That’s the name of one of 2009’s most interesting and unique records.

On the face of it, it may seem like just another collaboration album. A bunch of songs remixed to squeeze every last drop of sale’s potential out of something which has been on the market for months.

But that’s not the case here. It’s not a covers album, it’s not a remix album. So what is it? Well, we’ll come to that in a moment. First, consider the calibre of the artists involved with this record. No, not the guest vocalists – although the presence of The Cure’s Robert Smith, New Order’s Bernard Sumner and Anne Clark to name but a handful should already excite enough interest – the people behind the album.

Blank & Jones – and Mark Reeder.

Blank & Jones has been a well-known blip on the German electronic music radar for more than a decade now. The Cologne-based artists are made up of Piet Blank and Jaspa Jones – both DJs and musicians –  with, in the studio, the production plus of Andy Kaufhold, who have a healthy swag of eight LPs and more than 25 singles under their belts since they rode into the national consciousness on the wave of trance back in 1995.

The interest in spinning and making music started early for both; Blank began DJing at school parties when here was a fresh-faced 11-year-old while Jones took up pro DJing at 16 which led to a residency at Düsseldorf’s legendary Ratinger Hof; his no holds barred techno sets inspiring many German DJs along the way. Blank & Jones have come a long way since their first single, Sunrise, was released in 1997. Their music has always been a constant process of evolution; their backgrounds as musicians complimenting and contrasting well with their abilities as DJs. In fact, the boys were never keen to be labelled as “just another trance act” and from the outset took a more traditional song-writing approach to making music. Of course there werer the club anthems (Nightfly, Cream, Beyond Time…) but also song songs, “real music” as a traditionalist might call it. The ability to change and progress is combined with a real 1980s attitude; a sense that anything goes, so long as it’s good, sounds great, makes you feel something. Therefore, Blank & Jones have enjoyed a measure of commercial success denied many other musicians working within the sphere of electronic music. Their Relax album series has proved to be a hit with the record-buying public while the boys have turned their hands to remixes for the likes of Freddie Mercury, Pet Shop Boys and Moby. And if further proof was needed of their musical credentials…well, Bernard Sumner and Robert Smith don’t step up for guest vocal duties for just anyone, do they? 

Mark Reeder. Described in a recent Smirnoff Wall of Sound documentary as the „Godfather of the Berlin club scene“, Mark has turned his hand to pretty much every music industry job going. From humble beginnings working in Manchester’s Virgin Records he was there at the very beginning of what became known as the „Madchester“ movement and his association with Tony Wilson led to him being Factory Records’ „Man in Germany“ after his move to Berlin in 1978. In the thick of the Berliner Krankheit movement – which spawned Einstürzende Neubauten and Die Ärzte among others – he played with his band Die Unbekannten and co-managed all-girl no wave line-up Malaria! He remains the only ever Brit to be invited into Communist East Germany to produce an album there (the results being Torture by Die Vision in 1989) which led to his founding the first ever electronic dance music label, MFS, amid the wreckage of what was once Amiga, East Germany’s state-owned imprint. Amid extensive touring and remix and production duties, Mark even found time to discover and build up superstar DJ Paul van Dyk for international superstardom. Oh yeah, and he’s remixed Anne Clark, Pet Shop Boys and Die Toten Hosen (among others) along the way.

And so the story shifts to re-ordered. So what exactly is it? Mark: „ Reordered could probably best be described as a re-works album as I’ve taken each track and basically rewritten and reworked the music and added my own sound imprint. It was decided to make it in a style reminiscent of the 80’s and I produced it in exactly the same way as I had made music back then; using very few instruments, real synths and guitars. I wanted Reordered to have a different sound to anything Blank & Jones had done before and to touch territory they wouldn’t normally visit.“ Mark has taken all the previously released „songs“ – ie. vocal tracks – from Blank & Jones’ previous output and transformed them into something befitting a musician who cut his musical teeth in the 1980s. Working together with his long-time studio engineer and collaborator Micha Adam, formerly of the techno project House of Usher, they'e come up with an LP worthy of being the debut release on a new label; so80s, a sub-label of Blank & Jones' regular imprint Soundcolours. The record is down-tempo, introverted, one might even say dark. It’s not a happy album and not geared for the dancefloor; but it’s nevertheless an engaging place to be, highly atmospheric and the re-interprations so well done that each cut sounds completely different from the original. It’s a measured, creeping album; its smoky fingers drifting into your mind, carressing your ear drums and making the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end.

A magical record in fact. Mark’s arranging and production credentials were never in any doubt; his major achievement here lies in the fact that he has created a solid, credible concept record which, to be blunt, has been patched together from a random selection of someone else’s tracks. And it works.

One artist provided the foundation, another built on this with talented hands; the results are evidence of what can occur when two highly talented artists go head to head.

Blank & Jones. Mark Reeder. Reordered.   


1.     A Forest (Schwarzwald Mix) Featuring Robert Smith

2.     Heart Of Wax (Heart Of Crystal Mix) Featuring Vanessa Daou

3. Loneliness (Alone In The Dark Mix) Fturing Bobo

4. Consequences (Resultant Mix) Featuring Vanessa Daou

5. The Hardest Heart (Heart & Soul Mix) Featuring Anne Clark

6. Miracle Cure (Genussmittel Remix) Featuring Bernard Sumner

7. Manifesto (Save Yourself Mix) Featuring Vanessa Daou

8. So Cold (Ice Cold On Alex Mix) Featuring Trademark

9. Unknown Treasure (You Shall Be Free Mix) Featuring Claudia Brücken

10. Perfect Silence (Perfect Moment Mix) Featuring Bobo

11. Where You Belong (You Can Run Mix) Featuring Bobo

12. Revealed (Overexposed Mix) Featuring Steve Klibey

13. Mind Of The Wonderful (Mastermind Mix) Featuring Elles