The long awaited union between two of the most intriguing and respected of musicians from the 1980s releases its first music in the summer of 2004. Paul Humphreys, the non-dancing part of the internationally successful electronic duo OMD, has formed a partnership with Claudia Brücken, the singing part of the deluxe German pop group Propaganda.
As Onetwo, Humphreys and Br³cken fulfill the promise shown during a shared American tour four years ago. Paul sang loved songs from his past, Claudia sang loved songs from her past - not just a couple of Propaganda songs, but also material from her time in the cherished Act and from her cult solo album for Island. Around the time of that tour, Paul began work with Claudia on some new Propaganda music, but whilst the Propaganda reunion fell apart, the pair continued working together on their own material. Something clicked into place. There was definite compatibility between their voices, their reluctance to cash in on their previous bands by joining in with any of the nostalgia tours that have come into vogue, and with how they wanted their music to move into the new century - they were both respectful of their past achievements, but didn't want to be shackled by them, or merely revisit them. The first sample of the music they have written together surfaces on a suite of songs written and recorded during 2003/4, Item.
Item contains five new pieces, music that draws on their respective experiences as writers, players, performers and collaborators. It also demonstrates their passion for the electronic song, their experimental spirit, the connection that there is between their voices and their melodic and rhythmic instincts, and the smart updating of their techno romantic sound.
Item features the discreetly majestic Sister, with Paul on lead vocals, and a song Claudia wrote with Depeche Mode's Martin Gore, the bittersweet and mesmerizing Cloud Nine. Martin also contributes guitar to the track. There is another approach to the song 'Sister' entitled 'One and Only' and two pieces, 'Element of Truth' and 'Signals', that reflect in a contemporary light the edgy, atmospheric side that was always present in their previous groups.
Other collaborators on Item include Bob Kraushaar, who previously worked with Claudia on the Propaganda material, and was part of the ZTT team that reimagined Propaganda's glossy gothic masterpiece 'Secret Wish' as 'Wishful Thinking'. His continuing work as a major part of the behind the scenes Pet Shop Boys technicians was a particularly important factor in Paul and Claudia choosing him to mix 'Sister' and 'Cloud Nine'.
'Element of Truth' and 'Signals' were co-written and co-programmed with Jon Russell, who had been recommended to them by the producer Pascal Gabriel.