Claudia Brücken — Where Else…
• Kromě původní verze — Nick Drake "Day is done", všechny skladby jsou napsány samotnou Brücken a producentem (John Owen Williams), který si vybudoval silnou pověst jako nejlepší spolupracovník ve studiu (byl také za nedávným úspěchem Petuly Clark, "Lost in You").
Born: December 7, 1963 in Berching, Germany
Member of: Propaganda
Location: London, UK
Album release: 6th October, 2014
Record Label: Cherry Red
01 I Want You 3:45
02 Nothing Good Is Ever Easy 4:23
03 I Lay All Night 2:55
04 Day Is Done 2:33
05 Walk Right In 3:33
06 Nevermind 3:35
07 How Do I Know 3:27
08 Moon Song 3:44
09 Letting Go 4:16
10 Time to Make Changes 3:24
11 Sweet Sound Vision 4:15
• 2014 Cherry Red Records
• Producer: John Owen Williams
• THIS ALBUM IS ALSO AVAILABLE ON LIMITED EDITION 12" VINYL.
Description from Cherry Red Records:
• Claudia Brücken’s third solo album ‘Where Else’ (follow up to 2012’s acclaimed collection of cover versions, ‘The Lost Are Found’) is, with the exception of Nick Drake’s ‘Day Is Done,’ a self–penned collection of songs that explores different genres and styles — it moves through and around folk, blues, rock, film score, country and electronic music. Every album of her career, solo or in groups, has been a way of demonstrating her passion for evocative musical atmosphere, but this is the first one that does so without relying on computers and synthesisers. As Claudia says: “I always collaborate with different producers and programmers who are obviously bringing a lot of themselves into the project, and a lot of studio gadgetry. Normally my musical settings have been electronic music, whereas with this album, although there are elements of electronica in there, it soon became clear that the sound was going to be as much rooted in folk, blues and even country rock, and for me this was novel and exciting. It was actually exotic. The guitar could create special effects instead of the usual machines, which have become much more ordinary than they were when I first started.”
• The album is a collaboration with co–writer and producer John Williams (Housemartins, Proclaimers, Paul Heaton & Jacqui Abbott, Blancmange, Petula Clark) and was written and recorded in the winter and spring of 2014 at John’s studio in North Kensington. Used to constructing songs in a more abstract electronic setting, Claudia felt it important that in this new environment, each new song they wrote could be sung accompanied only by piano or guitar. It was only then that the songs were ready to be recorded.
• Influences on ‘Where Else’ were varied. For Claudia, the Velvet Underground and Lou Reed, Depeche Mode and Roy Orbison. For John, Jimmy Webb, JJ Cale and The Zombies set the standard. On ‘Where Else’, these reference points deftly interact. • Claudia elaborates: “Some of the albums I’ve recorded were albums of other people’s songs, and that has definitely made me think harder as a song writer about how to get across complicated feelings as economically as possible. The story aspect of a song has always been a very important part for me — for example the first song of the album (‘I Want You’) was inspired by Lou Reed’s method of storytelling. John’s background is a lot different to mine; he’s really into artists like Nick Drake and singer song writers. That brought a lot of elements into the writing that were fresh to me. The songs basic architecture was developed in a very different way than when you mostly use machines. The guitar being at the centre of the writing and recording took me towards more of a blues and folk sound — I think people will be surprised how different this album sounds because of that but in the end it’s still about songs, and storytelling, and singing.”
• As she recorded the album, Claudia learned to play guitar — an instrument she had toyed with as a teenager before the electronically ethereal sounds of Kraftwerk and synths took over and took her somewhere else. As she learned to play the guitar, she learnt to play her favourite songs by artists as diverse as Marlene Dietrich, Patti Smith and The Temptations — and out of this, these new songs with new textures, spaces and intentions began to emerge.
• ‘Where Else’ follows the lyrical thread of Claudia’s debut solo album ‘Love And A Million Other Things.’ The album is not only a collection of moods and styles but a further examination of the vagaries of love; exploring emotion, beginnings, endings, past life and future hopes. “That’s my nature,” says Claudia. “I want to explore different styles, a big reason why the title ‘Where Else’ suits me — where else will I go? What will I do next? ”
Artist Biography by Michael Sutton
• During the '80s, it was not common for women to front synth pop bands. As the lead singer of Propaganda, Claudia Brücken inserted a strong female voice in the male–dominated world of electronic dance music. As a teenager, Brücken was in a group called Haarstrauben; she was also a member of the Toppolinos. When Brücken joined Propaganda, she originally shared vocal duties with Suzanne Freytag. In 1985, Propaganda released their first LP, A Secret Wish. The provocative single "Duel" reached number 21 on the U.K. charts. However, the band began having problems with their label, ZTT, and Brücken's marriage to ZTT co–founder Paul Morley caused friction with the other members. Brücken left Propaganda in 1986. After Propaganda, Brücken formed Act with Thomas Leer, recording the album Laughter, Tears and Rage. But Act didn't receive the attention or airplay that Propaganda once did. In the early '90s, Brücken released her solo debut, Love: And a Million Other Things. • However, shifting personnel at Island Records killed its potential of finding an audience. In 2000, Brücken toured America with Paul Humphreys of OMD, performing both OMD classics and Propaganda covers. Brücken also started co–writing songs with Humphreys. Brücken eventually reunited with Freytag and Michael Mertens as Propaganda and recorded new material.
By Paul Scott–Bates, October 4, 2014; Score: 8/10
• Former Propaganda vocalist Claudia Brucken releases her third solo album. Louder Than War’s Paul Scott–Bates reviews.
• I’ve often had a soft spot for Claudia Brucken, whether it be in her days with the phenomenally underrated Propaganda and their classic album A Secret Wish, or whether it be because my wife bore a striking resemblance to her in her aforementioned musical era. The release of Where Else was therefore greeted with much interest.
• What you expect to hear isn’t always what you do hear, and maybe that is the case with this album. Claudia has matured musically, and the pounding bass and drumlines of her former German quartet are gone. Instead she now writes easily accessible pop which is maybe a little too safe. A slight disappointment is that her incredibly powerful voice doesn’t seem to be present on Where Else.
• Instead, are ten new tracks of varying style written with former Paul Heaton and Blancmange producer John Williams and a cover version of Nick Drake’s Day Is Done from the Five Leaves Left album. What is interesting and a huge compliment to the songs on the album is that they sit very nicely wrapped around this remake.
• Where Else travels down the blues/folk route and often stops off at some very decent tunes. I Want You is a good opener and Nothing Good Is Ever Easy does show that she still has a nice voice with a well formed song and catchy enough hook.
• Whilst recording the album, Claudia learned to play guitar and the influences of that new skill are easy to see not only on the album sleeve but also in the tracks themselves. At times leaning heavily on guitar lines, the album shows a side to her that could well appeal to a new audience. Her time spent working with Paul Humphreys of OMD over a decade ago has also given her a break free from her past.
• Day Is Done is recorded with love and respect and is a worthy tribute, and recent single Nevermind tickles a funky guitar line whilst it teases a chorus into the fore. It’s probably fair to say that there are no world beaters on Where Else, but it is a solid enough pop album with several good tracks.
• There’s a feeling that this album is the pre–cursor to something rather special, and that’s an exciting prospect. There’s no doubt that Claudia has a lovely voice and also that the songs are well written attempts — as Moon Song also demonstrates — and that she does sound comfortable with a safe pop approach. Letting Go almost threatens to break into something bigger and louder but resists.
• An accomplished and well-presented album that re–affirms Claudia Brucken as not only a part of British pop history but also a force that could re–emerge very very soon. Fortaken: http://louderthanwar.com/
• It’s nearly 30 years since the melancholy purity of Claudia Brücken’s voice first came to wider attention as one of the main elements of Propaganda’s punchy, cinematic brand of electronica. Three decades on, the German singer’s third solo album Where Else… acknowledges the ongoing significance of electronic music in her career — not least in the throbbing beats of “Nevermind” and “Letting go”, overlayed with literate, earworm lyrics — while drawing subtly on a broader range of influences.
• Apart from a pristine version of Nick Drake’s “Day is done”, all the tracks are written by Brücken and the album’s producer John Owen Williams, who has established a strong track record for getting the best out of his female collaborators in the studio (he was also the force behind Petula Clark’s recent success, Lost in You).
• Their well–crafted songs are built around strong journey–like narratives which tell tales of shattered trust, reconnection, and optimism rising from adversity, reflecting Brücken’s decision to move away from the synth bank and try out the guitar — an instrument she learned to play during the making of the album — as the central plank of her song–writing. “Walk right in” shimmers with echoes of English folk, while “How do I know” and the funky, guitar–driven “Moon song” are each, in their own way, invitations to intimacy.
• The combination of a sharp, contemporary musicality and her preference for story–telling, which also reflects a lifelong admiration for great European artists like Piaf, Dietrich and potent American singer/poets such as Patti Smith and Lou Reed, is fascinating.
• Beautifully integrated, delicate layers of sound cradle and support Brücken’s lucid vocals as she explores the complex territory of the troubadour and the chanteuse réaliste. Williams’s skill is such that hints of Velvet Underground darkness blend easily with Abba–esque riffs, creating a bittersweet world in which the emotional climate is never settled for long. (The Art Of The Torch Singer) :: http://cry-me-a-torch-song.com/
• bitte lasst Euch von dem Onkel und der Tante im Fernsehen, die Supersänger wie sich selbst suchen, nicht erzählen, dass sie in den 80er Jahren die einzigen Deutschen waren, deren Popmusik international wahrgenommen wurde.
• 1984 veröffentlichte die Düsseldorfer Band Propaganda die Single — das war so etwas wie ein Klingelton — "Dr. Mabuse". Das dazugehörige Video lief in Deutschland häufig bei "Formel Eins", das war so etwas wie YouTube, nur dass man es pro Woche nur für 45 Minuten zu einem bestimmten Zeitpunkt sehen konnte, die Musikvideos wurden im Gegensatz dazu aber auch gezeigt. "Dr. Mabuse" und die nachfolgenden "Duel" und "p:Machinery" erreichten hohe (wenn auch nicht ganz so hohe wie "You're My Heart You're My Soul" und "99 Luftballons") Platzierungen in den Charts in England, Italien, Frankreich usw. und sind auch heute noch nicht peinlich.
• 1990 veröffentlichten Propaganda ihr zweites und letztes Album.
Die Sängerin der Band, Claudia Brücken, war seitdem das ein oder andere Mal als Gastsängerin (u.a bei Jimmy Somerville, Blank & Jones oder Andy Bell) zu hören und veröffentlichte als Bandmitglied (zum Beispiel bei Onetwo, der Band, die sie zusammen mit ihrem Lebensgefährten Paul Humphreys (OMD) gründete) oder solo Platten. Zuletzt: "Where Else".
• Auf "Where Else" pluckern die Keyboards softer als bei Saint Etienne oder Dubstar, ist die Gitarre (das Plattencover verrät es bereits) das dominierende Instrument, lassen sich Anklänge an Folk, Electronica, Blues und Synth–Pop heraushören und findet sich mit "Day Is Done" auch eine Coverversion von Nick Drake.
• "Where Else" entstand in Zusammenarbeit mit dem Komponisten und Produzenten John Owen Williams (The Housemartins, The Proclaimers, Petula Clark) im Frühjahr 2014 in dessen Studio in North Kensington, ist anders als erwartet, aber dennoch empfehlenswert. Die Songs "Nevermind" und "Letting Go" entsprechen noch am ehestem dem, was man vielleicht von der ehemaligen Propaganda–Sängerin erwartet hatte.
• Claudia Brücken was one of the two girls in the two girl, two boy Düsseldorf avant pop group Propaganda, memorably – and positively — described by one critic as ‘Abba from Hell’. The first signing in 1982 to Trevor Horn’s innovative Zang Tum Tumb label, later joined by Art of Noise and Frankie Goes To Hollywood, Propaganda’s debut single ‘Dr. Mabuse’ was one of the strangest, darkest singles ever to make the British charts, and the follow up ‘Duel’ one of the greatest and smartest. The one and only Propaganda album released on ZTT, A Secret Wish, is generally considered to be one of the decades finest and a definitive electronic music masterpiece, extravagant, surreal songs of intimacy and intrigue sung by Claudia with icy passion and impassive splendour.
• After leaving Propaganda in 1985, Claudia formed the conceptual pop Act with respected electronic music pioneer Thomas Leer, producing a series of delirious hype–focused lost electro–classics that emerged out of and commented on the excess, eccentricity and effervescence of the 1980s, pointing the way ahead of their time to the dramatic electro–glitter world of Florence, Gaga and La Roux. Claudia further developed her own uncompromising personal electronic aesthetic with an album produced in 1991 for Island Records, Love: and a Million Other Things, and stuck to her synth guns throughout the 90s.
• Her collaborations with Glenn Gregory of Heaven 17, Andy Bell of Erasure and Martin Gore of Depeche Mode emphasized her special identity as discreet, discerning electro icon, and her album of surprising, non–electro cover versions, Another Language, produced with composer Andrew Poppy for There(there), demonstrated her ability to interpret an unusual, or sometimes familiar, pop song with complete originality. The 21st century group she formed with Paul Humphreys of OMD, Onetwo, was the logical latest stage in her music, as much a direct follow up to Propaganda, Act and her solo work as it was a unique entity in its own right and a close, inventive relation to electro pop lords OMD. A recent comprehensive compilation of her work from Propaganda to Onetwo, Combined, also containing Act songs, solo songs, collaborations and new work, celebrated 30 years of Claudia Brücken — none of it sounded old, all of it sounded new, revealing an adventurous narrative consistency to all of her work, whoever she collaborates with, and also a commitment to her own sense of style.
• In the future: Claudia Brücken with Stephen Coates of and from glitter literate avant cabaret act The Real Tuesday Weld extending their twisted para–40s collaboration for the Rockstar ‘L.A. Noire’ video game. This project will be a set of songs in vivid, shadowy black and white forming an album (Suspense) and/or an musical hallucination (‘Intrigue’) dislocated in a mysterious imaginary world somewhere between post–war Europe and post–romantic nowhere in a time between a known 1940s and an unknown 1960s between the sinister fiction of The Third Man and the building of the Berlin Wall. If Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy had been directed by David Lynch from a script by Franz Kafka and Don Delillo, these songs would form the sound track — imagine a world where Dietrich sang a Bond song written by Stephen Sondheim and Arthur Lee.
• 1991 Love: And a Million Other Things (Cherry Red)
• 2005 Another Language (There(there))
• 2014 Where Else... (Cherry Red)
Cherry Red: http://www.cherryred.co.uk/