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Down to the Bone

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Audio CD, November 22, 2005
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (November 22, 2005)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Dsa
  • ASIN: B000BDH5PO
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #873,828 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Stripped
2. The Things You Said
3. Home
4. Policy of Truth
5. Death's Door
6. (Enjoy) The Silence
7. In Your Room
8. Blasphemous Rumours
9. Freelove
10. Never Let Me Down Again
11. Enjoy the Silence

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By somethingexcellent VINE VOICE on November 27, 2005
Format: Audio CD
Sylvain Chauveau has made a name for himself over the course of the past couple years with a varied range of releases. In addition to appearing on several different compilations, he has put out four solo albums of understated electronic/acoustic releases under his own name and teamed up with Steven Hess for Your Naked Ghost Comes Back At Night under the name of On. Oh, and he's also a member of three other groups, including an avant rock group and an ambient collective. Keeping up his prolific pace, he has now collaborated with Ensemble Modern for a stripped-down take (comprised completely of acoustic instrumentation and vocals) on the work of Depeche Mode.

Although I haven't followed the group closely for their past couple release, I have to admit that at one time I was a huge fan of Depeche Mode. After several solid albums, the group seemed to hit their stride around the time of Some Great Reward, following fairly shortly with their popular double-live album 101 and finally with their album Violator, on which it seemed that just about every track was a popular single. In terms of sheer sales and critical acclaim, that release was probably the high point for the group, although they've fortunately managed to chug along and age a bit better than some of their contemporaries since then.

At any rate, Down To The Bone finds Sylvain Chauveau and others re-creating Depeche Mode songs in an acoustic mode, although it's not completely pure (there's some digital trickery here and there), and while it's an interesting effort, the overall effect just isn't nearly as successful as the originals. The disc starts with the appropriately-titled "Stripped," and Chauveau adds his franco-tinged vocals (sung in English) to strirring string arrangements and sparse piano.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Pietro Da Sacco on April 24, 2006
Format: Audio CD

(04.24.06) Down to the Bone is a back to basics album of acoustic interpretations of influential electro-indie band Depeche Mode. Focusing mostly on a selection of songs from Mode's 1987's Music for the Masses album onwards, just one track pre-dates this era. As for the title, Down to the Bone is a line from the opening song on the album, "Stripped."

As a fan of Depeche Mode, it is initially strange to hear their songs sung in a slowed down acoustic style with a different vocalist. The style of the songs is a sort of cabaret, nightclub interpretation that might be described as acoustic or maybe even orchestral in nature. Considering that the original versions were all electronic and often much faster paced than Chaveau's versions, they are still instantly recognisable to those familiar with Mode's music. Whether this style of rework or perhaps Chaveau's reinterpretations more specifically, work is a matter of opinion. Generally, they are quite well done but some songs work better than others. "Home" for example is a classic live song sung by songwriter Martin L. Gore in concert but Chaveau's Down To The Bone version misses an opportunity to transform an already emotional song into something new and original. "Policy of Truth" is another track that just doesn't suit Chaveau's voice and "Death's Door" (another Gore vocal song) is over the top with drama. At times though, the choice of tracks and the tempo better suits Chaveau's voice. "In Your Room" and "Never Let Me Down Again" work much better and portray just the right amount of feeling and emotion that is either over exaggerated or underplayed elsewhere on the album.
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Format: Audio CD
I have owned this record since it first came out about 4 years ago - Listened to it a lot for a while, then occasionally for the following years, and still enjoy playing it - It has passed the test of time in my book and I would recommend it to anyone (whether or not they are a DM fan).

If you know the Depeche Mode songs (and even if you have heard them too many times), this record will provide you with a fresh perspective on some key titles, and a very quiet, almost ambient, walk into the dark side of DM.

Don't expect any synthetizers, rythmic bass and techno tributes.. this is a very slow, intimate re-interpretation of Depeche Mode.

Performed this way, the melodic structure and the dark atmosphere of some of Martin Gore's songs, become even more obvious, and intoxicating.

A lot of the themes (drugs, homosexuality, death) become more obvious as well, you may or may not like this perspective, but it's also clear that you will never hear some of the songs the same way after you have listened to this album.

As a post scriptum: I saw DM play in Paris very recently, and I couldn't help notice that (a) Depeche Mode still play most of these songs as the backbone of their show (except for Death's Door and Things You Said)- and almost in this order; and (b) Martin Gore is now doing an acoustic version of one or two songs, very similar to the style and mood of this record. In fact during the concert I thought that maybe Sylvain Chauveau's ambient version is more interesting than Martin Gore's "acoustic" version.

Anyway, a good - but short - record. If you like this record, you may also be interested in "S" a very good, even more stripped, minimal ambient EP by Chauveau, especially the vinyl version, highly recommended if you can find it.
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