With the first favorite remix having been released in 1984, we didn’t move too far into the future before the favorite remix of the next decade manifested itself. Truth be told, the 90s were not a favorite time for me, musically. Remixes by this time period were fairly obnoxious to me with many daaaaaaance music trends [house, techno, baggy, everything else] bringing pain to my ears. I stopped collecting a lot of favorite artists due to their output on single remixes at this time… but not Claudia Brücken.
I can vividly remember popping this into the CD player for the first time in 1991. The first single from the “Love… And A Million Other Things” album was “Absolut[e],” the closest thing to banality that she ever released as a single. It sounded like a Depeche Mode track. Not this one! As I recall, even this second single was still a pre-release, and I didn’t have the album yet. When I pressed “play,” I heard the song for the first time in its remixed form, courtesy of Mark Saunders. The ‘Electrical Embrace’ mix was instantly gripping with fat, spherical sequenced lines that nodded to both Moroder and the Berlin School.
That won me over right there. Then, the song’s theme on string patches was eventually joined by drum machine percussion and synth bass. Ms. Brücken’s vocal contained many delightful excursions into her lower registers for late night smoky intimacy. I loved how Claudia’s harmonies with the backing vocalists [including Claudia Fontaine of Afrodiziak] remained steady until she descended an octave for “ether” in the song’s chorus. The dissolute, jazzy trumpet touches in the trancelike middle eight show the sophistication of her aim with this album. This is a song of adult rapture and bliss that’s far from clumsy teenaged fumbles in a back seat.
The mix concluded with all instrumentation faded down except for the sequencers, looped rhythmic samples of Ms. Brücken’s vocals cut up in abstraction, and birdlike synth trills as the cut ended as it began, on what resembled a backward cymbal hit. In a perfect world, two DJs could segue this mix together in an endless loop for as long as it took to have enough.
And I could never have enough. I bought the CD single first and was blown away by the gorgeous four color plus knocked out stop varnish on the tiny gatefold sleeve. I was not used to five color sleeves for CD singles! I then bought the 7″ in a gatefold sleeve, which sported the same, luscious print job as the CD single, only larger. Then there was the second 12″ remix in a boxed set. The radically different “Earth Mood Magic” mix took the song into world music territory in a sleeve that was all metallic machine aesthetics. I then found the “Electrical Embrace” mix on 12″ single and that piece is one of the most elaborately printed 12″ singles I’ve ever seen. Not only does it have the deluxe five color print job of the CD and 7″, but it also has an overlay outer sleeve that had the black halftone plate reverse printed on synthetic vellum. If one removed the overlay, only the crystalline colors were on the cardboard sleeve. Yes, there were once sleeves that daring!
Next: …Enter the 21st century…one…two