In 1986, Depeche Mode would have been firmly on the way towards producing what would become Music for the Masses. Tucked away at somewhere called Studio Guillaume Tell in Paris, they recorded five demos which would ultimately somehow slip out under the name Paris Demos.
The first of the five is the instrumental Agent Orange, which would ultimately appear as the b-side to some versions of Strangelove and was also a bonus track on Music for the Masses. This version is gentler, and a little more dull, clearly in need of a little surgery somewhere down the line.
Next is a slightly different version of Behind the Wheel. The bass is more throbbing and raw, the drums a little more manic, but essentially you have all the ingredients of the final track, and it could be all but finished.
These are, on the whole, well developed demos. I Want You Now follows (I think we’re doing alphabetical order here by the look of things). It’s not by any means identical to the final version, but it’s entirely recognisable. The vocal samples are less polished, presumably in need of a little mastering, but they’re largely as used in the final version.
Sacred is a little longer than the final album version, but apart from that and a slightly more strident bass part (and also being from a particularly poor quality cassette dub) it is not unlike the completed mix.
Finally Strangelove turns up, sounding as though it’s played through a sock, and so it’s difficult to discern exactly what’s different, but to my ears it’s almost identical to the final version. And pretty good for all that.
Demos are always worth hearing if you get the chance, as they give you a totally different perspective of a track, helping you to understand a little more about what it actually means, or why particular sounds are chosen. Paris Demos is definitely no exception, and is well worth the listen.
Search for Paris Demos on Google.