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No. 218 July 2022


translation Marek Dyba
images Wojciech Pacuła

No 218

July 1, 2022


DEPECHE MODE – is an English electronic music band formed in Basildon, Essex, in 1980. It was formed by the lineup of Dave Gahan, Martin Gore, Andy Fletcher, and Vince Clarke (later Yazoo i Erasure), who were later (1982-1995) joined by Alan Wilder. ⸜ Entry: „Depeche Mode” in:; accessed: 30.05.2022.

OU DEFINITELY KNOW this saying: we like the songs we already know best. It's true - we instinctively value things that previously influenced us in some way. Perhaps that is why with such sentiment, and often with joy, we return to the music we listened to when we were teens and in our 20s.

This belief seems to be true because it is confirmed by contemporary research on memory - the way it is encoded and decoded. It is so that memories are not "recorded" linearly. In fact, we remember selected "points", and our brain, in the process of "remembering", encapsulates them in a manner similar to interpolation in digital-to-analog converters. By similarity, by example, etc. This is why our memories are not the same as what really happened.

What's more interesting, however, is that they can still be quite reliable. This is because these chosen points differ with their "power", and the greatest "power" have those that have been recorded together or simply by emotions. And going back to the beginning - we experience the greatest emotions in adolescence and early youth. When we add to this the fact, that the most perfect carrier of emotions known to us is music, it turns out that we remember best (a) emotionally marked events, as well as (b) the music associated with them. And that's why we like what we already know.

No wonder that for each successive generation there is a group of creators, performers, artists they value the most. It is equally understandable, that each successive generation believes that their creators, performers and artists are the best, most valuable, simply brilliant. For the same reason, the "new" in music is not as good for them, often secondary. They do not remember that their parents spoke similarly about their music and their grandparents spoke about their music. Because each of us "carries" a given temporal segment, and with it the music related to it. I, for example, am a Depeche Mode dieheart.

I say "I am" and not "I was" because you are a fan of one or another creator, performer, artist for the rest of your life, regardless of how you educate yourself musically and what value the albums recorded by them will represent in later years. It's a bit like scouting - you are a scout forever, even if your uniform has long been eaten by moths and your cross has tarnished. It is about something in us, not about external symbols.

Although ... In the case of music, the "external" seems to be equally important. After all, the representation of music, apart from the notation, are the recordings and it is they that are the reason why music lives in us for the most part. Thanks to the records, I can call myself a "Depeche Mode dieheart". Even though I’ve never copied the characteristic hairstyle of Dave Gahan from the 1980s - nor did I wear leather clothes, like the whole band from the time of the Violator album and the Personal Jesus single, Depeche Mode is still one of the most important bands for me. On May 27th however, its story ended, in my opinion.

Andrew Fletcher, co-founder of Depeche Mode, is dead. He was only 60 years old, 42 of which he spent as a member of the group. He didn't write any songs, but he was considered the good spirit of the band, keeping it in check. He rather stood on the side and didn't feel like a star. - "Nobody even recognizes me on the street" - he told Onet. - Nobody expected this death, the greater is the sadness and shock of the fans for whom Depeche Mode is everything.

⸜ PAWEŁ PIOTROWICZ, Ten trzeci. Andrew Fletcher z Depeche Mode nie żyje. Nie wiemy, co to oznacza dla przyszłości zespołu,, 27 May 2022, accessed: 30.05.2022.

Fletcher was a guy who never composed anything for DM, wasn't an outstanding musician, wasn't even the life and soul of the party. And yet it is thanks to him, as it is often emphasized, that the band survived for forty-two years. Dave Clark had been there too briefly to exert any influence on the "Basildon guys," as the press wrote about them in the 1980s. Even one of the most important members of DM, Alan Wilder, responsible for the sound of the group's best albums, wasn't important enough for the band to be fully accepted by the other three.

The story was always played out between the three: Gore - Fletcher - Gahan. Gore was the author of almost the entire repertoire from the time when the group recorded the best the most successful albums, and Gahan was the "face", the best frontman the group could have dreamed of. And its main voice. They both clashed, quarreled, and insulted each other. And "the third one"? - Fletcher he was the connecting element between them that kept them from killing each other. He was a friend of Gore's, who didn't quite get along with Gahan, and he was also a lightning rod that channeled disputes between the two.

That's why, even though people laughed so often that he plays with one finger at concerts and seems unnecessary, he was just as important as the rest of Depeche Mode. Therefore, I believe that without him, the band’s history will end. And if it doesn't, it will be on a straight path to a disaster.

My recommendations

IF YOU WANT to reach for any of Depeche Mode's albums, and you did not follow their work too closely, I would like to propose a few of their titles from all the time they were active that are worth getting to know. On the other hand, to those who have some of their albums, I would like to recommend their most interesting releases. From among over 200 LPs, CDs and SACDs with regular albums, remixes, concerts and singles that I have, I chose five, in my opinion, the most important ones. I will focus on digital versions.

˻1˺ VIOLATOR ⸜ 1990

This album was made after a world tour, which resulted in a live release entitled 101. The band was at its peak of popularity at the time. FLOOD was responsible for the production and François Kevorkian for the sound; Flood also produced U2, Nick Cave, and The Smashing Pumpkins. The album went platinum three times, selling 3.5 million copies. The singles Enjoy the Silence and Personal Jesus are still played by radio stations today.

The multi-track material from the recording sessions was mixed in analog domain into ½” analog tape. The best digital version is the one released in Japan by Alfa Records (1990). In a thick box we find an album and a single Enjoy the Silence, as well as a calendar with pictures of the band from sessions for the Personal Jesus music video. The contemporary version that can be recommended is the 2006 remix, released on a hybrid SACD and DVD with hi-res music and video.

˻2˺ ABROKEN FRAME ⸜ 1982

The second album that I would like to recommend is also DM's actual second album. It was created in a very difficult time for the band, that is, after the departure of Vince Clark, who composed all the music for the group's debut. Even though Alan Wilder was already in the band at the time, the group decided to finish the album as a trio, or a quartet in fact as the owner of their home label Mute, DANIEL MILLER, was helping them by producing, playing and producing the sound. The author of the music and lyrics was Martin Gore.

This album is not liked by the group, but in my opinion is one of their best. At that time, Vince Clark was successful with the Yazoo group, and the DM’s album was selling poorly - and perhaps hence the opinion of the musicians. However, there is everything we love the new romantic music for, that is melancholy, great melodies and pop style. I recommend the pre-remix version, released in 1989 in Japan by Warner-Pioneer Corporation as part of the "Forever Young" series.


This album started a "dark" period in the group's activities, with serious lyrics, heavier, more complex music. Some of the works were created in Hans's Berlin studios, right next to the Berlin Wall. It is important that the music video for the song A Question of Time was made by director ANTON CORBIJN and it was his first contact with Depeche Mode. He started a cooperation that continues to this day, which established the graphic identification of the band. Let me add, that this Dutch artist also collaborated with Nirvana, Johny Cash, Metallica and Nick Cave.

This is a "formation" album for me, because it was the first one I bought myself. It was possible because the album, under a license, was released in Poland by the Tonpress label (1987). The cover didn’t include embossed areas, it was thin, and the vinyl didn't sound like a Western one, but I didn't know it at the time. What's more, the same label then released the DM maxi single from the Black Celebration album, titled Stripped; it was the first maxi-single in the history of Polish phonography. And one more thing - the Polish version of BC is available in a version pressed from DMM matrices by the Мелодия company ...

I recommend the original version released in Japan, as well as the vinyl released in 1986 by Mute - they are the best.


This single comes from the Violator album. It was recorded as the first track, still in the studio in Milan, before the group moved to the next studies. It was released in 1989, so earlier than the album itself. The song Personal Jesus referred to Elvis Presley and his wife Priscilla’s relationship, but was perceived by many churches as blasphemy. This did not prevent it from succeeding. In 2004, it was included in the "500 Greatest Songs Ever" list of the "Rolling Stone", and in September 2006, in the "100 Greatest Songs Ever" list of the "Q" magazine. The covers of this song were performed, among others, by Marilyn Manson and Johnny Cash.

There are dozens of versions of this single available, but I would like to highlight the maxi single. It is worth buying one of the vinyl editions, because of the great, sensual photos of Corbin. When it comes to digital versions, my favorite is from the American Sire label. This release features one of the best DM acoustic mixes that sounds just unbelievably good - listen for yourselves!

˻5˺ ULTRA ⸜ 1997

In 1995, Alan Wilder decided to leave the group. In his statement, he wrote about growing tensions and dissatisfaction. It is known that he was never treated as "a true member", despite the fact that he did the most work. His departure ended the best period of DM carrier. Gahan's suicide attempt and drug overdose, which almost resulted in his death, proves that the band was doing badly at that time. After drug addiction treatment, the three musicians decided to go back to recording and with the help of producer TIMA SIMENONE, the album Ultra was created.

Initially, it was supposed to be only an EP, but the musicians liked the work so much that they wrote and recorded quite quickly enough songs to complete the entire album. The release of the single Barrel of a Gun, which I bought at the bazaar on a cassette tape, copied in Poland by the Takt label, was a great experience for me. My friends and I were partying for three days, listening to it almost all the time.

In my opinion, the best version of this album is the one released in Japan on BSCD2 (Blu-spec CD 2). This is a remix, but not much different from the original, as the album was recorded in the Pro Tools system and it was easy to return to all original settings. It is available as a separate mini LP disc or in a beautiful box with other titles.


Andy, rest in peace, where ever it is that you now play with this single finger of yours…

Chief editor

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