|Musicfolio.com||Reviews & Recommendations|
- Steffen: singer, composer
- Thomas: lyrics, keyboards, backing vocals
- Markus (1998-2000): keyboards, composer
"Stemming from the Darmstadt area in Germany, DE/VISION have been playing their predominantly electronic pop music with melodic English vocals since 1988. Long considered a quantity to be reckoned with on the German music scene, the chart success of their third CD Fairyland marked the breakthrough of this hard working and consistently touring band. (...) While initially being influenced by the famous electronic bands of the day, they now cite the techno, trance, hip-hop and crossover genres as their current influences. These days, DE/VISION themselves are an influence on the music scene and have been forerunners in many respects, working with vocal distortion effects as early as the beginning of 1996.
A phenomenon in Europe and the underground clubs in North America, the electropop act De/Vision is poised to conquer the planets electro scene."
-- devision.de / metropolis-records.com
¾ 1994: World Without End
"The German boys of De/Vision had been making music for well over five years when they released their first full-length album 'World Without End' on Strange Ways Records. The first single Your Hands on my Skin released on their own record label (Synthetic Product Records), had put them on the map back in 1990, and the single Try To Forget released in 1993 paved the way for their long overdue debut. Almost 10 years after its release, 'World Without End' is still considered by many die-hard fans of the synthpop genre, as De/Vision's best record, including some of their most recognizable underground dancefloor hymns: Dinner Without Grace, Your Hands on My Skin, Try to Forget. Often referred to as one of many Depeche Mode clone bands, De/Vision will soon prove to develop a sound that is very much their own and evolve to become a leading synthpop act of the 90s."
-- Said Sukkarieh, musicfolio.com, 4/03
¼ 1995: Unversed In Love
"The production on this album is good, with richly textured synth layers, mid tempo beats, melodic vocals and good attention to detail. This is something De/Vision has always been good at. Free from Cares is the opening track, which begins with a rotating electronic rift and beat. The lyrics deal with religion and ignorance towards virtues such as honesty, trust and integrity; /In a world of lies, we are free from cares, we close our eyes/. This is a fitting opening. 'Unversed in Love' is perhaps the most gothic and ethereal sounding De/Vision album with the lyrics being a good example of this. (...) Two of the singles, Love Me Again, and Dress Me When I Bleed bring both a sense of emotional yearning, and emotional fulfillment. Blue Moon, yet another single, creates a delicate atmosphere filled with imagery and a fine sense of melody. However, the three singles don't contain the sting that Dinner Without Grace and Try to Forget had from the first release. The vocal delivery is more fragile and less aggressive, with the beat not as intense and the dance appeal not as uplifting. This recording is less suited for the dance floor and more appropriate in the bedroom on a grey and cold winters day with your loved one or your broken heart. And if the latter is the case, there is no better song than, Moments We Shared".
-- Phil B (aka Sentiment), for musicfolio.com, 5/04
¼ 1995: Antiquity
"'Antiquity' is a compilation of previously unreleased De/Vision tracks taken from 1990 to 1992, with Lost in You and Circulate recorded for this release. Circulate is the pick of all the tracks, beautifully composed with a rolling beat, synthesized chords/chimes along with heart felt vocals. The seven older tracks document the band's early works, reminiscent of the late eighties retro-synth/new romantic sound, but still distinctively De/Vision. The lyrics here can be best described as urban poetry. Though the singing on Melody of Your Face and The Gold of the Poor doesn't sound like Steffan's vocals, and may very well be the vocals of either Thomas or perhaps Markus, whom left the band after the 'Void' album in 2000. There are some mid-tempo melodies, like If We Should Ignore this and Into Another World, and some dreary ones such as What I feel. The production is a little rusty, but has an aesthetic value. Well worth getting if you're a De/Vision fan. Not the best starting point though if you're not familiar with their music."
-- Phil B (aka Sentiment), for musicfolio.com, 6/04
"More catchy Depeche Mode retro synth from Germany's De/Vision, continuing the band's strict, simplified approach to bleak '80s music. Some of the English-sung lyrics might still get lost in the translation 'I get high on you,' Steffen sings in the soft pop ballad Like the Sun, 'You're the most befooling drug but the band comes across secure in its place and reasonably versatile with cold percussion and programmed melodies. Fairyland was gloomier than the garish pink cover artwork and blithe album title indicated. Staid, serious, occasionally depressing, and a little bland."
-- Dean Carlson, music.com, 6/04
¾ 1998: Monosex
"Since their move to major label WEA Records in 1997, DE/VISION have come up with new hit material. 'Monosex' contained 11 potential singles with extremely varying structures that surprised a lot of people. And all those who worried that DE/VISION would allow themselves to be influenced by commercial considerations have been proven wrong - the step from independent to major record company has only served to motivate these likeable musicians. In the course of their 'Monosex' tour, DE/VISION repeatedly performed in front of one thousand delighted fans, and the 'Monosex' CD entered the Media Control Charts at position no. 30, staying for four weeks. The first single release off the album [We Fly...Tonight] made it to no. 47 and stayed in the charts for three weeks. "
Musicfolio Picks: Deliver Me, We Fly Tonight, Strange Affection.
½ 1998: ZEHN
De/Vision remixes of a selection of their greatest hits spanning 1988-1998, released on their tenth anniversary.
"If Depeche Mode are a favorite band.....prepare to have another. Not that these guys are a carbon copy, in fact they sound like no-one but themselves. Nonetheless, the influences they have in common are apparent, and they share elements like the infectious beats coupled with honest and true lyrical composition, the landscape of sound and evocative arrangements which are so characteristic of Depeche Mode, and so draw these comparisons. Quality weighed against quality, De/Vision come off ok, for they are no pretenders to the throne but have plenty to say, and their own delicately constructed harmonies with which to say it. Steering well clear of the worst excesses of electronicas sometime tendency to indulge in navel-gazing and equally far from the meaningless banality of the dance-ruled new electric, these guys carefully punctuate the finer points of what electronica truly has to offer. In fact, that is really what they do: the finer points."
-- Alex England, amazon customer review, 6/02
¾ 2000: Void
"Void is De/Vision's most debated album due to the band's change in musical direction. A number of fans had problems with the shift from keyboards/programming to more traditional instruments such as guitars and acoustic drums. These changes were made under risky circumstances, following the highly successful 'Monosex' release. What is clear is De/Vision's desire to evolve, explore and diversify their musical capabilities and artistic discography. The album begins with Re-invent Yourself, which re-enforces the albums core theme and purpose. By track three, Self Deception, the dramatical change in De/Vision's musical composition can be evidently heard. A guitar riff is brought to the foreground with tribal chanting used to complement the melodic vocals, reminiscent of Dead Can Dance or Delerium. The programming and keyboards are still evident on upbeat tracks such as Foreigner (the first single) and Anywhere, but the new version of Blue Moon (Void Style) (originally from 'Unversed in Love') has been totally re-arranged with slight voice distortion, atmospheric samples/sequences along with subtle guitar chords. Freedom once again brings guitars centre stage amongst acoustic drum beats, as does A Prayer, with its soft, slow and honest acoustic delivery and melody. A bold, fresh, and innovative release which takes on new ground without totally abandoning former De/Vision qualities."
-- Phil B (aka Sentiment), for musicfolio.com, 7/04
¼ 2001: Two
"The last De/Vision album, 'Void', was either loved or hated. Mostly hated, from what I've gathered. Their still increasing fan base had big problems with the restructuring of their sound with more use of guitars and acoustic drums. They can all breathe a lot easier now, though. 'Two' is more... well, more De/Vision, frankly. Softer with the focus back on emotional, effective pop songs. Steffen has a knack for writing clever songs as well as appealing harmonies and Thomas handles the duties of the lyricist brilliantly. The single Heart-shaped Tumor is a great example of a perfect combo of dark poetry and impressive song pacing. It builds up beautifully, from the tender piano based intro to the edgy, trashing chorus. One of De/Vision's best songs, no question. 'Two' holds mostly slow or mid-tempo tunes, but that's what they do best, in my opinion. Drowning Soul, another song I would put on my personal "Best of De/Vision" CD-R, is a ballad so moving it almost brings tears to my eyes and lyrics I, and I presume, many with me can relate to. Uncaring Machine is the most remarkable track, with leftovers from 'Void' in the heavy guitar based refrain. Still, I think it's far better than most of the tracks on that album. There are two or maybe three songs on 'Two' that are a bit anonymous, but never anything remotely uninteresting. "
-- Niklas Forsberg, releasemagazine.net, 9/01
"Remixed offers the rebirth of songs recorded between 1993 to 1996, in remixed form. The limited edition comes with a second CD with remixes by alternative Bands like Colony 5, Psyche, T.O.Y., and others. The remixes on CD 1 were adapted for the dancefloor as they were freshened up with modern basses and additional modern synths that fit with a DancePoP musical flavour (Take Me To The Time, Get Over The Wall, Free From Cares ). On the whole the remixes on CD 1 are well done, powerful and danceable. Maybe some De/Vision fans wont like the remixes as they sound too commercial and they have lost their original charisma. I have to recommend the limited edition as the remixes on CD 2 keep the original character of the songs, especially the sensitivity and melancholy of the originals (for example Your Hands On My Skin, Free From Cares, Endlose Träume).
-- SynthPoP for the Masses Reviews, 5/02
¾ 2003: Devolution
Tracklisting: 01 Sadness 02 When The World Disappeared 03 Miss You More 04 Drifting Sideways 05 A New Dawn 06 Far Too Deep 07 Digital Dream 08 You Say ... 09 Mary Jane 10 The Day's Not Done
"Devolution ranks way up there with De/Vision's debut album 'World Without End', and their 1988 breakthrough album 'Monosex'. As a matter of fact, given the variety of songs it offers and the production savvy lacking on their earlier records, Devolution could very well be De/Vision's best offering to date. With typical melodic tunes in the vein of When the World Disappears and Miss You More, more dance oriented tracks like Digital Dream and Drifting Sideways, and a hint of crunching industrialism on the opening track Sadness, Devolution masterfully wavers between synthpop, future-pop and EBM, while maintaining the signature De/Vision sound. One of the best darksynth releases of 2003.
The limited edition version includes a bonus CD with remixes by T.O.Y, Mesh, Telekommander and John Fryer."
-- DJ Avalanche, musicfolio.com, 4/03
½ 2004: Six Feet Underground
Tracklisting: 1. I'm Not Enough 2. I'm Not Dreaming of You 3. Unputdownable 4. Turn Me On 5. 6 Feet Underground 6. Aimee 7. Right On Time 8. Take Me Over 9. You Are the One 10. Beside You 11. Klangmonaut 12. Take Me to Heaven
"With this release, the outfit showcases a range of contemporary electronic styles, pushing their musical capabilities with songs such as Right On Time(through a break core sequence), Take Me Over (with its throbbing trip-hop cross trance rift), and Take Me to Heaven (which wanders from slow beginnings into a chorus of screeching synth, climbing beats and pleading vocals). The title track also explores dark and ambient territory with it's subtle and lush soundscape of beats, samples, slight synth and string arrangements, all in line with the vocals and lyrics, conveying a sense of loss and hopelessness. In some ways, this release is a concept album, very much in line with its title. Tracks such as I'm Not Dreaming of You (the first single), Unputdownable and Aimee are classical De/Vision with their heartfelt vocal delivery and melancholy, synthpop sensibility and melodies. The production covers new grounds as De/Vision continue to evolve and reinvent their electronic sound. The first 1000 pressings of this album contain two bonus tracks, consisting of a stretched out club version of I'm Not Dreaming of You and the radio edit of Unputdownable."
-- Phil B (aka Sentiment), for musicfolio.com, 8/04
Tracklisting: 1.Subtronic 2.The End 3.Star-crossed Lovers 4.Addict 5.Obey Your Heart 6.No Tomorrow 7.Still Unknown 8.In dir 9.E-Shock 10.My Own Worst Enemy 11.Not Made Of Gold 12.Summer Sun
"...most songs have a quite innocent and soft character, except for the ninth track E-Shock. This song also is an exception as all other songs are provided with regular vocal lines of - more or less - clean male vocals, but in this E-Shock the vocals are distorted; the heaviest, darkest and most danceable song on the album. I would have liked more of that, as most songs are pretty slow. The album breathes a certain melancholy, but in a pretty corny way in my opinion. Other catchy songs on the album are The End and Addict. However, the simplistic, love-concerned lyrics of these songs sound pretty ridiculous to me, for instance You make me sick, I never wanna be like you, You are the end, Im the beginning while in Addict the vocals proclaim: I am addicted to everything you do... However, despite the above objections, I will not condemn 'Subkutan' as a bad record after all, as musically the album is well arranged and smoothly polished."
-- Thijs, Vampire Magazine, 1/06
2006: Best of
Tracklisting: CD1 - 01. Foreigner (Radio Edit) 02. The End (Radio Club Edit) 03. Strange Affection (Album Edit) 04. Heart-Shaped Tumor (Radio Edit) 05. Drifting Sideways (Radio Cut) 06. Unputdownable (Single Edit) 07. Love Will Find A Way 08. The Day's Not Done (Album Version) 09. Miss You More (Radio Cut) 10. I'm Not Dreaming Of You (Album Version) 11. We Fly... Tonight (Radio Edit) 12. Still Unknown (Album Version) 13. Lonely Day (Radio Cut) 14. Aimee (Album Version) 15. Freedom (Album Short Cut) 16. Digital Dream (Album Version) 17. 6 Feet Underground (Album Version)
CD2 - 01. Heart-Shaped Tumor (Straight Mix) 02. I'm Not Dreaming Of You (Extended Club Version) 03. Digital Dream (Mesh Classical Cupboard Cut) 04. Still Unknown (Andrew Sega Mix) remixed by Andrew Sega (Iris) 05. The End (Extended Club Version) 06. Summer Sun (Out Of Sight Out Of Mind Mix) remixed by Soni Code 07. Miss You More (Telekommander Mix) 08. Drifting Sideways (T.O.Y.toburger Wald Mix) 09. Aimee (Intuition Remix) 10. Breathless 11. Turn Me On (Wave In Head Mix) 12. Sadness (The Sad death of Mix) 13. Star-Crossed Lovers (In A Black Hole Mix) remixed by ROTOSKOP 14. The Day's Not Done (Scopehead Mix) remixed by ROTOSKOP
"The Limited Edition 2CD collection contains an essential selection of tracks spanning the period from 1998 to 2006 together with one brand new exclusive song, Love Will Find A Way specially recorded for this release. The Limited Edition first release version of 'Best Of' comes presented with a Bonus 14 track CD featuring a collection of rare remixes of favourite De/Vision tracks."
¾ 2007: NOOB
Tracklisting: 01. What You Deserve 02. Obsolete 03. Nine Lives 04. Life Is Suffering 05. Death Of Me 06. Flavour Of The Week 07. Deep Blue 08. Love Will Find A Way [Noob-Version] 09. See What I See 10. Living Fast, Dying Young 11. The Far Side Of The Moon 12. What It Feels Like 13. The Enemy Inside
"Their last years 'Best of' album contained a wide range of exceptionally gifted pop anthems, including the exclusive Love Will Find a Way, recorded specifically for the compilation and Thomas and Steffen's first real compositional collaboration with their production team Schumann & Bach. This new collaboration worked that well, that 'Noob' was recorded entirely by this tried and tested gang of four. It also explains the title (NOOB), which Steffen borrowed from computer gaming jargon, where its used to describe a greenhorn gamer, or as a derogatory term for an experienced gamer who's made a beginner's mistake. The pleasing result of this new working method is an album that sparkles with lightly shimmering pop gems. Songs such as Death of Me, What You Deserve, Living Fast Dying Young, the promo single Flavour of the Week or the new version of Love Will Find a Way flow through the aural tract with invigorating lightness, De/Vision immersing themselves in melancholy dream worlds with See What I See, and above all this hovers a nostalgic retro feeling that brings to mind the band's musical roots. Inspired by the cool remixes that Rotoskop contributed to the 'Best of ' release, NOOB sees De/Vision embark to some extent on a journey back to the 80s, a time of busy experimentation in the resurrected electro scene, merging pop, rock, ambient etc. elements. The unostentatious artwork featuring a neon logo can definitely be considered a reminiscence of that pioneering era of electronic pop music, yet at the same time De/Vision have once again succeeded on 'NOOB' in insistently getting to the heart of a number of brilliant tracks in a pleasantly reduced style with modern as well as classical quotations."
½ 2010: PopGefahr
Tracklisting: 01. mAndroids 02. Rage (Album Version) 03. Whats Love All About? 04. Time To Be Alive (Album Version) 05. Plastic Heart 06. Be A Light To Yourself 07. Ready To Die 08. Flash Of Life 09. Twisted Story 10. Until The End Of Time
"Hot on the heels of the critically acclaimed album 'Noob', the boys from De/Vision have once again emerged from the studio with all-new material for 2010. Working together with their favorite producer team, Schumann & Bach, the new album entitled 'Popgefahr' is a worthy addition to De/Vision's musical legacy. Seamlessly moving from danceable tracks such as Flash of Life to the slower, lyrically driven Be a Light to Yourself, 'Popgefahr' (loosely translated as 'Danger of Pop') is a well-rounded, cohesive album. And this time they have gone their own way, and founded an indie label through which they are releasing the album. In an almost feisty and flirtatious manner the album presents ten ambitious electro tracks, all of them rough around the edges but going straight to one's head, especially when reaching the irresistible choruses."
-- press release"Favorite tracks include the edgy single, Rage, the beautiful and moody Whats Love All About and the mid-tempo Time to be Alive, which is an aural masterpiece - you literally wont be able to sit still when you listen to it. Its throbbing rhythm instantly had me bobbing my head in time to the songs insistent beat. Plastic Heart and Ready to Die are more traditional De/Vision numbers, while Until the End of Time is an amazing, ethereal song that is a powerful conclusion this excellent album. My only minor complaint is that I wish there was more; De/Visions new album only contains 10 songs, but they are an excellent selection. In my opinion, 'Popgefahr' is easily one of the best new synthpop albums of 2010..."
-- modernsynthpop.com, 3/10
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