[debut] is mostly producer and ex-pat Gareth Thompson and his cavalcade of musicians and vocalists who contribute to his unique brand of electronic music. Postcards from Berlin is the collective’s newest venture and first full-length album whhich was funded almost entirely via a Kickstarter campaign. This album is very different from Thompson’s previous ventures, as it incorporates classical music into his arsenal of vintage and modern electronic sounds. It also sees Thompson try his hand at lead vocals, with mixed results.
Starting to Love It and Sweet Little Girl were the first two releases by [debut], and they gained Thompson and his collective a ravenous cult following who were willing to shell out a total of over $10,000 in order to fund the album. Both previous releases featured Thompson’s vintage synthesizers and many different singers, musicians and artist contributed to create the first two EPs. Postcards from Berlin brings back this musical format with even more contributing artists, sometimes in the form of a full orchestra. Unfortunately, sometimes when Thompson takes the lead on vocals, his untrained voice clashes with the delicate and mellifluous sounds of the other instruments and his well-honed synths, but on one track, “Passion,” this is not the case.
“Passion,” the standard album’s last song (there’s a bonus track on the limited edition CD), and it is also the track where Thompson most achieves the marriage of classical music, synthesizers and his own vocals that he was aiming for on this album.
Highlighting his love for Depeche Mode-like new wave in the musical track, Thompson’s vocals manage to stay on key as he and the synths support each other. The song has a very simple three-chord melody, and the classical element comes into play in a very subtle way: a piano and Catholic hymn-like carry this chord progression throughout the track in order to add even more structure to the synths and vocals.
“Passion” is a wonderful example of the new and exciting direction it looks like Thompson is planning to take with [debut]. Postcards from Berlin is available exclusively on the store attached to [debut]’s website, and select other songs are available to stream on the group’s Soundcloud page.