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7 Sep

Lockdown and Eurorack combined to inspire Clarke’s first solo LP

Vince Clarke, the legendary synth hero and onetime member of Depeche Mode, Yazoo and Erasure, is to release his first solo album.

Songs of Silence is a ten-track lyric-less album, said to be “of uncategorisable ambient beauty”. The album will be available on vinyl, CD and digitally via Mute on November 17, and launches today with ‘The Lamentations of Jeremiah’, the first piece of music to be shared from the project.

Listen to the track and watch the moving video – one of the first to be directed by Turkish-born NY-based portrait photographer Ebru Yildiz.

Ebru Yildiz explains, “When I first heard the song, I felt like it contained a whole lifetime within itself. All of the drama and peace, anxiousness and calmness, tension and hope, and everything in between. I wanted the visuals to feel like all those extremes as well.”

Recorded in his home studio in New York, and featuring photography and artwork by the award-winning Magnum photojournalist Eugene Richards, work on the album began as a distraction during lockdown, a chance to finally get his head around the possibilities of Eurorack, a modular synthesiser format famed for its addictive and limitless configurations.

“I could have gone on forever, I could have not stopped,” explains Vince, “I was enjoying the process so much and wasn’t thinking about anyone else hearing it. But hearing it develop in my studio, in my head, learning new tricks – that’s been the best thing about this. I was in a state of shock, actually, when Mute said they wanted to release this album.” 

Alone in the studio, Clarke set himself two rules: first, that the sounds he generated for the album would come solely from Eurorack, and second, that each track would be based around one note, maintaining a single key throughout.

“Nobody in my household is particularly interested in what I get up to in the studio” says Vince. “Even the cat used to leave after an hour or so of listening to drones.” 

The album’s centrepiece is built around an 1844 anti-scab folk song ‘Blackleg Miner’ and there are contributions from Reed Hays (cello on ‘The Lamentations of Jeremiah’) and Caroline Joy, who provides wordless operatic contributions.

Click here to pre-order Songs of Silence on vinyl or CD

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