List of Depeche Mode sample sources by album/Black Celebration

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Glossary
Terms used in this article

In audio production, sampling refers to the use of a portion (or sample) from a sound within another recording. As pioneers of the electronic music genre, Depeche Mode were among the most prolific acts to make use of sampling technology within a traditional pop music format. Among the many original samples recorded and utilized by Depeche Mode to enhance the atmosphere of their musical output are many that originated elsewhere, including brief passages of musical recordings by other artists, snippets of audio from television shows, radio broadcasts, films, environmental sounds, and more. Analysis of these sample sources and how they are manipulated is a popular topic of discussion amongst fans of the group.

Key
Official
The sample is confirmed to have been used in the specified song by a past/present member of Depeche Mode, an individual involved in its production, or band archivist Daniel "BRAT" Barassi.
Confirmed
The sample is independently confirmed to have been used in the specified song.
Likely
The sample is likely to have been used in the specified song but has not yet been confirmed.
Unconfirmed
The sample is not yet confirmed to have been used in the specified song.
Disproven
The sample is confirmed to not have been used in the specified song.
Unknown
It is unclear if the sample was used in the specified song.

Information

This page aims to document all verifiable sound sources for many of the musical parts used by Depeche Mode in the production of their 1986 album Black Celebration.

Due to the manipulated nature of the samples described in this article, there is unavoidable potential for error or sample misattribution. To ensure accuracy, this article strives to use verified quotes from band members and recording personnel with citations wherever possible, audio examples, and independent research voluntarily contributed by Depeche Mode and Recoil fans worldwide. This article provides an interesting document on this topic in a tabular format that is organized, well-researched, and reasonably accurate. Please bear in mind that due to the limited number of relevant quotes for each sample from band members or associates involved in producing the music described on this page, audio samples that lack official confirmation are not guaranteed to be accurate.

This article differentiates samples by origin: Self-made samples, which describe any material initially recorded by Depeche Mode or Recoil, and Sourced samples, which describe samples not initially recorded by either group. In addition to confirmed samples, this article also covers samples commonly misreported as having been used but directly refuted by a member or associate of Depeche Mode or Recoil.

If you notice an error or wish to contribute or request the removal of information contained within this article, please feel free to contact us.

Black Celebration (1986)

1. "Black Celebration"

"Black Celebration" - Depeche Mode
1986

Sample sources
Sample Source Status Notes Audio
Melodic elements Emulator II factory library disk #24: Clarinet & Bass Clarinet - Preset #1: "Clarinets
Confirmed
A sample derived from Emulator II factory library disk #24 "Clarinet & Bass Clarinet" is utilised for a melody during the third verse of "Black Celebration".

2. "Fly On The Windscreen"

"Fly On The Windscreen" - Depeche Mode
1986
Self-made samples
Sample Notes Audio
Vocal elements Alan Wilder confirms the origin of this vocal sample in a Q&A on Shunt, the official Recoil website: "'Over and done with' courtesy of Daniel Miller if memory serves correct."[1]

Sample sources
Sample Source Status Notes Audio
Vocal elements ABC World News Tonight - "Hiroshima: 40 Years Later" (aired 5-6 August 1985)
Confirmed
A series of audio samples utilised sporadically throughout the "Final" version of "Fly On The Windscreen" feature dialogue spoken by news anchor Peter Jennings as part of the 5-6 August 1985 ABC World News Tonight special report "Hiroshima: 40 Years Later". The sampled dialogue includes the following excerpts: "[...] their living hell.", "[...] by the atomic bomb, but they actually died because of an evil [...]".
Chorus brass melody Emulator II factory library disk #46: Assorted Brass - SAMPLE 7
Confirmed
A sample derived from Emulator II factory library disk #46 "Assorted Brass" is layered with one or more similar parts to form an ascending brass melody heard during the choruses of "Fly On The Windscreen".

3. "A Question Of Lust"

"A Question Of Lust" - Depeche Mode
1986
Self-made samples
Sample Notes
Percussive elements "A Question Of Lust" utilises a sampled percussive element throughout its verse sections. Notably, this sound is also used throughout "Christmas Island".

4. "Sometimes"

"Sometimes" - Depeche Mode
1986

Sample sources
Sample Source Status Notes
Vocal elements Louis Armstrong - "Sometimes I Feel Like A Motherless Child" - 1958
Confirmed
A choir vocal singing the word "sometimes" is sampled from the one minute nineteen second mark of Louis Armstrong's "Sometimes I Feel Like A Motherless Child" and processed with reverb for use in the intro of "Sometimes".[2]

5. "It Doesn't Matter Two"

"It Doesn't Matter Two" - Depeche Mode
1986
Self-made samples
Sample Notes Audio
Melodic elements A celeste-like percussive bell element is employed to mysterious and dramatic effect respectively during the later verses and on the final note of the song. This distinctive sound would also see use in several other Depeche Mode songs of the time period, including "Shake The Disease" and "But Not Tonight".

Sample sources
Sample Source Status Notes Audio
Synthesizer elements Synclavier II Timbre Directory Diskette #2 - 2263 Oboe Source
Confirmed
The dramatic melody heard during the middle eight section of "It Doesn't Matter Two" is partly comprised of an edit of the "Oboe Source" timbre of Synclavier II timbre directory diskette #2. Notably, this timbre is also featured throughout "Lie To Me" and "Blasphemous Rumours".

Click to display/hide audio example

Synthesizer, music box elements Synclavier II Timbre Directory Diskette #3 - 2383 Music Box
Confirmed
A synthesized music box arpeggio audible throughout "It Doesn't Matter Two" is comprised of the "Music Box" timbre of Synclavier II timbre directory diskette #3.
Choir elements Emulator II factory library disk #12: Voices - Preset #1: "Voices #1" - SAMPLE 1, SAMPLE 3, SAMPLE 4, SAMPLE 5, SAMPLE 6
Confirmed
Emulator II factory library disk #12 "Voices" is utilised for a repeating choral pattern audible throughout "It Doesn't Matter Two".
Marimba elements Emulator II factory library disk #34: Vibraphones & Marimba - Preset #7: "Marimbas"
Confirmed
Emulator II factory library disk #34 "Vibraphones & Marimba" is utilised for a rhythmic marimba pattern audible throughout the chorus, third verse, and outro sections of "It Doesn't Matter Two".
Flute elements Emulator II factory library disk #16: Bassoon & Flute - SAMPLE 11
Confirmed
A flute sample derived from Emulator II factory library disk #16 "Bassoon & Flute" is utilised for a hand-played arpeggio heard sporadically throughout "It Doesn't Matter Two".

6. "A Question Of Time"

"A Question Of Time" - Depeche Mode
1986
Self-made samples
Sample Notes Audio
Guitar elements A brief "plucked" guitar-like sound reminiscent of a guitar or processed piano sample is layered with a bass part to form the bassline. Notably, this sample is also used to play a four note sequence as a fill sporadically throughout "But Not Tonight".

Sample sources
Sample Source Status Notes Audio
Vocal elements The Chanters - "She Wants To Mambo" - 1954
Official
A manipulated feminine moan audible shortly after the second chorus section of "She Wants To Mambo" by The Chanters is audible during the chorus sections of "A Question Of Time". Martin Gore confirmed the use of the sample in the August 1986 issue of Electronics & Music Maker:

It's not that audible, though. It's a sample from a record called "She Wants to Mambo", an old doo-wop disc. At the end of each verse, the woman who sings sort of moans. We sampled this moan and played it up a few notes, which made it sound like a girl moaning. We used it on the chorus section of "A Question of Time".[3]

In addition to its use in the chorus sections, the sample is also used to form a distinct rhythm audible during the intro and throughout the song's outro.

Click to display/hide audio example

Note: In this example, a section of audio from The Chanters' "She Wants To Mambo" featuring a feminine moan is sampled, trimmed, and allocated across the keys of a keyboard to be played back as a melodic part, and is then compared to the center channel of the 2006 5.1 reissue of "A Question Of Time" containing the relevant part.
Drum elements, clap Yamaha Corporation - Yamaha RX-11 digital drum machine - 1984
Confirmed
A clap sample derived from the Yamaha RX-11 programmable drum machine is utilised throughout the chorus sections of "A Question Of Time".

7. "Stripped"

"Stripped" - Depeche Mode
1986
Self-made samples
Sample Notes Audio
Synthesizer elements The textured bass drone sound used throughout "Stripped" is achieved by running a bass sound through a Leslie cabinet.[4]
Percussive elements An exploding firework sound recorded on 5 November 1985 by Gareth Jones in the Westside studio car park[4] is used as a unique drum fill alternative throughout "Stripped". Daniel Miller describes the recording process of this sound in the 2006 Black Celebration remaster documentary:

It was rockets that we were doing, so we thought, if we angled them at a fairly low angle, we could set up a series of microphones and we would still be able to pick up the sound as it traveled along. If we straight up, we would have got just one sound, it would just have sort of disappeared, so we did that. We set up a sort of bottle at a very narrow angle and had, like, 5 microphones maybe, at, I don't know, 15 feet apart, something like that.

Other notable uses of this sample include "Breathing In Fumes", the final moments of "Pimpf" (where it is layered with a large choir stab and played several notes down from its root key) and various live performances of "Never Let Me Down Again".

Drum , tom drum elements A series of tom drums with a unique "roomy" quality occur throughout "Stripped". Alan Wilder describes the recording of this sound in a 1998 editorial on Shunt, the official Recoil project website: "[...] A hired drum kit was also set up in the large reception area of Westside and used to sample individual sounds, most notably the distinctive toms with their special ambience."[4]

Notably, these tom drum sounds are also used as fills throughout "Never Let Me Down Again" and "Breathing In Fumes".

Ambient elements The ignition of Dave Gahan's Porsche 911 was recorded and sampled for use in the opening moments of "Stripped", playing in time with the first bass note.[4]

Sample sources
Sample Source Status Notes Audio
Ambient elements Emulator I factory library disk #81: Motor Cycle Rev - Motor Cycle Idling (08-001-117M1)
Official
"Stripped" employs a sample of a motorbike engine idling played one octave down from its original pitch.[5] The sample is looped to form a "chunky" repeating rhythm that occurs throughout the song. The loop is also present on Martin Gore's demo recording. Wilder confirms the origin of the sample in a summary of the Emulator II lot listing on The Alan Wilder / Depeche Mode Collection auction site:

I remember when we first inserted the huge floppy disc into the [Emulator I] and listened to the ‘Motorbike Idling’ sound (which later became the mainstay rhythm behind the song "Stripped"), I was hooked.[6]

Notably, this sample is also used in "Breathing In Fumes" and the Music For The Masses tour arrangement of "Pipeline".

Click to display/hide audio example

Vocal elements Hildegard of Bingen, Gothic Voices, Emma Kirkby, Christopher Page - A Feather on the Breath of God - "Columba aspexit" - April 1985 (recorded 14 September 1981)
Confirmed
An operatic vocal derived from a September 1981 performance of "Columba aspexit", a piece of sacred vocal music written in the 12th century by German abbess Hildegard of Bingen, is utilised as a layer to form a synth string part audible throughout the outro of "Stripped". Featuring the British vocal ensemble Gothic Voices with soprano Emma Kirkby, the sampled performance is notably used throughout "Christmas Island". An edited copy of this sound would later see use as a re-purposed synth string part heard during the chorus sections of "Policy Of Truth".
Drum, snare drum elements New Order - "Love Vigilantes" - 1985
Confirmed
The first of four snare drum hits audible in the opening moments of "Love Vigilantes" by New Order is utilised throughout "Stripped". Similarly, this snare sound is used throughout "Breathing In Fumes", "Christmas Island", "Never Let Me Down Again", and "Nothing".
Piano verse melody Emulator II factory library disk #04: Grand Piano - Preset #1: "Piano #1", SAMPLE 2
Confirmed
The repeating melody heard throughout the verse sections is partly comprised of a manipulated piano sample derived from Emulator II factory library disk #04 "Grand Piano".

Click to display/hide audio example

8. "Here Is The House"

"Here Is The House" - Depeche Mode
1986
Self-made samples
Sample Notes
Guitar elements Martin Gore told Electronics and Music Magazine in 1986:

[...] Then there’s the mandolin-like part on "Here is the House". That was an acoustic guitar sampled twice — once on a down-stroke and once on an upstroke. We used them on alternate notes, so every other note was a downstroke and all the in-between notes were up-strokes. It sounded very funny — almost like a real player.[7]

Sample sources
Sample Source Status Notes
Drum elements, open hi-hat, closed hi-hat Yamaha RX-11 - Digital Rhythm Programmer - 1984
Confirmed
A series of hi-hat samples derived from the Yamaha RX-11 programmable drum machine are utilised throughout "Here Is The House".

9. "World Full Of Nothing"

"World Full Of Nothing" - Depeche Mode
1986

Sample sources
Sample Source Status Notes Audio
Piano elements Emulator II factory library disk #04: Grand Piano
Confirmed
A piano melody heard throughout "World Full Of Nothing" is performed using Emulator II factory library disk #04 "Grand Piano".

10. "Dressed In Black"

"Dressed In Black" is not yet known to contain samples from any identifiable sources.

11. "New Dress"

"New Dress" - Depeche Mode
1986

Sample sources
Sample Source Status Notes Audio
Synthesizer elements Kraftwerk - "Home Computer" ("Heimcomputer") - 1981
Confirmed
A brief section of an electronic drum sequence looping throughout the verse sections of "New Dress" is derived from Kraftwerk's "Home Computer". Notably, a separate selection of audio from "Home Computer" would later be used as a minor percussion element throughout "World In My Eyes".

B-sides, bonus tracks and remixes

"But Not Tonight"

"But Not Tonight" - Depeche Mode
1986
Self-made samples
Sample Notes Audio
Guitar elements Sampled upstroke and downstroke guitar elements originally sampled for use in "Here Is The House" are layered with another sampled part to produce the lead riff. Martin Gore told Electronics and Music Magazine in 1986:

[...] Then there’s the mandolin-like part on "Here is the House". That was an acoustic guitar sampled twice — once on a down-stroke and once on an upstroke. We used them on alternate notes, so every other note was a downstroke and all the in-between notes were upstrokes. It sounded very funny — almost like a real player.[7]

Melodic elements A vibraphone-like percussive bell element is employed during the latter half of each verse section, utilising a 1/4 delay to achieve a hypnotic "bouncing" effect. This distinctive sound would also see use in other Depeche Mode productions, including "Shake The Disease" and "It Doesn't Matter Two".
Guitar elements A brief "plucked" guitar-like sound plays a tight four note sequence with a fast release time as a fill sporadically throughout "But Not Tonight". Notable uses of this sample in other songs include the bassline of "A Question Of Time".

Sample sources
Sample Source Status Notes Audio
Choir elements Emulator II factory library disk #12: Voices - Preset #1: "Voices 1", SAMPLE 3
Confirmed
The reverberated choir sample utilised throughout "But Not Tonight" is derived from Emulator II factory library disk #12 "Voices".

Click to display/hide audio example

Drum elements, open hi-hat, closed hi-hat, snare drum Yamaha RX-11 - Digital Rhythm Programmer - 1984
Confirmed
A series of hi-hat and snare drum samples derived from the Yamaha RX-11 programmable drum machine are utilised throughout "But Not Tonight".[8]

"Christmas Island"

"Christmas Island" - Depeche Mode
1986

Sample sources
Sample Source Status Notes Audio
Orchestral elements Jac Holzman - Authentic Sound Effects Volume 1 - "Parade, Marching Band Passes" - 1960
Confirmed
A sample of a passing marching band utilised in the intro of through "Christmas Island" is derived from "Parade, Marching Band Passes", a recording by Jac Holzman originally featured on the 1960 sound effects LP Authentic Sound Effects Volume 1.[footnotes 1]

Click to display/hide audio example

Vocal elements Hildegard of Bingen, Gothic Voices, Emma Kirkby, Christopher Page - A Feather on the Breath of God - "Columba aspexit" - April 1985 (recorded 14 September 1981)
Confirmed
An operatic vocal derived from a September 1981 performance of "Columba aspexit", a piece of sacred vocal music written in the 12th century by German abbess Hildegard of Bingen, is featured throughout "Christmas Island". Featuring the British vocal ensemble Gothic Voices with soprano Emma Kirkby, the sampled performance is layered with a sample derived from Depeche Mode's "Master And Servant" to form a vocal stab audible throughout "Christmas Island". Notably, this sound is used as a layer for the synth strings in the outro of "Stripped", which is re-purposed as a synth string part heard during the chorus sections of "Policy Of Truth".

Click to display/hide audio example

Drum elements, snare drum New Order - "Love Vigilantes" - 1985
Confirmed
The first of four snare drum hits audible in the opening moments of "Love Vigilantes" by New Order is utilised throughout "Christmas Island". Similarly, this snare sound is used throughout "Stripped", "Breathing In Fumes", "Never Let Me Down Again", and "Nothing".

"Breathing In Fumes"

"Breathing In Fumes" - Depeche Mode
1986

Sample sources
Sample Source Status Notes
Drum elements, snare drum New Order - "Love Vigilantes" - 1985
Confirmed
The first of four snare drum hits audible in the opening moments of "Love Vigilantes" by New Order is utilised throughout "Breathing In Fumes". Similarly, this snare sound is used throughout "Stripped", "Christmas Island", "Never Let Me Down Again", and "Nothing".

"Fly On The Windscreen (Death Mix)"

"Fly On The Windscreen" (Death Mix) - Depeche Mode
1986

Sample sources
Sample Source Status Notes Audio
Vocal elements ABC World News Tonight - "Hiroshima: 40 Years Later" (aired 5-6 August 1985)
Confirmed
A series of audio samples utilised sporadically throughout the "Death Mix" of "Fly On The Windscreen" feature dialogue spoken by news anchor Peter Jennings and CBS News correspondent Richard Threlkeld as part of the 5-6 August 1985 ABC World News Tonight special report "Hiroshima: 40 Years Later". Excerpts derived from Jennings include: "[...] their living hell"; "[...] by the atomic bomb, but they actually died because of an evil [...]". Excerpts derived from Threlkeld include: "This is what the Americans who dropped the bomb saw," "[...] help the dying [...]", "[...] a fireball," "[...] hot enough to melt iron."
Vocal elements Richard Pryor - Unidentified film
Unknown

"A Question Of Time (Extended Remix)"

"A Question Of Time (Extended Remix)" - Depeche Mode
1986
Self-made samples
Sample Notes Audio
Guitar elements A brief "plucked" guitar-like sound reminiscent of a guitar or processed piano sample is layered with a bass part to form the bassline. Notably, this sample is also used to play a four note sequence as a fill sporadically throughout "But Not Tonight".

Sample sources
Sample Source Status Notes Audio
Vocal elements The Chanters - "She Wants To Mambo" - 1954
Official
A feminine "moan" vocal following the second chorus of "She Wants To Mambo" is sampled and played in a descending two note passage during the chorus sections of "A Question Of Time".[9]
Drum elements, clap Yamaha Corporation - Yamaha RX-11 digital drum machine - 1984
Confirmed
A clap sample derived from the Yamaha RX-11 programmable drum machine is utilised throughout the "Extended" remix of "A Question Of Time".
Drum elements, crash cymbal Linn Electronics - Linn 9000 digital drum machine - 1984
Confirmed
A crash cymbal derived from the Linn 9000 digital drum machine is utilised sporadically throughout the "Extended" remix of "A Question Of Time".


References

Notes

  1. The same marching band recording would later be featured under the title "Parade" on the 1964 compilation 133 Authentic Sound Effects by Jac Holzman.