Thursday, August 24, 2017

The Picture by Hubert Kah

"The Picture" was formerly a German language single from would-be Alphaville band Hubert Kah  It was called "Wenn Der Mond Die Sonne Berührt" and appeared on their 1984 album Goldene Zeiten.  This was before they even attempted to expand their market out of Germany, but in 1985, it was included as an English language song on the soundtrack for Once Bitten, a rather forgettable screwball vampire comedy movie, which happens to be Jim Carrey's first leading role.

The movie itself is probably pretty terrible (I've never seen it); it's Rotten Tomatoes score is something pitiful like 18%.  Because it's Carrey's first leading role, it's become a bit of a cult classic, and the soundtrack is also a bit of a cult favorite, in part because of this song (it also has a a Real Life song, "Face to Face" on it.  The Remastered version of the soundtrack also has Hubert Kah's "Angel 07" in two versions, as well as two versions of the song I'm highlighting.)

Hubert Kah was never as well known in the Anglophone world as, say, Alphaville, even though they were a very similar type of band in every respect.  Curiously, when Iris (formerly Forgiving Iris) got together, their love of Hubert Kah was one of the things that brought them together in the first place, and they even delayed the release of their debut album while they went out of their way to secure the rights to cover this song.

As an aside, I notice that I never featured an Iris song here.  That's a major disconnect (no pun intended) because they were absolutely one of the hottest synthpop acts at the very end of the 90s, and their debut album (1999) Disconnect is still one of my favorites.  The remix album, Reconnect is also a real winner.  Sadly, they seem to be out of print on Amazon, and therefore extremely pricey.  It's a real shame that they seem to be a little hard to get at a decent price, because it really is phenomenal music.  I've got at least four or five tracks from the first album alone that I'd love to feature here.

Sadly, the band broke up after one album.  They still put stuff out; the singer retained the name and got another instrumentalist.  They've got some good stuff too—some real good stuff, even—but they didn't ever really manage to capture the magic of the first album again.

Anyway, I'd heard of Hubert Kah already because of their other song, "So Many People" which I'd happened to stumble across on an early internet radio station.  It was Iris' cover version that made me aware of this song (which doesn't appear on any of their albums, by the way; at least not in English).  Finally I investigated a few other of their minor hits: "Limousine," "Angel 07", etc.  I'm still not a Hubert Kah fanatic; I've got all of four of their songs (admittedly in multiple versions).  Here's the 12" version of the song, remixed by François Kevorkian of later Depeche Mode production fame.  Keep in mind that remixes in those days weren't very dramatic; they were usually just longer and maybe rearranged the existing elements a bit, so it sounds very much like the original version except longer and with a more dramatic introduction.

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