NBHAP Rating: 2,2/5
[one_half last=”yes”]MG (MARTIN L. GORE)
06. Europa Hymn
Something to do
With a certain age you get to embrace the concept of routine in your life. Album – Tour – Solo-Project. Album – Tour – Solo-Project. And again. Synthpop titans DEPECHE MODE found their perfect working formula in the past years. A new record every four years, accompanied by a massive world tour and followed by extended holiday and solo projects by bandleaders Dave Gahan and MARTIN L. GORE. While Gahan found his new spiritual home in the collaboration with British gospel rockers SOULSAVERS (they are currently recording their second album) Gore has lately become more active on the production basis, far away from his main job as the sensitive songwriter of his band. Following the technoid instrumental record Ssss with former band mate Vince Clarke as VCMG back in 2012 he has now detached 50 percent of it – MG – into a project of its own, resulting in this new solo album, packed with 16 instrumentals he recorded in his home studio in California
A movie without script
Although MG marks GORE‘s first solo output since 2003’s Counterfeit² the new record couldn’t be further away from the cover album he released 12 years ago. His voice and songwriting skills are not asked this time, it’s all about sound. The curly blonde delivers 16 tracks and sketches, all bound together by his love for synthetic sounds. Although the producer claims to be inspired by cinematic sci-fi movies and the image of space in all of its endlessness it’s rather a concept album but a loose compilation of tracks and sketches. The longest piece is four and a half minutes long, the shortest barely two minutes. MARTIN L. GORE isn’t interested in epic instrumental anthems right here but prefers compact ideas, some more developed than others. It starts with floating and frisking synthesizer sounds (Pinking), heads towards a more gloomy and industrial direction (Swanning) before referencing VANGELIS’ legendary Blade Runner score (Exalt) and even a bit of Angelo Badalmenti’s groundbreaking Twin Peaks soundtrack (Elk). Right now one thing becomes clear: the DEPECHE MODE mastermind didn’t deliver one continuing movie score but 16 little short movies on their own.
Pointless producer pleasures
MG only offers a bit variety within its sound. Some tunes are a bit rougher like Creeper with its nervous and swirling bass frequencies or Brink and Crowly whose four-to-the-floor beat clearly references the VCMG record although GORE allows the tracks to break the tight dancefloor corset. MG is not a techno album, neither is it an ambient record. It rearranges some of the musician’s favourite sounds and puts them in a new context. You might spot a few DEPECHE MODE sounds in here (Stealth) but a track like Europa Hymn also works perfectly as a clear nod to KRAFTWERK. References, ideas, an undeniable love for analogue sounds and good production. Yes, it’s all in here on one album but it doesn’t work as a whole. There’s no leitmotif which might usually not be a huge problem but in this case the album itself is just too long and the variety of the sounds is just too little. It doesn’t matter if you’re a big Devotee or just a lover of good electronic music: Pretty soon you’ll be left asking yourself ‘What’s the point of that release?’ Besides having a big name written on it the new MARTIN L. GORE album is really more of a ‘just OK’-record than one you would label ‘outstanding’ or ‘impressive.’ There’s just too little happening in these songs to carry the concept of a full instrumental album. It surely was a fun experience and amusement for the producer (and we should accept it for just this cause) but we’re pretty sure it won’t awake the same amount of enthusiasm with its listeners.
MARTIN L. GORE’s instrumental LP ‘MG’ is relatively random selection of sketches and ideas with a few inspiring ideas but no clear vision beyond that; not bad, not good – just never mind.