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Best known as the shy one of British synth-pop giants Depeche Mode during their mid- to late-'80s heyday, Alan Wilder was originally intended to replace departed songwriter Vince Clarke (now of Erasure fame). Instead, he became involved in the production end of 1983's Construction Time Again and cemented a darker, more sophisticated, multidimensional sound for the band. Wilder's first solo recordings quietly emerged alongside 1986's Black Celebration and earmarked him as the group's technical genius; although only four-track cassette demos, his works featured the cutting-edge sampling and sound design that had become DM's trademark. These skeletal but broodingly vivid audio sketches, captured on the first Recoil LP Hydrology, became fully fleshed as Wilder began to invite a spectrum of guest vocalists, with a preference for spur-tongued New York poets and paranoid personalities. Using their emotional contributions, as well as progressively vigorous instrumentation, Wilder's current, post-modern pop excursions remain compellingly alienating.
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