A fresh, ultra-minimal version of David Bowie's "Low"-era classic 'Subterraneans' featuring Depeche Mode's Martin Gore on vocals? What's not to love?
Released in 1977, "Low" marked a departure and creative peak for Bowie, the first of the Berlin Trilogy that saw him team up with Brian Eno and Tony Visconti. Wordless closing track 'Subterraneans' was a stand-out, originally recorded for Nicholas Roeg's surreal "The Man Who Fell To Earth". Bowie later said the track was dedicated to anyone caught in East Berlin when the city was divided, and that's an element that takes on even more resonance here as it's reimagined by East German minimalist Carsten Nicolai. He's not alone either - William Basinski steps up to duplicate Bowie's memorable sax solo, and Depeche Mode's Gore handles the vocals.
Nicolai's version is a confident cover, even if it isn't a radical departure from the original. It sounds more like a tribute to a track that helped inform the direction of each artist involved, and their way of remembering the original is to subtly insert their own signature sounds into the whole. Smart and touching, it's avant-garde karaoke that's actually worth checking out.