The musical director of Depeche Mode becomes a sound pioneer. Alan Wilder was one of the first artists who worked with samples. He made turbulent and fascinating soundscapes, seasoned with beautiful voices.
At the end of 1981 Vince Clarke (who played the keyboard) leaves Depeche Mode. He thinks that the band is heading for a gloomy direction after ‘Dreaming of me’ and ‘Just can’t get enough’, two cheery songs which he wrote. Even though he is far too old according to the job description, Alan Wilder manages to bluff his way through the interview.
Depeche Mode takes on a very defining person. The classically trained Wilder does not write a lot of songs but he influences the sound of the British band. He is the kind of musical director who gives songs the right touch.
A good example is ‘Enjoy the silence’ from ‘Violater’ (1986). This is originally a melancholic ballad from Martin Gore. Wilder notices the hit potential and uses an upbeat rhythm. The song becomes one the most famous, important and successful Depeche Mode songs.
Wilder is part of the band from 1982 to 1995. Then he leaves because he cannot take the pressure of being part of a world-famous band and because there are internal conflicts. He gets an offer from The Cure but disregards it friendly.
Wilder makes his first album as Recoil short after ‘Violater’ (1986). ‘Hydrology’ is released, just as Depeche Mode, with Mute Records. It is one of the first albums where samples are being used.
For ‘Bloodline’ (1991) he works with guest singers for the first time. Wilder lets his turbulent and fascinating soundscapes be seasoned with the most varied voices. Moby, blues singers Bukka White and Joe Richardson, Toni Halliday of the British shoegazers Curve, Douglas McCarthy of Nitzer Ebb, the American poet Maggie Estep…
The biggest variation can be found on ‘Liquid’ (2000). The impressive Diamanda Galás stands next to the crooners of The Golden Gate Jubilee Quartet and 2 American spoken word performers. The album receives a Grand Prix du Disque, an award for the most exceptional musical performances.
Wilder performs live again since last year. He hadn’t done that since he left Depeche Mode.
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