CD, kultFRONT, 2008
As far as tribute compilations go, the Russian music collective kultFRONT can be said to have hit the nail squarely in the head with their industrial tribute to Depeche Mode, “Rush For Black Celebration”.
More often than not, tribute compilations are essentially collections of cover versions, incorporating the interpreter’s signature soundwork and bearing a strong similarity of the original material, frequently the difference lying solely on the instrumentation used and the vocal capabilities of the interpreters. “Rush For Black Celebration” evades this paradigm and, instead, presents the listener with music that is inspired by the band Depeche Mode and their music and which, at best, bears only a passing or tangential resemblance to the original material. Instead of simple interpretations of songs, these artists present their very personal visions of Depeche Mode, their music and their meaning.
One blatant exception is the opening track, Das Reut’s interpretation of “Black Celebration” which, following the original, provides what is the most recognizable listening experience of the whole compilation and is also a good introductory piece for what follows. Similarly, M-28’s “The Sun And The Rainfall”, lodged in the middle of the album, serves as a ‘recontextualization’ and reminder of the source material. Otherwise, all bets are off: Depeche Mode (as a band and concept) are turned on their heads, with recordings of their music sampled, taken apart, torn, twisted and turned inside-out in a succession of creative and ingenious extreme lo-fi industrial experimentalism, electro-acoustic drones and sound-collage fuckery, frequently bordering on abstract dissonance and overall conceptual insanity.
Due to the diversity of composition approaches and interpretations, any highlights will be based solely on personal taste. Nevertheless, “Solitude In Society” by Noises Of Russia comes across as an interesting statement and Ganzer’s mélange of “It’s No Good”, “Freelove”, “Personal Jesus” and “Enjoy The Silence” is bound to turn some heads. Worth pointing out is that the liner notes, though brief, make for interesting reading, offering a glimpse into the creative processes and resources of each artist and, at least in one case, a concrete opinion about Depeche Mode and their influence.
After a fashion, “Rush For A Black Celebration” may come across as an extreme version of what Alan Wilder did parallel to his work in Depeche Mode and, personally, I can’t help but feel that it epitomizes what music tributes should be. Not just collections of music reinterpretation, but true manifestations of creativity, showing new artistic paths that diverged and were made possible in part thanks to the inspirational work of the artists being paid homage.
— Miguel de Sousa