Not only do they have singles with remixes (like anyone else) but they also did something that was somewhat unprecedented, and which I can't remember ever seeing anywhere else.  They took 2010's Popgefahr, as I mentioned above, already tied for best of their albums ever, with essentially no real filler tracks, and opened up a remix contest.  The intent was that they'd release an all new Popgefahr remixed, with all ten tracks, in order, remixed by an outside source.  In point of fact, they did considerably more.  They released a double-CD with all ten songs remixed twice.  They then put out another release for the North American market, also a double CD, but with all new remixes that are not the same as the European remixes (with a small number of exceptions, which are duplicated.)  Because out of 40 remixes, only three of them are repeats (for a total number of unique remixes of 37) you really should, if you like De/Vision remixes, track down both double-CD releases.  Neither the US nor the European release is qualitatively better than the other (both contain some of my favorite versions, as a matter of fact) you're missing out on great material if you don't get both of them.

Then they went and released yet another limited edition remix album with ten completely different remixes of all of the same songs.  Counting the original, that means that there are six versions of the Popgefahr album, and with very few exceptions, all of the tracks are unique.  On top of this, the album did also spawn two CD singles, both of which have at least some other remixes from the album other than those released on the remix album.  This remix frenzy is really quite unprecedented, and it is fun to see it, actually.  It also contributes greatly to the amount of De/Vision sound files that I have on my phone.  I probably have almost as many Popgefahr tracks, in one version or another, as I do all of the other De/Vision tracks put together (on my phone that is.  I actually have all of their albums now, so far, and many of their singles.)  This is, in part, due to the extremely high quality of the songs themselves, but also due to the extremely high quality of many of the remixes.

Sadly, one of my favorite of the tracks, "Twisted Story" only has three remixes, one by Vasyl Tkach and one by Rob Dust.  These two tracks are repeated on both the German and US version of the remix album (the limited edition 3.0 mix has a third remix) and both of them are also on the "Twisted Story" CD single. I would have expected to see more, and given that it was one of my absolute favorite tracks on the original CD, I'm disappointed not to see it out there.

However, one of my other favorite tracks, "Plastic Heart" has all unique remixes, and some fan remixes of nearly equal quality abound on youtube and elsewhere.  I, in fact, have nine versions on my phone, and I'm aware of at least a couple other bootlegs out there here and there.

In fact, I'm going to specifically highlight one of these bootlegs today, but I have to reiterate; this Popgefahr stuff is really good.  Tons of good tracks, tons of good remixes.  I don't love every single remix, of course (a few are totally not my style) but I really do like most of them.  You can buy everything except the US version as a Popgefahr Collection 4-cd from Amazon for less than $40--it includes the two German remix albums, the 3.0 remix album and the original.  You can also buy the US remix albums as an mp3 download (or CD) fairly easily too.  For about $50, you can get six albums with better than 70% (in my opinion) of the tracks being incredibly excellent.  That leaves, if you're somewhat math impaired, only about three versions of any song per album that I could kind of take or leave, or otherwise don't like.  That's an extremely good ratio; better than almost any other album I could name across any genre.

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