by Donald Rumpert
Erasure is an English synth-pop duo that has seventeen studio albums. The duet consists of singer and songwriter Andy Bell and songwriter and keyboardist Vince Clarke. They formed in London and have established themselves as one of the most successful duos of the late 1980s to mid-1990s on the UK music scene. In 2017, Erasure released their 17th studio album, World Be Gone. The album received much success in their native U.K., which gave Clarke, the one half of Erasure that is responsible for the music creation, an idea – to record an orchestral version of one song and issue it as a single. That idea grew into the duet’s current release, World Beyond, an orchestral interpretation of the 2017 album, World Be Gone. To achieve this, Erasure teamed up with Echo Collective, a collective of classically trained and professionally active musicians based in Brussels Belgium, that collaborate with modern composers and bands to create orchestral projects such as World Beyond.
Erasure and Echo Collective recorded the album in Brussels. The joint venture was highly successful, not simply a remix of the original material on the album, but a brand-new recording of the songs. The neo-classical strings allowed Erasure to revisit and re-orchestrate the material. Although the basic melodies are still there, the emphasis is on the songs and they are not meant to be dance music. The lyrics are quite audible and have marked impact.
Bell has never sounded better, “Oh What a World,” finds the vocalist singing the melody with a strong warm presence as the string orchestration slowly builds around him. Bell’s vocals define the beat as the rest of the orchestration is elegant, this is a nice approach and not often heard with this amount of clear articulation and rhythmic authority.
The title track is a beautifully orchestrated track. Again, Bell’s voice is remarkable. His upper register singing is controlled and full. Clarke’s music is supportive, and Echo Collective does a great job of coloring and filling out the track with beauty and subtlety. This is a moving track, both musically and lyrically. The ensemble passages a very well-played, the sound is balanced, and the musicianship is excellent.
Hats off to Erasure for continuing to push the envelope and branch out into new styles and sounds. This album works very well and gives us a new perspective of this creative duet. World Beyond presents a refined side of their creativity and a different emotion, but the music is still exciting and pure Erasure.