Composition Of Sound demo tape (lost songs of "Depeche Mode"; 1980)


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Compositon Of Sounds' First Demo Tape
Image of one of Composition Of Sounds' demo tape copies found in 2006
Image of one of Composition Of Sounds' demo tape copies found in 2006
Status Partially Found

Composition Of Sound was a band that operated from late 1979 till September 24th 1980, and then continued under the name 'Depeche Mode' after Vince Clarke first created the band with Andy Fletcher and then Martin Gore. Around April or May 1980 the group recorded the demo tape in Lower Whopping Conker Company on Victoria Road in Romford, Essex, London before their first gig on May 30th 1980. Four tracks were recorded on Composition Of Sound's first demo tape. Vince Clarke sings lead vocals, as Dave Gahan had not joined the band yet. The tape contains:

All this songs were sung and written by Vince Clarke (except Television Set, which is written by Jason Knott, Vince's friend) with Martin Gore on the synth and Andy Fletcher on the bass guitar. After Vince Clarke first created the band, he asked Dave Gahan to join in spring 1980 and on June 14th 1980 he had his first concert with the band.

Some of the songs were played on some dates and later replaced with other songs, Television Set was performed from 1980 to 1982 during their "See You Tour", after Vince Clarke's departure in December 1981, and Photographic has been played since 1980 to 2010.

During summer 1980, another demo tape with Dave Gahan on vocals. It was recorded at the Rockstar Studios which was on Tottenham Court Road in London. the tape contains 3 tracks:

  • 1. Ice Machine
  • 2. Radio News
  • 3. Photographic

All the songs were written by Vince Clarke. Radio News was never officially released but performed on some dates in 1980, while Ice Machine was released as a B-Side of their first single "Dreaming of Me" in February 1981 and Photographic was later released into the Some Bizarre album compilation in January 1981 and later re-recorded for their first album "Speak & Spell" in October of the same year.

Television Set was never officially released due to the fact that it was not written by Vince Clarke or Martin Gore, but can be heard on many bootlegs as live recordings.

The demo tapes were considered lost. Since the band became more popular, many copies were made at the Tape Copying Services in Essex, London by the band as personal references or to be shown for record companies.

Finally On July 13, 2006 an user from the depmod forum called "tobo27" created a topic about the first demo tape, claiming that one of the engineers of the studio had a copy of the tape:

I'm currently reading a biography of depeche mode and it talks about the 1st composition of sound demo that was recorded at the lower wapping conker company in barking. It says that only a few tapes were made and none of the bandmembers now have it. Has this recording ever got out? The reason i ask is - I've got it. I recorded at the same studio a little while later(after it had moved to romford) and mentioned to the engineer, (a guy called Jerry Chapman i think) that i was into depeche mode. He told me that he had done their first demo before they changed name and did me a cassette copy (charged me a fiver for it!). Just wondered what the rarity value is. I know that photographic and television set are on it plus one or two other tracks. Any info would be appreciated.

One minute audio snippets of each track were posted after several posts of discussion, and tobo27 also said:

When the guy at the studio asked if i wanted a copy, i gave him a tape out of my car and he copied it on to that. I had to pick it up a couple of days later. Still charged me a fiver for it though!!

Interesting fact is that the lower wapping studio burnt down after it moved to romford so the original master tape probably got destroyed then.

tobo27's final post in the thread was on October 2, 2006 and is quoted below. He has not visited the depmod.com forums since:

I have had loads of messages asking to buy copies of the demo but surely there must be an issue with copyright etc? I'm not happy about it hitting ebay and someone making a fortune out of it which is what would happen if I put the full versions of the tracks online somewhere. Seems the best option is to just give you guys a taster and leave it at that. Sorry.

As an aside, i have now passed it on to Andy Fletcher and as soon as i get comments i will let you all know - i know there are some of you who doubt its authenticity!!

In early 2011 some snippets from the second tape were posted in Soundcloud by the user "depechedemotape" with a bad audio quality and in mono channels, but after some months later they were deleted. Later in that year two copies of the second tape were sold for a few thousand GBP, and in 2012 the full demo tape was leaked in mono and with many audio improvements.

this second demo tape can be downloaded here (needs UTorrent).

Status

After the user "tobo27" did his final post into the forum, the fans lost the interest about this tape and very little information is known about the tape today. The tape is partially lost and the four tracks still remain as snippets, nobody is known to have another copy of the tape and there's not another source to get the full audio of the tape and the master tape is known to be destroyed due the Lower Whopping Conker Company burnt down.

Supposedly the name of the last track is known as "Sunday Morning" a track played during the first dates of the 1980 Tour, however the track still unknown due many songs in that year were written and played.

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