Dream no more, brace yourself, build that excitement, then rush out and get yourself a copy of this masterpiece by the German veterans of electronica, CAMOUFLAGE.
‘Greyscale’ is the eighth studio album by the trio of Heiko Maile, Marcus Meyn and Oliver Kreyssig from Bietigheim-Bissingen.
Yet again, it is well appointed, loaded with architectural sounds and skillfully hitting the spot, even for the more discerning listeners of the genre.
No two CAMOUFLAGE songs have been same sounding, repetitive or laboured; this being true since ‘Voices & Images’, through to ‘Methods Of Silence’, ‘Meanwhile’, ‘Bodega Bohemia’, ‘Spice Crackers’ and the newer ‘Sensor’, ‘Relocated’ and now 2015’s ‘Greyscale’.
The album will have you ‘Spellbound’ for days on end, with its full bodied, yet easy listening tones, exquisitely selected to complete this one of a kind jewel. ‘Shine’, the first single from ‘Greyscale’, opens the record with its uptempo sounds and invigorating lyrics. A refreshingly stimulating track, it has all the elements of a good introduction tune. It is gripping and dynamic enough to make the listener compelled into wanting more, and more certainly comes with ‘Laughing’. The second song on the album uncannily resembles DAVE GAHAN’s ‘Dirty Sticky Floors’ from his acclaimed solo project ‘Paper Monsters’. This intense and resonant anthem empowers and lifts the spirits with swirling synth motif and intriguing tonality, giving background to the earthy sound of Marcus’ voice. The mood changes swiftly on ‘In The Cloud’. From the quirky, bright and vibrant, we descend into melancholic, reflective and nostalgic. What a superb song it is, with its inspired, ominous and
This leads us perfectly into the next number, which is ‘Count On Me’. To say that the listener is onto a rare treat is an understatement in itself. Marcus opens with his mellow and warm rendition of the first verse, just to be replaced momentarily by the vocal genius himself, Peter Heppner of WOLFSHEIM, the God of atmospheric and lush voices, whose tone can be easily recognised from far and wide.
Heppner gives the song the uniqueness of his own material, especially reminiscent of his own project outside of WOLFSHEIM, ‘Solo’. The serenity of each sound on this track is simply superior, and the element of interest grows with such diversity only into the song number four of this genius-like formation.
The title track ‘Greyscale’ lacks vocals, but it is by no means inferior or disjointed. Sophisticated synth sounds interspersed with quirky rhythms are reminiscent of the magnificent instrumentals DEPECHE MODE used to produce at their best. The track paints a picture of mysterious, hushed situations, with uncertain, eerie and supernatural elements, very much like ‘The Great Outdoors’ or ‘Oberkorn’, the classic DM “no voice” gems. What comes next, is ‘Still’; another delicate and tranquil tune, gracefully embellishing this amazing album, with its rich, almost AND ONE’s ‘Virgin Superstar’ quality. Beautiful strings and French horns soothe the recipient, gently caring for the listener in a carefree manner.
A different sound is introduced with ‘Misery’, a fast, up-tempo track; again, evocative of those brilliant tunes of AND ONE. Danceable and full of melody, this exceptional song leads one nicely onto the more mellow, yet wonderfully rich ‘Leave Your Room Behind’. THE BELOVED ‘Sweet Harmony’ reincarnated in one modern, uplifting form. Bright, rounded vocals by Marcus sit perfectly on the backdrop of the reborn melody.
The second instrumental track from ‘Greyscale’ is cleverly named ‘Light Grey’. A short, yet wholesome tune, rich with suspense and apprehension introduces the listener into ‘End Of Words’. Sublime vocals on this song, resembling tracks of ‘Six Feet Underground’ from DE/VISION, fall against sensational melodies, leading to the third and last instrumental tune ‘Dark Grey’. A bit longer lasting than its light predecessor, yet similarly full of tension and uncertainty.
‘I’ll Find’ closes the album, with clear Leonard Cohen and Peter Heppner influences. Wholesome, yet with a large dose of insecurity and need of reassurance, just like the old WOLFSHEIM tracks we all learnt to love. Superb production, but as this is CAMOUFLAGE; one wouldn’t expect anything less.
Although the immediacy of ‘The Great Commandment’ or ‘Suspicious Love’ is missing, the album does not disappoint; it grips the listener with amazing dose of perfect electronica and leaves one with wanting more. That is why with over thirty years of experience within the music machine, CAMOUFLAGE’s varied concepts have proven popular on both sides of the Atlantic, with audiences in Asia, South America, Stateside and Europe alike.
It is, after all, German electronic music at its best.
‘Greyscale’ is released by Bureau B on 27th March 2015 in CD, vinyl and download formats
CAMOUFLAGE’s 2015 European Tour includes:
Erfurt Stadtgarden (26th March), Dresden Reithalle Strasse E (27th March), Berlin Kesselhaus & Maschinenhaus (28th March), Hamburg Docks (29th March), Factory Magdeburg (31st March), Warsaw Progesja Music Zone (17th April), Bratislava Ateliér Babylon (18th April), Roxy Prague (19th April)
Text by Monika Izabela Goss
Photos by Klaus Mellenthin
25th March 2015