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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nothing, hunger
Alan Wilder left Depeche Mode in 1995, maybe because he felt superfluous and didn't feel comfortable with the increasingly rock-oriented and radio-friendly style DM had developed on "Violator" and, in particular, "Songs of F&D". Recoil's first few EP releases in the '80s were primarily notable for their extended ambient soundscapes which had more...
Published on March 27, 2001 by loteq

versus
1 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as Bloodline
The songs on this album were a dissapointment. The material on earlier albums were more enjoyable. The songs on this cd are very weird! I didn't like but two or three songs.
Published on July 9, 2000 by T. Morrison


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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nothing, hunger, March 27, 2001
By 
loteq (Regensburg/Germany) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Unsound Methods (Audio CD)
Alan Wilder left Depeche Mode in 1995, maybe because he felt superfluous and didn't feel comfortable with the increasingly rock-oriented and radio-friendly style DM had developed on "Violator" and, in particular, "Songs of F&D". Recoil's first few EP releases in the '80s were primarily notable for their extended ambient soundscapes which had more in common with, say, Tangerine Dream and Klaus Schulze than with DM and '80s synth-pop, but it was Recoil's first full-time album, "Bloodline", where suddenly an emphasis on vocalists of all sorts became clear. "Unsound methods" marks a further step forward in this evolution and is probably best described as something which has its roots in film-noir soundtracks, spoken-word releases and trip-hop-inclined electronica: still, all these influences are combined in such a brilliant way that the songs on "UM" begin to sound other-wordly in their beauty and intensity. Another aspect is Alan's intricate and innovative production, mixing melodic fragments, shuffling mid-tempo rhythms, sound effects and field recordings with generally dark lyrics and intriguing vocal delivery. There's an impressive variety throughout "UM", even within the individual pieces which are constantly evolving, suddenly shifting to completely different sonic pictures, or combining seemingly disparate elements to great effect, which also means that there doesn't seem to be a real stand-out track -- "UM" is without its "Black celebration", "Faith healer", or "Strange hours". The whole things works as one exceptionally well although it is not directly a concept album. The musical journey begins with the breathtaking "Incubus"-- the first three minutes are particularly gripping -- gradually introducing dark atmospherics, shimmering background textures and overlaid sharp drums. Of course, the vocal performance by Nitzer Ebb singer/guitarist Douglas McCarthy is equally gripping: He can sing, "They say my name is Death/But I'm alive" and escape with his credibility intact. No small feat, really. Douglas returns on the claustrophobic, doom-ladden "Stalker" (the second single off "UM"), another fairly dramatic and well-structured piece which also manages to fascinate and confuse simultaneously. The musically quite irritating "Luscious apparatus" features one of the more frightening narratives on this album, a story about dreams made flesh, eventually building to the simple finale: "Carla didn't think of Jack as a luscious apparatus after that". The audio accompaniment is highly kitsch and almost unlistenable at times (obviously inspired by the Crypt Keeper or so), but it doesn't matter because the lyrics are intriguing and engaging enough to leave a lasting impression. When Alan veers toward straight trip-hop, such as on "Drifting" and the 8-minute "Red river cargo", the music becomes a little tedious at times and doesn't have the intricacy and gutsy drive of "Incubus" or "Stalker"; still, there are lots of interesting textures and vocal performances in these tracks, so they do not detract much from the overall quality of "UM". Listen to "Red river cargo" and try to find out where Moby collected the ideas for his cross-over album "Play". After the quasi-industrial beats and NIN-like sequences on "Control freak" (a song about Alan himself), things calm down a bit with "Missing piece" and "Last breath", easily the most melodic and beautiful pieces on this album, offering a fine interplay between several layers of sound and rather soulful vocal delivery. But something is not quite settled here....in my opinion, the hypnotic nature and the orchestral arrangements on "Last breath" are quite in step with the title of the song, and the final cut on the album, "Shunt", seems to confirm the belief that the subject matter is about suicide. "Shunt" also happens to be musically different from the rest of the album, opening with railroad-noise and intrusive echos (unintentionally distorted because the mastering was done at high volume), then giving away to a notably more slamming beat and gentle sequencer burblings which accelerate into an all-out storm of noise towards the end of the track.
"UM" is a deadly stab in the back of traditional song structures and may be the essence of '90s post-rock music -- it proves that one doesn't need to be a great songwriter or instrumentalist to create engaging and interesting music, and Alan is indeed much more skilled in creating suspense and subtle terror than writing catchy pop songs. This is an album other electronica artists and certain synth-pop bands dream of making; I still haven't found any other record which offers such an intense and sometimes disturbing listening adventure as "UM". Whether you want to further investigate Recoil's backcatalog from here is up to you, but "UM" is one of the finest statements of the last decade and absolutely essential.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dense, twisted, and malevolent, March 5, 2000
This review is from: Unsound Methods (Audio CD)
With each successive album, Wilder gets better and better. The theme for this album seems to be PERVERSION, tackling topics like racism, the perils of sex with complete strangers, stalking, psychosexual manipulation, and...I can't say I've ever figured out what the first track was about, but it's wonderfully evil. The vocals are always captivating, from the sensual and luxuriant lyrics in Drifting and Missing Piece to the cynically self-destructive lyrics of Maggie Estep in Luscious Apparatus and Control Freak to McCarthy's downright creepy renderings of Incubus and Stalker.
This is dark electronica at its best! Turbid and crowded samples, ponderous percussion, and occasionally, a very claustrophobic feel. What struck me the most is how *dense* the music was. I actually felt a little exhausted after listening to the album the first few times; since then, I've gotten used to it. It's dark and sexy and sweeping and sublime. Incubus was an *excellent* song to open with, and it sets the tone for the rest of the album very effectively.
If you are (or were) a Depeche Mode fan that found their music just a bit too fluffy, you won't be disappointed with Wilder's Recoil. It doesn't get much darker than this.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Best Recoil album; varied and never boring;, September 19, 2002
This review is from: Unsound Methods (Audio CD)
In my opinion this is the best Recoil album so far. More focused and personal than 'Blodline', more distanced from Depeche Mode, and more varied than 'Liquid'.
It's not my wish to start one of those DM vs Wilder opinions, Depeche Mode and Recoil are quite different so why comparing them? and anyway you may like them both, it's absurd to present it as a Wilder=Depeche Mode enemy thing. Absurd.
Now as for the album... what will you get here?
An album full of electronic music that never sounds cold; Wilder mixes elements from so varied genres, maybe even unintentionally (gospel, trip hop, industrial, pop, ambient, soul, etc) so you ca never get tired of it. It's more in the vein of Massive Attack's Mezzanine than of Depeche Mode actually, thought this doesn't mean that Recoil is not personal (it is actually a breath of fresh airs among so much boring and trite stuff nowadays)or that you won't like it if you love Depeche Mode: if you have followed this band you'll easily identify many characteristics of Wilder's old imput on DM's music.
Two songs feature ex-Nitzer Ebb's singer, Doug McCarthy; these are 'Incubus' and 'Stalker', which are the most "industrial" songs in here. Both are energetic while mysterious, with McCarthy's personal voice on top of it. He doesn't need a vocoder to sound weird.
'Luscious aparatus' and 'Control freak' are, how will I put it?, electronic-rap assaults. The female singer pseudo-raps, narrating us quite curious stories, against electronic backgrounds which are very well crafted. 'Drifting' and 'Missing piece' are also sung by a female singer, but thse sound more Massive Attack-esque (by this I don't imply Wilder is imitating Massive Attack or following their success; in fact, the influence must be reciprocal I guess, since Massive Attack's Mezzanine samples a lot of sounds from Depeche Mode's 'Songs of Faith and Devotion')
While 'Red River Cargo' and 'Last Breath', which are sung by Hildia Campbell, who was one of the female singers who accompanied Depeche Mode in 'Songs f Faith and Devotion', are a sort of electronic gospel songs.
Alan Wilder achieves a very important thing with 'Unsound Methods': he explores many different musical fields, he incorporates them into his electronic conception of music, and -this is the most relevant of it all- he creates something new. 'Unsound Methods' is a fine example of what the word "innovate" means, and defies those opinions that state that everything is invented in music. There's still the possibility -and that's no small thing; artists like Massive Attack (especially in Mezzanine) or my adored The Legendary Pink Dots exemplify this perfectly - the possibility of creating new things from the things we already know.
Wilder does this with this album. Do yourself a favour, buy it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dark and Attractive, March 2, 2000
This review is from: Unsound Methods (Audio CD)
Dark and seductive, with musical influences ranging from trip hop,gospel and hadcore techno, Recoil's Unsound Methods is Alan Wilder's best achievement. Thanks to Recoil, Wilder was able to let loose and explore new musical grounds, distancing himself from the more conventional sound of his former band, Depeche Mode. Each song has layers of samples, orchestrations and sound effects that keep the listeners coming back for more. Incubus, the strongest track on the album, is based on Francis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse Now. Douglas McCarthy's somber vocals gives the track an even darker feel. Other invited vocalists, such as Siobhan Lynch, make Unsound Methods one of the best records of the past years.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars IMPRESSIVE!!!, February 16, 1999
This review is from: Unsound Methods (Audio CD)
Alan Wilder's departure from Depeche Mode is probably the best career move he has ever made. All the music is as dark and danceable as DM's, but on "Unsound Methods", Wilder lets loose all the creative energy he couldn't with DM. "Drifting" and "Stalker" are by far the strangest tracks (also the two singles), but the entire album pulsates with eclecticism and ecstasy that just sounds amazing. Wilder may not be Beethoven, but he comes in close. Fans of DM will enjoy it, but it stands out on its own.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's GREAT!!!!!! Crazy!!!! Impossible!!!!, November 19, 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Unsound Methods (Audio CD)
What can I say ? It's one of the greatest Cd's I've ever bought . Impossible combination of many electronic styles . It's kinda slow but during first half it keeps you overstrained and during second half you loosing yourself . It takes you all . I bet you've never heard smth like it . When i heard it first time i didn't understand whats it . And didn't like most tracks . But second listening gave me so much pleasure .... Heres great soundworks , magic voices , magic music . Best thing for relaxation and loosing yourself somewhere in your minds . Dark minds ...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Album!, March 5, 2009
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Unsound Methods (Audio CD)
This album is a must-have for any Depeche Mode fan, considering all the speculation over Alan Wilder's importance during his tenure with the group. Unsound Methods is living proof that Martin Gore wasn't the only genius behind the success of DM as it shows just how talented Alan really is. If I'm not mistaken, each and every track off this album runs at least five minutes long, and every blessed one of them is a pure delight for any electronic fan. Although the vocalists on this album could not be more removed from each other as stated in one of the professional reviews that I read, their diversity merely adds to its merits. Overall, I'm very glad I purchased this album as it is a great listen and shows a totally new side to Alan Wilder.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Despite some terrible vocals a good album, December 22, 2004
This review is from: Unsound Methods (Audio CD)
This was the first album from Alan's split with Depeche Mode and it's a pretty good album, despite the odd blunder here and there with the vocals which can be slightly irritating at times, the music here is quite something. Much darker than anything that he had done with Depeche Mode, the resulting sound is something like electro jazz for the late dark nights mixed with trip-hop. Indeed film buffs will find that Apocalypse Now has had a few lines stolen in the first track. It may take a few listens to get into since you may find the spoken-word vocals a little too irritating on first listen but if you can get by that and the whole layered nature of the album - the whole album is thick with samples and sounds - it's an album that needs time whether you'll grant it that or not is up to you. Definitely a more interesting listen to though than any of the other Depeche Mode side-projects which just seem like out-takes ( alright Fletch may be onto something with Client but he sensibly doesn't play anything! )
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not for Every DM Fan, December 10, 2004
By 
Erik Russell Olson (Dublin, CA, United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Unsound Methods (Audio CD)
With Unsound Methods, Alan Wilder (the man who is Recoil) finally had the chance to make an album of his own, free from all other commitments (namely Depeche Mode). Listening to these nine tracks, it's obvious why Wilder had to leave the band; none of this would have surfaced on a Depeche Mode album.

Wilder starts off his first full Recoil LP with "Incubus," making good use of Douglas McCarthy's voice just as he did on the previous EP, Bloodline. The ambient loop which opens the song and pulses to the finish brings to mind a tropical rain forest in the dead of night (the credits list F. Coppola; could it be a sample from Apocalypse Now?) Between that, the lyrics, and McCarthy's voice, you have quite a scary opening to a scary album.

Siobhan Lynch provides the vocals for the following track, a trip-hop affair entitled "Drifting." This is one sexy yet sinister song, perhaps the best achievement of the album. The combination of samples, slow nocturnal beats, and a sultry female snarl bring to mind Massive Attack and Portishead -- good bands to follow. Lynch reprises her role as seductress with a mike on "Missing Piece," with equally good results. "Last Breath" takes the trip-hop formula and slows it down even further, with some backing strings and nice tempo changes.

"Red River Cargo" works fairly well too, kind of like a sequel to Bloodline's "Electro Blues for Bukka White." If anyone wants to know where Moby got the idea to merge gospel with electronica, look no further. "Shunt" is the closer for Unsound Methods, eventually accelerating into a hardcore techno beat. Does it suggest suicide? Hard to tell.

Wilder's only noteworthy missteps on Unsound Methods are the two tracks featuring Maggie Estep ("Luscious Apparatus" and "Control Freak"). Estep's voice and lyrics are the kind that belong only in bad porn, but maybe that is what Wilder was going for here. She mars what is otherwise a very enjoyable album that announces Alan Wilder as an individual talent to be taken seriously.

Most people will find this album by starting as Depeche Mode fans, and exploring what the band members have done as solo acts. Let me make this completely clear: Recoil is quite a different affair from DM. There are no catchy hooks or reassuring lyrics. But if you are the kind of DM fan who has also embraced many 90's trip-hop, ambient, and industrial artists, and would rather listen to something more sonically challenging than what you will hear on the radio, then this is the CD for you.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazingly innovative, March 13, 2002
By 
This review is from: Unsound Methods (Audio CD)
I first heard Recoil playing over the speakers at the beginning the NIN Fragility concert a couple years ago, and it was the perfect soundtrack to the excitement and anticipation a person feels when waiting for a concert to begin. I went out the next day and bought Unsound Methods, and have yet to buy any other Recoil albums, simply because this one is so good that I'm afraid of being disillusioned if any of their other stuff isn't quite as great. I know that sounds silly, but that's how much respect I have for this disc.
Alan Wilder quit Depeche Mode and devoted his energies full time to his side-project Recoil. And with this album he made something greater than all of Depeche's entire catalog combined. This album redefines music on Wilder's own terms, featuring a variety of differnt singers/speakers and song types, throwing out all notions of standard verse/chorus/verse or pretentious art rock. Luscious Apparatus will scare you, plain and simple, as will a number of songs on this album because they're so intense. Its a very dark album, and it sure wouldn't be appropriate to play at a party. Which means that it is very, very good.
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Unsound Methods
Unsound Methods by Recoil
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