Martin Gore: MG

review gore x1 cong

Depeche Mode fans don’t seem to like this because there are no tunes on it, but we think it’s pretty good. It’s not as good as the Portico album so if you’re a fan of electronica that’s the one to buy first, but it’s not bad, and far from being a vanity project.
MG is apparently the score to a sci-fi movie that Gore had in his head, and it should be listened to with that in mind. It’s more of a standalone album than the Nick Cave soundtrack we had the other week, though more disjointed than Portico, a “proper” album.
While he’s not tied to an actual film, as was Cave, Gore has presumably imagined the scenes, and so can you. The song titles are mostly one-word descriptions that might mean something. The only song with a two-word title —Europa Hymn — is the only one that approaches having a melody (though Hum has a rhythmic energy about it).
Opener Pinking sets the tone, using repetition to create a mood for a piece that could be playing as the credits roll and the film camera swoops through the vastness of space (there’s a bit of a heavenly chorus) to a space station. Track two, Swanning, suggests this could be a big beast, swanning through the vacuum like a space whale.
Exalt opens with distortion and sounds like pure noise but settles down to being like machinery working in a vacuum — weapons or engines? — while Elk is much more gentle and organic: maybe Gore was imagining the spaceship’s hydroponics centre, where plants grow and butterflies flutter by. Who knows, we’re guessing, but you get the drift. You could listen to it and create your own story.
It’s slightly more heavy-handed than Portico, Vangelis to Portico’s Jean Michel Jarre if you will. It’s a series of ideas and feelings as much as an album, and having decided that and travelled through space with Gore, we like it a lot more.

About jerobear

Weekly newspaper editor in Cheshire, England. I blog my editorials and the CDs I write about. I play drums, drink coffee, play music, meditate. I hate filling in forms.

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