Tuesday, June 24, 2014


8-Bit Operators: Tribute to Depeche Mode: Enjoy the Science
Various Artists
(8-Bit Operators)

Note: Since editor-at-large S.L. Kreighton was actually alive when Depeche Mode put out its first single, and he has a grasp of what "chiptune" music is, we made him listen to this new tribute collection. Then when he fell asleep, we took his notes and published them here, exactly as written.

1. "But Not Tonight" - Bacalao
Drives home the significant charm of Dave Gahan's voice. Instrumental bed is fine, and the treated "ooohs" are pretty.

2. "Enjoy the Silence" - Herbert Weixelbaum
Oh Herbert! This doesn't have the immediate-joy of his 8-bit "Tansmusik" from the Kraftwerk tribute.

3. "Boys Say Go" - GOTO80
Dunno this one

4. "Policy of Truth" - Matt Nida feat. Lisa Schumann
Instrumentally, much of this sounds as if it could be an early DM composition. Good choice for vocalist, as Lisa Schumann's gender gives the words a different spin.

5. "Strange Love" - ComputHer
THAT'S WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT. ComputeHer's reading of "Strangelove" recalls the future-fear of battered VHS horror films with plots involving a computer becoming obsessed with a human and going all Lifetime bad-boyfriend on any meatspace occupier foolish enough to get in the way.

6. "Martyr" - gwEm

7. "Clean" - Laker feat. ONTBG
Really does something different with the tune and adds something (possibly) not done by DM: a guest verse from rapper ONTBG.

8. ffwd
[The song is "Photographic (Megamix)" - 8-Bit Operators -- ed.]

9. "New Life" - Patokai
Just a sped-up cover of a song that's already locked in the era in which it was created.

10. "(Set Me Free) Remotivate Me" - Aonami
I don't recall this song. The Web tells me it was a b-side to "Master and Servant." Huh.

11. "Never Let Me Down Again" - crashfaster
Why does the Vocoder (well, Vocoder-like) voice process suit chip-tunes so well? Because it removes the last human element. Hands down the best song DM ever wrote. Not a bad cover.

12. "Dreaming Of Me " - gameboymusicclub
Topic exhaustion sets in.

13. Somebody - Naomi Sample
I'm pretty sure I cried myself to sleep listening to this song at least once when I was 15.

14. "I Just Can’t Get Enough" - Yerzmeyey
Oh, we probably can. Yerzmeyey's treatment is fine. But after Nouvelle Vague, covering this should have stopped.

15. "Behind The Wheel" - Inverse Phase
Pretty, but I'm going to open the door and do the Adam-12 roll. Enough.

Reference materials: Remember when you found that old cassette of the first Depeche Mode album and the keyboards sound like toys now? And it's kind of cool, still, but maybe a little annoying when you're not in the mood? Yup.