VCMG stands for Vince Clarke and Martin Gore, who were Depeche Mode's original and primary songwriters before the former's 1981 departure to make electronic pop with Yazoo and Erasure. The clamour for the duo's reunion started way back then, but rather than a high-profile return with a fanfare – and a singer – Ssss is a low-key project of instrumental techno. Indeed, there's nothing to signify that it's the work of the two electronic giants at all, but perhaps this is the point. The collaboration took place entirely via email, and the tracks, given faceless titles (Skip This Track, for example), are almost deliberately anonymous. The analogue synths and electronic squelches could have boomed out of a darkened club at any time in the last two decades, but repeated listens reveal expertise with a sense of fun. Windup Robot is a glorious whirl of bleeps and bonks. Single Blip is a no-holds-barred rave-up with a crazed descending bass. It's never going to trouble their Mode days in terms of sales or pioneering, but makes a banging party soundtrack.
VCMG: Ssss – review
Dave Simpson is a Guardian music critic and author