It was fascinating to discover a year or so ago that the VCMG project was not Vince Clarke‘s first foray into electronic dance music. Of course, Erasure b-sides and remixes had long nudged into darker territory, but we’d never heard anything quite as electro as Ssss by VCMG.
Or had we? Without telling anybody, Vince snuck out an album of “library music” (music for using in film, TV, commercials, etc) through a label called Extreme Music. And yes, it really is him.
Subtitled “Eargonomic Sci-Fi Allied Binary Odes,” whatever that means, Deeptronica snuck out back in 2009, and is a quite exceptional collection of music.
The first track is Ahead of the Curve, which, like the whole album, is short and sweet – there’s nothing over three minutes here. It sounds like the crescendo of a new Jean Michel Jarre album, and in many ways, it might benefit from being twice as long, as you could explore the sounds and themes a little more.
The trend continues: Gravitational Pull is beautifully gentle, and as with many of the tracks you can really imagine it being used in a television series. Love Hertz is the closest to “traditional” Clarke territory, with its 6/8 rhythm somewhat channelling Erasure.
My personal favourite is Second Sight, which is another powerful Jarre-inspired piece, with throbbing bass and rattling percussive sounds. The uptempo tracks have all the Clarke signatures of mini arpeggios and hypnotic rhythms, while the slower ones do clearly seem to channel the Clarke and Ware Experiment albums. Others, such as Radiation Invasion and Future Tense, somehow manage to achieve both at once, and are simultaneously wonderfully chilled and rhythmic.
Late highlights include the penultimate track Time Squared, which just needs an Andy Bell vocal and you would have a better Erasure track than anything they had released for a long time in 2009.
Altogether, the fifteen tracks just about hit the forty minute mark, and each leaves you with a little taster of something new. Each does make you wish it could have been longer, or more coherent and structured as a collection of tracks, but you can really see how they might work in advertisements or on television somewhere. Which I suppose is the whole idea.
Less contemporary but generally more melodic than Ssss, Deeptronica is a brilliant little album, even if seemingly listening to it was not the intended use. In many ways, the only slight disappointment is that this album isn’t available for the public to buy through traditional means.
You can listen to (and potentially download) Deeptronica in its entirety from Extreme Music.