"Counterfeit 2" short biography (US version)
10 февраля 2003
MARTIN L. GORE
TO RELEASE SOLO ALBUM
APRIL 29th ON MUTE/REPRISE
Martin L. Gore, songwriter and one of the founding members of Depeche Mode, is set to release his new album entitled "Counterfeit2" April 29th on Mute/Reprise Records. The album is the second in his counterfeit cover-version series. Classic tunes by Lou Reed, Iggy Pop, Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds, Kurt Weill, David Essex and John Lennon are among the album's eleven radically reworked homages to musical heroes old and new. The album's first single will be Gore's cover of David Essex' "Stardust."
MARTIN could easily have spent the last 18 months lying on a beach listening to disco music after the monstrously successful Depeche Mode album Exciter and world tour. Instead, GORE knuckled down at his home studio in California, revisiting and reinventing songs which have touched him deeply over the years. Like his first Counterfeit release in 1989, COUNTERFEIT2 is a wildly diverse and passionate collection. But unlike that previous EP, the new record is a fully rounded and exquisitely crafted album made with the benefit of 21 years of experience as a left-field pop pioneer and electroclash originator.
The tracks on COUNTERFEIT2 range from sultry 21st Century blues to achingly lovely sci-fi lullabies, sublime alt-country crooners to engrossing electronic torch songs. A glittering haul of buried treasure, their only guiding spirit being the visceral emotional attachment felt by Martin towards them.
"I really wanted to get across a fan's perspective," says MARTIN. "There is something about the songs I like that somehow gives the album a thread. I don't like throwaway songs very much, there is a fairly serious side to most of them. Deep emotions, I suppose. There has to be a personal connection."
Even casual Depeche Mode fans will recognize the aching vulnerability and lustful longing in these songs of faith and devotion. But the choice of tracks on COUNTERFEIT2 goes deeper than mere influence, right to the roots of why MARTIN became a musician in the first place. "Without some of the artists I've covered here, I wouldn't be writing the way I do. They have all affected me at some point, especially when I was younger."
MARTIN's teenage tastes clearly ranged freely from cult legends to chart pop pin-ups, as COUNTERFEIT2 demonstrates. Here a woozy electro-glide through the strangely soothing alienation of Brian Eno's "By This River," first heard on the sometime Depeche Mode remixer's seminal 1977 ambient album Before And After Science, rubs shoulders with a techno-glam overhaul of post-fame burnout anthem "Stardust," the weirdest David Essex tune ever to grace U.K.'s Top 10. MARTIN is, after all, pop's original Essex boy.
The album's post-lounge take on Iggy Pop's "Tiny Girls" walks a similar highwire act between off-kilter beauty and queasy dissonance. It features a warped update of David Bowie's saxophone solo achieved by reversing the original, learning the backwards version, then flipping the tape again.
GORE also makes his German language debut with a sultry reading of Nico's teutonic torch-burner "Das Lied Vom Einsamen Mädchen" (The Song of The Lonely Girl), before tackling the late chanteuse's partners in grime The Velvet Underground with a trippy remake of Lou Reed's sardonic "Candy Says." "It's really slow and drugged out," laughs Martin. "More drugged out than the original."
A streamlined, softly oscillating version of "Oh My Love" from John Lennon's Imagine album is, says MARTIN, "the most obvious song on the album. He's probably in my top three songwriters of all time, and that song in particular is hard to do. We've taken it down a kind of Tangerine Dream path, keeping most of the chords but leaving out the ones we thought we could get away with."
In choosing the tracks for COUNTERFEIT2, MARTIN also dug deep into the rich musical dark ages before rock 'n' roll. "I Cast A Lonesome Shadow" is a stark techno-noir overhaul of a vintage country tune by Hank Thompson, while "In My Time Of Dying" adds a sensual electronic glow to a mournful spiritual credited to blues legend Blind Willie Johnson (when it was titled "Jesus Make Up My Dying Bed") but later recorded by Bob Dylan and Led Zeppelin. "Although I've never been a religious person," MARTIN explains, "it's a song about how faith helps the whole dying process. That's what it means to me, and I like that notion."
The most straightforward and traditional arrangement on the album is probably the most achingly romantic, as MARTIN croons longingly over piano and strings on Kurt Weill's classic hymn to a godless universe, "Lost In The Stars." "In a way it's the opposite if 'In My Time of Dying,'" he says. "It's a song that gives up on the idea of God, it's about being stranded and left helpless. I go through both emotions at any given time."
As well as nodding to the past, COUNTERFEIT2 acknowledges some of GORE's left-field pop peers. Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds' lusty blues howler "Lover Man" is reborn as a sexually charged trip-hop juggernaut of manicured malevolence. But the album's beatific peak is "In My Other Word," a twilight glide through Julee Cruise's eerie, David Lynchian fable about a parallel universe where cover versions of ourselves are enjoying perfect lives.
So what is the counterfeit MARTIN L. GORE doing, right now, in this magical world just beyond our reach? "He's probably on the beach," grins MARTIN, "listening to disco music."
COUNTERFEIT2. Borrowed songs, real passions. Accept no substitute.
For further information please contact Mitch Schneider / Marcee Rondan / Lathum Nelson at MSO (USA)