There is little more to tell about Depeche Mode – you know it all already. This album, however, lets us focus on a different side to Depeche Mode, one that maybe isn’t as forthcoming as the albums you own, maybe even a side that people who only buy their albums might have missed out on all these years – that is other artists' interpretations of Depeche Mode songs, and re-interpretations by the band themselves.
Listening to this album is quite frankly fascinating. Over the course of the generous three-album set you are presented for the first time with what appears to be an alternate history of Depeche Mode. As innovative as they always were in their songwriting and production, it is here you can see how visionary they truly were, through the choice of remixers and what has been allowed to be changed.
If you look at the list of artists contributing here, it could be seen as a who’s who for dance music, with some of the most important artists and producers of the last twenty years represented here; everyone from renowned producers such as William Orbit and Adrian Sherwood through to talented acts such as Air and Underworld.
Also listening to the album gives you a sense of how important Depeche Mode have been to the art of remixing. Consider this, Depeche Mode have been involved in remixing from practically the very beginning; the earliest track ”Just Can’t Get Enough” on this set dating from 1981 – the time of disco – now when you hear this it is more likely to remind you of the music you’re listening to in the clubs right now. This sense of innovation goes right through the collection – listen to the 2004 remixes and you might get an idea of where they are heading. Even if you are an avid Depeche Mode fan and have everything they have ever done, don’t worry – at least six of the remixes here are specially for this compilation, including an amazing reworking of ”Enjoy the Silence” by Mike Shinoda.
With such an array of talent on show here it is impossible to say which are the standout tracks, so instead some I recommend to listen out for, purely because I like them that much: Underworld's amazing remix of ”Barrel of a Gun” on CD1, the awesome ”Pain Killer-Kill the Pain” Cut‘n’Paste provided by DJ Shadow and Speedy J’s manic ”It’s No Good” and William Orbit providing a touch of class with his ”Walking in My Shoes” re-working.
This album goes to prove that Depeche Mode have contributed not just a formidable amount of memorable songs, but their ability to choose remixers who can push the envelope into different musical directions is really inspiring. This compilation is not just music – it is a historical document showcasing the idea of music and the art of remixing working in harmony perfectly – something that has been used and still continues to be developed.