Monday, 29 February 2016

February 29 2016

"Probably the most useless post on this blog", I said exactly 4 years ago on my February 2012 post (in Greek). Since this day is special, in the sense that it only comes once every 4 years I decided to go out and take some photos and turning the date indicator on my camera on. Well, once you go out and do all these things you realize that it's a normal day just like any other, but because of its "rareness" I decided to document it by posting the photos I took on this blog. And that's what I decided to do today as well. I even turned my camera's date stamp on (again).

Last time, I just went around a couple of places, but this year, I decided to take it a step further and become a tourist in my own city. So, I started from the same places but then continued downtown to the Acropolis, and then popped around next door into the Acropolis Museum and finished by going all the way around the "sacred rock" of the Acropolis, as it's called ending up in a second hand record shop.

So what's so special about leap years? Well, first of all, February has 20 days instead of 28 (duh!), which means that the year has 366 days instead of 365. (A friend of mine suggested that the 29th of February should be a holiday "a day dedicated to astronomy or something like that"). Leap years are also the years on which the Summer Olympics and the US Elections take place. So there you have it...
By the way, do you also want a video from this day? Well, here it is:

On a more serious note here are 2 others featuring musicians. The first one playing Pink Floyd's "Wish You Were Here" in the Athens Metro, and the second one playing classical music outside the Acropolis Museum. Enjoy!

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

A Broken Frame - Then And Now (The Extras)

The release by Marsheaux of "A Broken Frame", a track-by-track cover of Depeche Mode's original 1982 album was one of the major events in contemporary synth-pop last year. Back in August, I published on this blog a side-by-side review of both albums based on their vinyl versions, my original DM one which I had bought back in the day and the Marsheaux one which I had received earlier in the year. Since then Marsheux have released the CD version which came with lots of extras. It's a double CD, and CD1 also features covers of the B-Sides from the Depeche Mode singles from that album: "Now This Is Fun" featuring James New on vocals (b-side of "See You") and "Oberkorn (It's A Small Town)" (b-side of "The Meaning Of Love"). CD2 has extended versions of all album tracks. The "extended mix" was quite an important feature for some of us who grew up listening to music in the 80's and could be found on the 12 inch versions of the singles released. It was not a remix that sometimes is completely unrecognizable compared to the original song, often without vocals as was the case from the 90's onwards, it was a longer version, using elements of the original track. We got a taste of these on the bonus CD that came with the first, white vinyl edition featuring extended versions of "Leave In Silence", "My Secret Garden" and "The Sun And The Rainfall", but on CD2 of this edition we get everything. And some songs really come out on their own in these versions, most notably "Nothing To Fear" and "The Sun And The Rainfall".
Now that I had a CD edition of the Marsheaux version of the album a question started bugging me: "Shouldn't I get a copy of the original DM on CD?" It seemed that I should, but which edition? By browsing through Discogs I decided that the best choice was a 2006 edition featuring a CD and DVD. The CD featured the album and the DVD featured on its video portion a documentary about the making of the album and on its audio portion the complete album on a 5.1 mix, the b-sides (which Marsheaux included on their own CD1) plus a live concert from that era.
As you can see,I did photograph them side-by-side as I did with the vinyls on last year's post, although in this case the two designs do not exactly match as they did on the vinyl versions.

There was one more extra Marsheaux had in store for us from "A Broken Frame": A single! Their choice was "Monument", it came out on CD single and its design was similar to the "Leave In Silence" single from Depeche Mode. DM's "Leave In Silence" featured "Leave In Silence (Longer)", "Further Excerpts From : My Secret Garden" and "Leave In Silence (Quieter)" (on the 12'') whereas Marsheaux's "Monument" features "Monument (Shorter)", "Monument (Bigger)", "My Secret Garden (Better)" and "The Sun And The Rainfall (Lighter)". And in my own opinion this version of "My Secret Garden" is indeed a better one. They also filmed a video of "Monument" to accompany the single.
Finally, I decided to gather together all the other items related to "A Broken Frame" from my collection in one photo: The 7'' and 12'' versions of "See You" and "The Meaning Of Love" from Depeche Mode, the bonus CD given with the first white vinyl edition of Marsheaux's album plus an extra CD slipcase of "Monument" I received with my order of the single with different colours (a misprint perhaps?). And it's also worth noting that there is an instrumental version of "A Broken Frame" out there that is included as a CD-R in souvenir boxes sold at Marsheux gigs.