xPropaganda - The Heart Is Strange LP
Original Propaganda vocalists Claudia Brücken and Susanne Freytag reunite with the group’s visionary producer Stephen Lipson
The German city of Düsseldorf is renowned for its fashion, design, vibrant arts scene and proximity to the rest of Europe. Bowie loved his visits there in the 1970s, and in the 1980s Düsseldorf helped shape two of the finest electronic albums in recorded history. The first came in 1981 with Kraftwerk’s ‘Computer World’, whilst the second followed four years later with the 1985 release of Düsseldorf group Propaganda’s ‘A Secret Wish’.
Now, four decades on after recording that legendary LP, ex Propaganda members Claudia Brücken and Susanne Freytag alongside original producer Stephen Lipson, have reunited to form a new group: xPropaganda and to release a stunning new album, ‘The Heart Is Strange’. It will be released by UMC on the ZTT label on 20 May 2022.
After the original line up split in 1987, the individual band members of Propaganda pursued various solo projects and musical adventures. Fast forward to the spring of 2018 and Claudia and Susanne reformed as xPropaganda to play two sold out headline shows at The Garage in Islington, London. Having felt creatively inspired by the experience, the duo then reconvened with ‘A Secret Wish’ producer Stephen Lipson to write new music.
The results of these sessions, held over two years, can be heard on ‘The Heart Is Strange’. It evokes the spirit and passion of classic Propaganda whilst sounding effortlessly contemporary. With its strident beats and glacial soundscapes offset beautifully by Claudia and Susanne’s expressive, passionate vocals, stand outs include the smouldering, slow burner ‘Chasing Utopia’, the intense, obsessive ‘No Ordinary Girl’ and the jagged pop glory of ‘Don’t (You Mess with Me)’. The album’s epic opener ‘The Night’ sets the benchmark in the same way ‘Dream Within A Dream’ did for ‘A Secret Wish’, a 6-minute journey of pulsating, nocturnal electro bliss. All throughout ‘The Heart Is Strange’, producer Stephen Lipson adds a panoramic quality that mirrors his recent excellent Hans Zimmer collaboration for the score to the latest Bond film, ‘No Time To Die’. Over a quarter of a century on, all of the promises of ‘A Secret Wish’ are fulfilled once again on a new album that is conceptually and sonically the follow up that never was to ‘A Secret Wish’
1. The Night
2. Chasing Utopia
3. Beauty Is the Truth
4. Only Human
1. Don’t (You Mess with Me)
2. No Ordinary Girl
3. The Wolves Are Returning
4. Ribbons of Steel