Europe’s most celebrated artisan label, Vinyl on Demand (VOD), has released a collection of Robert Marlow rarities as part of its 2014 run, as a split with Marlow’s home imprint, Electro Shock Records. The first side of The Blackwing Sessions – Demos 1982/1983 compiles demos recorded by Marlow with his Essex mate, Vince Clarke (yes, that one), and Eric Radcliffe. On the flip, an alternative rough mix of “No Heart,” rounds out the extended mixes from Marlow’s releases on Clarke’s Reset label, “The Face of Dorian Gray” and “I Just Want to Dance,” together with the aforementioned “No Heart.” Although the songs are all Marlow originals, the archivists interest is in the glimpses they reveal into Clarke’s evolving style – the Reset project was one of his creative outlets following his departure from Depeche Mode, handled from an office at Southwark’s Blackwing Studios.
The demo tracks were previously collected for the CD release of the album, but VOD’s version repackages them with the extended mixes on 180 gram heavy-duty vinyl for richer sound. VOD’s characteristic attention to detail is evident in the packaging. For Marlow fans, this format will be a great way to rehear familiar songs. The wider interest, however, will come from fans of Vince Clarke, who want to hear how the master produced his friend’s effort back in the day.