10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on August 6, 2007
I have been a fan of Alan Wilder for a long time. Totally appreciating his contributions to Depeche Mode throughout his career with them. Since he left, I must say Depeche Mode just ain't the same. Alan, however, provided us with two stunning CDs, Unsound Methods (1997) and Liquid (2000). Then, he disappeared to live a quiet life with his family. Well, he's back with a stunning offering and a CD/DVD edition that is clearly a Valentine for his longtime, devoted fans.
First, subHUMAN is well worth the wait. A brilliant, kaleidoscopic opus of textural depth and trademark Alan Wilder brilliance is his compositions and production. Following the trip-hop groundwork laid by Samantha Coerbell's contributions on Liquid, "Last Call For Liquid Courage" and "Supreme, Alan draws from the Louisiana delta and Joe Richardson to put a blues edge to the the trip-hop sound. And the tracks with Carla Trevaskis are equally amazing, especially "The Intruders" which at a rocking 11 minutes (most of the tracks are lengthy) gives Alan freedom to move his compositions through some interesting transitions. This will clearly be one of the best CDs of 2007. Ear candy at its finest with so much depth, the listener will find new pockets of sound upon repeated listenings.
2) Then you get a nearly 60 minute ambient reworking of the entire CD and it is pretty awesome to say the least and is a great counterpart to the original CD. That Alan would take the time to do this not only proves he was eager and happy to get back in the studio but he wanted to reward his fans with not a little, but a LOT extra. The ambient version is a lush soundscape that goes in different but equally maginificent directions than the original version. There is also a 5.1 Dolby sound mix of the original CD on the DVD with the ambient version and also 5 videos. There are also 2 easter egg videos for "Shunt" and "Electro Blues For Bukka White.
So, if you enjoy Alan, you probably already have this, but if you are unfamilar with his work and enjoy artists like Massive Attack or Portishead, then you will not be disappointed with this masterpiece.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on August 15, 2007
Yes! Finally something new from Alan! No! I can't believe how amazing this is!! *pinches self*
Heavily blues influence, and heavy on the dark electronica. Audio is masterfully set in 3-dimentional motion (or so it seems) even while listening in two-channel stereo. If you're looking for something new and innovating, pick this up and pay attention to the magic going on between your ears!
subHuman is a collection of intelligently crafted songs hosting guest vocalists Joe Richardson (5 songs) and Carla Trevaskis (2 songs). Despite the over-all brilliance of subHuman, I woulda liked to hear more of Carla on more tracks. Additional collaboration at the mixing helm from Paul Kendal and mixed at Alan's Thin Line recording studio.
I purchased the album electronically from 7-Digital, as recommended from the Recoil web site (for those interested in the downloads). They are all ripped into a very high-quality 320kps, non-DRM, MP3 format. However, they aren't in 5.1 surround, so I will probably pick up the CD/DVD combo too. Included in my download were the Ambient tracks (the entire album mixed as "ambient" versions)....so I'm not entirely sure if these are included in the *hard* CD/DVD copy you get at amazon, the description here at Amazon doesn't provide any clue that they do...except reviewer bobby digital clues us in that there are, and easter eggs too! :)
Favorite tracks (well they're all good!) are: Allelujah (reminds me of "In Your Room" - you'll see why...), Intruders, Prey (especially the end). But there's a great hook in every track!
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on September 27, 2007
This is a real step forward (much better than Liquid). The sound creative of this album is far beyond 'Playing the angel' though i didn't really want to compare with DM but it makes me curious what if DM would sound like if Alan still in the band. Listen to it from start to finish is a real stunning exprerience. One of the best album for year 2007 without a doubt.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on September 23, 2007
Brilliant & inspired. The album is the best in years (from any genre) and it feels like its own film score. Never has blues, electronic elements, samples & various atmospheric textures been blended together so beautifully to make something that is both wonderfully dark & epic.
Alan Wilder is one of the few musicians/producers these days who never disappoints. Like anything that's worthwhile, this album requires a few listens to truly get addicted to. But any fan of music will find something to like about this album. The artwork is a nice touch too.
Favorite tracks include "The Killing Ground", "Allelujah", "5000 Years" & "Backslider".
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on November 15, 2007
It's been a while, but Alan's back with "subHUman:" another trek through the dregs of the human condition. Virtually a continuance of his last album, "Liquid," his latest release taps into the dirtiness of life on Earth. War, slavery and prison life are all touched upon (in theory) in their own dark and often creepy way.
Though I feel this release is very well done, I don't much care for the drop-off after the fourth track: the chilling "Killing Ground." Instead of maintaining that experimental, brooding sound that fills the first half of the album, Alan instead takes it down a notch and relies mostly on traditional ambient techno/electronica to finish the project. While the sound isn't bad by any means, it's a bit boring and much less interesting than "Prey" (an apparent return to the "Unsound Methods" opener) and "5000 Years," for example. In fact, "Intruders" and its over-ten-minute excursion is one of the weakest tracks Alan has ever produced. Vocally, it sounds all-too-familiar. I may be a little tired of the ethereal female voice after years of it being used by virtually every other musician out there. Not only that, but considering the final five or six minutes of the track is a sluggish jazzy interlude, it doesn't scream "RECOIL" at all. No real smart sampling, the experimentation takes a back seat to tradition. Electro-lounge jazz artists have been doing the same thing for years. I don't want the same from Alan. He's smarter than that.
There is potential for "99 To Life," however, the music, again, shows a bit of rust and the lyrics are easily forgettable. The guy who created "Incubus" (from "Unsound Methods") should be able to do this better, but it simply feels as if he took a nap during the final three tracks of the album. Strangely enough, though, his slow, uninteresting tracks are still much, much better than those created by his peers. Alan has always raised the bar on dark electronica and for this alone, "subHuman" can be given a pass. There ARE strong tracks on the album, I just wish that the mood and the style held up throughout.
Sometimes, a long period of staying out of the studio can do wonders, yet for some, it shows off more rust than anything else. Had this album come out immediately after "Liquid," I may have received it better.
Four stars is enough for "subHuman." "Unsound Methods," "Liquid" and even the slightly-odd "Bloodline" are better examples of what Alan can do. It may be potentially interesting to those who've yet to hear Recoil.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on October 10, 2007
Occasionally the world is gifted with a true work of genius. Everything comes together like it should. The concept is unique; the packaging superb; and the final product outshines the highest expectations. Such is the infinite nature of Recoil. Alan Wilder is a prime example of an artist who made lots of money through his art, took time off to enjoy the fruits of his labor, then culled a reservoir of experience and talent to come back and release a profoundly satisfying work of art (seemingly unfettered by anything commercial or superficial). The only question I was left with was: only seven songs? All the extras on this release make it completely fulfilling, though.
This powerful and driving composition will inform and enrich any particular landscape you happen to be occupying at the moment on the planet earth. You will be taken into an ultrarich and stimulating tapestry of thoughts and sounds that go leagues beyond anything else. It is post-modern blues of the highest caliber.
It took real vision to conceptualize and actually fully realize the marriage between two seemingly disparate genres of music. Not only that, but the mind is treated to social commentary, a delving into the substantial pains of existence; and on through a delightful and mind expanding journey of sound that leads to catharsis. There are deeper levels upon levels of sounds here that emerge through various "listens."
Recoil is true art, something that effectively elevates and expands the sonic horizons of this generation. Soul music has now taken on magical and stunning dimensions!
THANK YOU, ALAN WILDER!
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on August 16, 2007
Recoil has already established a tight discography before releasing their latest Subhuman. So it was very curious for me to see what sounds Subhuman would obtain. I believe this record is coherent from beginning to end but still offers many ideas throughout that makes it interesting to listen to. As always, the overall vibe of the music is more cinematic but with a more grassroots blues kind of feel. Yes, before Recoil made some tracks with the blues influence but this time it's more of the central point. My personal favorite tracks are 3,4 and 6.
Recoil should be applauded for making music that stands on its own. When you listen to the music, you sense that there's no fulfilling of anyone's expectations but the artist's own.
7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on August 22, 2007
This is latest album from Recoil (aka Alan Wilder), one of the most underrated musicians of our time. It is an excellent mix of blues and soundtrack-like-soundscapes. If you like bands like Massive Attack and Portishead, you've GOTTA get this album. You WON'T be disappointed.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on August 31, 2007
When I first heard Recoil, it was in the early '90s and Bloodline had recently been released. The vibe of that record really captivated me. While the production left something to be desired, Alan's arrangements - coupled with the contributions of Moby, Toni Halliday and Douglas McCarthy - resulted inn a thoughtful, diverse and musically satisfying record that, in many ways, still holds up today.
After truly absorbing Bloodline, I went back to the beginning; I bought the CD reissue of Hydrology and 1+2. (If nothing else, I wanted to have more context for Bloodline than Alan's previous work with DepecheMode) While the early work is really interesting and, for the most part, engaging, it was Bloodline that I ultimately preferred.
I completely missed whatever followed Bloodline until a few days ago, when I heard some samples of SubHuman and immediately knew that it was time to reconnect with Recoil. I purchased it the next day. I have spent a fair amount of time going through it and it continues to impress me with its depth, energy, textures and good ol' songwriting.
I always thought that "Electro Blues For Bukka White" from Bloodline was a brilliant concept, brilliantly executed. Somewhere deep down, I have wished for more of the same - and now Alan's inclusion of Joe Richardson on SubHuman fulfills the desire for more "electro blues" and then some. Carla's contributions are no less captivating; "Intruders" is truly sublime.
I could go on ad nauseum, but I won't. Just order SubHuman today. It will undoubtedly satisfy your longing for fresh and inspiring music, now and many years to come.
on July 31, 2013
This record is amazing. There are so many layers of sound. Some songs just kick in immediately, while others take a few days. I would dismiss "99 to Life". The highlights are "Prey", "Killing Ground" and "Intruders". Not sure if the jamming in part 2 from "Intruders" contributes to the recording. The ambient version from DVD is enough worth getting the Deluxe package. If you are a Depeche Mode fan and want to try new things or remember the krafty production Alan Wilder used to apply to Depeche Mode recordings, this is a must. The only downside of this album is that some of the lyrics are too dark and hopeless.