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A Million Different Moments - CD 2004
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Sublimation
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REVIEWS

A MILLION DIFFERENT MOMENTS

Altercation Magazine
While only a sophomore album, "A Million Different Moments" is more mature than some bands can hope for in a lifetime. Null Device run the gamut on this disc, with worldly styles that are diverse and yet intertwined by a sensitive cohesion that propels the band past your everyday synthpop group. They aren¹t afraid of guitars and certainly aren¹t allergic to exploration. If you¹re a fan of the genre and crave something that offers more than you¹re used to, look no further.--Daryl Litts,
Altercation Magazine

Synthpop.net
This is the second Null Device album, following 2002's "Sublimation". In the band's own words, they set out to really diversify their sound in this album, seeing the previous album as their "pure" synthpop album, and wanting to stretch themselves for this second album. I think the band was highly successful in this goal, as the sounds of guitars, bass guitars, violins, Duduk, Dumbek, and strings can clearly be heard in several songs. There's a Middle Eastern Influence in a lot of the sound this time out, not in the manner of KAJ (where they used synths to produce that sound), but this time with the native instruments. It's a attention-grabbing feature of the music, that's for sure.

The two songs I had heard previously on the "Footfalls" EP, "Easier" and "Walk In London", show a lot more polish and poise here on the album than on the EP, which was a relief to me. Especially "Walk In London", I really like this version of the song as compared to the remix on the EP.

The newer songs are really impressive, I particularly enjoyed "Electrified", with it's sharp hook and punchy percussion line. "Sevgilim" is a excellent track, though it's mostly non-English lyrics might turn off some listeners, I really liked the contrast of the sung non-English parts with the spoken English parts. "Travelogue" is another excellent track, lots of vivid word pictures in this track. The Versiyon Turk of "Travelogue" is a (mostly) acoustic version, with a wide variety of less-known cultural instruments carrying the melody of the track.

An album such as this isn't necessarily one that you will immediately fall in love with. Probably, you'll hear it, find it intriguing, but go on to listen to something else.. only to find you can't drive the ideas and melodies of the cd out of your mind, and feel driven to listen to again... and again, and again. It's a really wonderful CD, and a excellent follow-up to "Sublimation". Highly Recommended!!! --Jason Baker, Synthpop.net

Hard Wired
Amongst the current batch of US bands, Null Device, comprising of Erics Oehler & Goedken are certainly one of a kind as their sound takes on board a wide range of styles & influences which are incorporating into an easily accessable pop sound.

Although usually labelled as synthpop this only begins to scratch the surface of what this duo are about & has led to them gaining a great deal of respect even from those who don't much like more commercial musics with the duo easily able to take their music away from the obviously synthetic realms with the inclusion of violin adding to the ominous mood of the opening "Destinies & Destinations" [sic], the wa-wa guitar that combines with old-skool rhythms to add a touch of funk to "Easier" & the authentic middle eastern effects Orkestra Evdeyim bring to "Travelogue" (& which are put to especially good use on the 'Versiyon Turk' mix) being three such examples of this 'anything goes' approach. These ethnic touches make further appearances during "The Hourglass" & "Sevgilim" where they mix with a slightly darker feel. As such, this band could have a very wide appeal, from those who appreciate the duo's versatility right through to the average 30-something listener looking for something a little different or thought-provoking & such people would, I'm sure, appreciate the lighter pop of "Walking In London" while the dancey rhythms of "Someone Else" (which also boasts an impressively dynamic opening) or the trance-like sequencing of "Prevailing Winds" where the gritty lead guitar adds to the show of strength both show the duo spreading their wings to encompass an even wider range of modern musics.

This all leads to the closing instrumental ballad "Speechless" which casts it's spell through a heartwarming combo of piano & violin that even the later rhythmic colouring does nothing to dilute. The haunting, almost mournful feel that has already taken hold is then embellished upon in a masterful manner to make for a most impressive & heart-engaging ending. Not a band for those who prefer their music to be easily pigeonholed Null Device prove time & again that pop music can be progressive, too. .-- Carl Jenkinson, Hard Wired

Chain D.L.K.
"Synth-pop at its best is what Null Device offer us! As some of you might now I am not a great lover of synth-pop (Maurizio is really the man on the team that handles the genre), but Null Device have a really original way to portray their style and port their message. The key of their sound is integration. Their synthetic music for synthetic people intertwines with influences of middle eastern music, electronica, rock and breakbeats. Their instrumentation includes a healthy dose of electronic devices coupled with percussions and traditional instruments such as classical strings, rai instruments, flutes etc. Hence, this will be the cup of tea of all those people who are entertained by a nice blend of Depoche Mode, New Order, Delirium, Taha, Khaled, Faudel, Peter Gabriel, Mesh, Ganymede, Brave New World, Gary Flanagan, Muslimgauze, Gary Numan etc... After their remix for Distorted Realty's record on Nilaihah and their spot on the famous Cohaagen "Living On Video" synth-pop-only DVD, this was the natural progression for Null Device. Welcome to the world of multi-cultural cross-boundry multi-temporal moments!" [4 out of 5] --Marc 'the MEMORY Man' Urselli-Schaerer,
Chain D.L.K.

The City Morgue
"A Million Different Moments" is an apt title for this disc, for it reflects the many intriguing musical facets that this Wisconsin duo explore. The opening piece, "Destinies & Symmetries" has intense originality. Mingling Middle Eastern influences with dour electronic beats, it flows amazingly well with Eric Oehler's soulful voice as he contemplates life's meaning. The Arabian sultriness is also found within "Sevgilim", which has an almost Dead Can Dance aura present, and contains some terrific sampled hand drumming. Beyond the world music aspects, there is subtle moody dance in the vein of later Depeche Mode. "Electrified" combines subtle breaks with a chorus that is fishhook catchy. The quirky "Easier", which mixes a sexy funk guitar line like icing on a synthpop cake. Lastly, there's a good deal of beatific ballads to be found within - some bearing quite a Wolfsheim feel. "Travelogue", a song where Oehler recounts a world's journey to find predestined love, is simply gorgeous. For those looking for a new angle within the somewhat confined subgenre of synthpop, "A Million Different Moments" is certainly a pleasant surprise, and is one that grows better with each listen. -- Vladimir McNeally, The City Morgue

DJ Eurotic
"A Million Different Moments, the second disc from the acclaimed electronic duo Null Device, sets an even higher musical standard than its predecessor, 2002's critically-lauded Sublimation. Deftly fusing elements of classic synthpop with influences ranging from Middle Eastern instrumentation to classical, trip-hop, and drum n' bass, Null Device ventures confidently into unknown territories to produce great reward sonically, vocally, and lyrically.

Fans of such acts as Delirium, Iris, Portishead, and GusGus will no doubt be entranced by Eric Oehler and Eric Goedken's infectious songs of longing and heartache. A Million Different Moments both elevates and expands the world of synthpop, leaving doubters of the genre's ability to expand in the dust and creating a landmark disc of incredible quality and depth.

Whether heard in a dark smoky club or in a warm bedroom on a chilly morning, A Million Different Moments continues Null Device's breakneck evolution, retaining their distinctive sound while pushing it to bold and exciting new boundaries." - DJ Eurotic, The Inferno

A Different Drum
" I really loved Null Device's first album, and consider them one of the truly talented acts in the synthpop scene, creating a style that really is their own. This new album continues to build on that perception, as the first song starts right off with a rolling Indian / Middle-eastern flavor, adding that synthpop beat for a really unique and instantly loveable song. The variety and invention on the album never lets up. Track 2 brings in a funky beat and groovy synth-guitar riff, track 3 builds a pulsing beat and catchy pop vocal melody, and the adventure goes on as another ethnic instrument chimes in the next song. It's just one of those bands that keeps you guessing, while pulling off each new direction with seeming ease and polish. If you just want the oontz! oontz! oontz! then get the new Icon of Coil, but if you want a sonic surprise, check this one out." - Todd Durrant, A Different Drum

DJ Kantrip
"Got the latest Null Device CD in the mail the other day from Nilaihah Records. For the record, over the past 2 weeks I've been saturated with EBM, Synthpop, and anything electro that's come out lately. I've been listening to Lycia on drives to work as a respite from the oontz. BUT I am happy to say that the new Null Device is NOT your typical EBM and has pulled me outta that lil' hole.

'A Million Different Moments' opens with a nice middle eastern sound that evolves into a mellow dancebeat on "Destinies and Symmetries." Unlike other bands I've heard of late, Null Device doesn't just drop the middle eastern influence at the beginning of the song. The drums and sitars combine with violins and work their way around the beat to form a very organic dance sound. "Travelogue" and "Sevgilim" follow a similar sound but vary b/w a more electro or more organic sound.

"Electrified" and "Walking in London" take a bit more of a "standard" EBM approach, but I'm more apt to say they are invoking a very New Order "Republic" sound on these tracks. Very dancy but not too overly synthy. Again its a Mellow Dance beat. Nothing that will make you want to go and exhaust yourself on the floor, but just have a small work out.

The two Eric's did a fantastic job on the lyrics and vocals for "A Million Different Moments.' Again I am reminded of New Order when I hear them sing. The words not only invoke feelings of lost loves or loves soon to be found, but also put the listener in a physical place. "Travelogue" is an EXCELLENT example of this. "By the time the moon has set in Cairo, I'll be walking in Berlin..."

To be honest, a lot of Synthpop lyrics can be broken down to "I Love you. Where are you?" or "I Loved you. You destroyed me.", but in a rather nebulous manner. No reall place or time associated with these words. 'A Million Different Moments' does a good job of painting a place and time to go along with these heartfelt words or wishes.

If you want a nice organic synthpop or even dance music that you can also slide into the CD player and just sit and read by, I suggest going and buying 'A Million Different Moments.'" -DJ Kantrip

The Isthmus
"Synth-pop at its best is what Null Device offer us! As some of you might now I am not a great lover of synth-pop (Maurizio is really the man on the team that handles the genre), but Null Device have a really original way to portray their style and port their message. The key of their sound is integration. Their synthetic music for synthetic people intertwines with influences of middle eastern music, electronica, rock and breakbeats. Their instrumentation includes a healthy dose of electronic devices coupled with percussions and traditional instruments such as classical strings, rai instruments, flutes etc. Hence, this will be the cup of tea of all those people who are entertained by a nice blend of Depoche Mode, New Order, Delirium, Taha, Khaled, Faudel, Peter Gabriel, Mesh, Ganymede, Brave New World, Gary Flanagan, Muslimgauze, Gary Numan etc... After their remix for Distorted Realty's record on Nilaihah and their spot on the famous Cohaagen "Living On Video" synth-pop-only DVD, this was the natural progression for Null Device. Welcome to the world of multi-cultural cross-boundry multi-temporal moments! [4 out of 5] --review by Al Ritchie of The Isthmus Daily News

Re>gen Magazine
Since I am not an avid synthpop listener, I am not exactly a connoisseur of the sound, but I do know what sounds good when I hear it. Null Device has a decent sound that is musically interesting and vocally not so whiny-squealy-sugary-sweet like so many bands that do not even fall into the category of synthpop, they are lumped in a category that I like to call shit-pop. Well have no fear as this review is not of a shit-pop band, so all synthpop buffs read on as you are going to hear about an album that you need to get. "A Million Different Moments" released on Nilaihah Records is 12 tracks of harmony and catchy music. All the way through, this album hooks you into its sound. The sound is one of sadness and loss. What I find to be rather ironic about synthpop music in general (at least good synthpop anyhow) is the dichotomy of the subject matter and the delivery method. What I mean by that is a synthpop band can explain about a lost love or something similar in the realm of emotional despair, but the music is more of an upbeat nature, not sad and brooding as human nature would normally dictate that it be. In essence, they take a dark subject matter and they musically put it in a happy light. At least that is the meaning that I take away from bands such as Null Device and others of the same guild. All right now that I am done with my analytical moment, let me tell you more about this album. The tracks all support a rather synthesizer-heavy structure with the drums playing secondary in each track, as is common and customary with synthpop music. While maintaining that structure, the band diversifies its sound some with the use of stringed instruments most importantly live guitar and violin, giving the music a distinct fresh sound. Highlights of the album are the eastern sound of "Travelogue (versiyon turk)," the guitar-sprinkled "Prevailing Winds," the slower-paced bass guitar-backed "Unknowingly" and the lyrically addictive "Easier." All in all this album is nowhere near shit-pop and it is a good paced album full of ingenuity within the genre and replayable tracks that will have you looking for more from this great synthpop act. -Pitchfork,
Re>gen Magazine

Wrapped in Wire
Null Device is the electro pop project of Eric Oehler and Eric Goedken. I will say up front that they are talented musicians, and make quality music. However, it's not music that I find appealing. Basically, they make light and bright wholesome mid to slow tempo electro pop tunes that contain organic instruments such as guitar and violin as well. Overall the music sounds rather commercial and could easily be played on pop radio stations. Everything here has a somewhat upbeat and funky vibe to it. The vocals are soft and high-pitched. The singer sings well with good range, but has too much of a tame voice in my opinion. The rather cheesy lyrics in a lot of the songs don't help, either. The majority of this CD sounds quite mellow. There's a couple of slightly more energetic songs as well, but they're not very exciting. The bottom line is that Null Device makes feel good commercial electro pop music. It lacks the dark edge, club appeal and deep emotional vocals of underground synth-pop music.-Darklight, Wrapped in Wire

Gothic Beauty Magazine
Future pop defines Null Device better than most bands which fall into that subgenre of electronic music. A Million Different Moments is a smarter and more world-concious electronic-dance album that mixes Indian bhangra-beats, Middle Eastern percussion and ululations, and Far Eastern phrases with programmed fractals of synthetic pop. It can really get you moving, but its also rewarding just to sit and listen, while electric guitars, piano, violins, and traditional percussion deepen and change the mood. The lyrics are easy on the ear, expressing visionary journeys and emotional transformations, connecting the universal energy of the music to the essential singularity of the human heart. Null Device has set the standard for the future of synthpop, drawing its influences from around the globe and rising to a higher level of inclusion, diversity and intelligence. Released by the innovative electronic label, www.nilaihah.com.
5/5 stars --review by Carolee Harrison -
Gothic Beauty Magazine

Industrial Nation
I must admit, Null Device caught me a little off-guard with this review. Unfamiliar with their previous work, the name Null Device sounds to me like some sort of crunchy, guitar-fused industrial project, or perhaps a thrashing, club stomping German electro band. Much to my surprise, Null Device sounds most like they stepped off a time machine from 1988, late in the heyday of synthpop yet still near the peak of the likes of Depeche Mode and Erasure. Given that there are so many synthpop (or future pop... whatever) bands out there desperately trying to recreate the 80's sound, I was impressed with Null Device's usage of traditional ethnic musical forms laced throughtout A Million Different Moments. Many of the tracks have a distinct Asian or Middle Eastern flavor, just enough to give the album a kick and yet not enough to go over the top and make it feel forced and pompous. Equally impressive is the band's lyrical talents and vocal rhythms. Each song flows well within its own individual framework. Considering the many future pop songs that angle for heart-felt but come off as melodramatic high school poetry, it's pleasant to see someone who has a notion of how to use a pen. Ultimately, Null Device is a good thing for the future pop genre, the Crystal Light of musical movements. If more bands out there learned from them, then future pop might actually one day be listenable. Keep hope alive.
Ryan Hill - Industrial Nation

corrode.org
Madison, WI has a disproportionate amount of electronic artists to it's population, some big like national and int'l supastars Stromkern, and some smaller and up and coming like Stochastic Theory (www.stochastictheory.com) and State 4. Luckily, or should I say FINALLY, one of our near-legendary "up and comers" has gotten their due. That band is NULL DEVICE(www.nulldevice.com). After years of local and sporadic national support (San Francisco's been good to them, as well), Ohio's NILAIHAH RECORDS(www.nilaihah.com), home of The Azoic and Fiction 8, was smart enough to grab this duo, known for their progressive synthpop, passionate vocals and intelligent lyrics. Eric Oehler and Eric Goedken were previously heralded in such publications as Belgium's SIDE-LINE Magazine, and now American audiences can experience the new sounds of ND in full force.

Null Device's influences on 'Sublimation' are extensive, and hardly limited to the synth genre. While most synth sounds like the recycled dance music of the 80's gay club scene(i.e. a bunch of shitty Erasure ripoffs) with equally lame vox, ND's songs of love, loneliness, desolation and desperation strive and evoke strains of Depeche Mode and Pet Shop Boys, while at the same time maintaining a singular vision separating ND from such groups. This is no knock-off. This is no wannabe. This is New Synth. This is What We've Been Waiting For.

Operating stylistically way past current peers, Null Device employs the use of traditional synth lines with modern two-step, drum n' bass, trip-hop, classical and electro. Songs such as opener "Footfalls" follow current dancefloor trends with rich, sultry beats and powerful sing-along lyrics, then moves quickly to "Call of the Rose," with it's dn'b/two-step stagger rhythms. The chill "How" and dancefloor favorite "Blindsighted" follow, moving onto personal favorite "The Sad Truth," proving lyrically that Null Device can be as effective with relative lyrical simplicity, and feels reminiscent of the classic 'Black Celebration'-era Depeche Mode. The highly requested and gorgeous "Word & Deed" and heartbreaking "If Only For A While" presents the deep trauma of isolation, and the disc finishes off with a surprisingly lush and fun synth-adaptation of The Smiths "There Is A Light That Never Goes Out" Then we have the two remixes, one by ND themselves and one by cohort J Ned Kirby of Stromkern, whose "Western Skies" mix of "Footfalls" seems to mix their own hit "Night Riders" with ND's already catchy track, making for a satisfying darker dance mix.

ND isn't always as easy (or grating) to listen to as the manfactured EBM/Synth crap out there these days. This is intelligent music, people. They don't use presets, and they aren't a 4-on-the-floor machine. Every song isn't a dance classic and shouldn't be, but, like the more accessible experimental fare of Radiohead, Bjork or Tool, musically powerful tracks can be appreciated without some throbbing 4-4 beat or a massive gee-tar hook. You'll hear sounds and rhythms from Null Device that make you go "Hey, that's cool. I don't think I've heard that yet," opposed from "Shit, there's -Insert Famous Synth Weenie Here- Swipe #3126" Null Device's 'Sublimation' is a much needed re-evaluation of the genre, infusing it with a breath of new life and seamlessly combining a zillion styles into a cohesive whole.Buy it. Worship the fucking thing. Have babies to it. They may end up being moody babies, yes, but at least you can brag that you were listening to something GOOD instead of the latest Nelly disc.

The boys of Null Device should be proud, as they've done something most synth acts can't - they've made synth interesting again. Kudos to Nilaihah for recognizing the talent, and congratulations to those brave souls intelligent enough to buy the disc and see what they've been missing for entirely too long. --review by Matt Fanale of corrode.org

Dark Realms
With all the VNV clones floating about, it was rather unnerving to discover a synthpop CD that didn't adhere to the current trend and expected styles. Clearly, "Sublimation" is not the type of CD you listen to only once to decide if you like it. In fact, it would serve you well to hear it on the headset to take in all the nuances that the stereo sometimes seems to miss in a wide open space. Not all the tracks are destined for the dance floor, so the "oontz" junkies may be quick to dismiss it out of hand undeservedly.
"Sublimation" has some dance-floor friendly tracks but seems to have also been crafted for those who may want less dazzling machine-created special effects and more emphasis on talent, lyrics and good harmony. I will even go on a limb to state that they are the modern day Simon & Garfunkle in their delivery and writing. 50% of the tracks are destined for the dance floor such as "I Probably Know You," "Blindsighted,""The Sad Truth," "Word and Deed," "Fly Skyward," "How- "There Is A Light." The other tracks are sculpted with the precision of some of the more stellar ethereal synth artist's and are a great respite for the music fan who doesn't want a CD that will lose it's vibrancy after the dance beat has worn out its flavor of the month. Null Device delivers a delightful change in the electronic market that has saturated the world with cookie cutter sounds and lyrics. Do seek out this CD if you tend to be more introspective and literary than one who clings to the fad of the week. -- review by Mike Ventarola of
Dark Realms

Gothic Beauty Magazine
Ahhhh. At last! A fresh breath of synthetic air! Null Device just restored my sometimes jaded outlook on modern electronic synth-pop music with Nilaihah's recent release, Sublimation. Eric Oehler and Eric Goedken have created asymmetry of the melodic, techno, and synth, presenting it like oxygen to the synth-deprived. Sublimation showcases clearly defined lyrics you can actually sing along to. My favorite tracks include the much-too-brief whispers of "Neverland" (poetry in motion!); "Sacre Coeur" (with velvety chants); and the static-riddled "Stromkern Western Skies Mix" of "Footfalls". Also included in Sublimation, you'll find a cover of The Smiths, "There Is A Light That Never Goes Out" (more upbeat than the original). New to Nilaihah Records, Null Device maintains a commitment to providing audio acoustics characteristic of music reverberating through submerged caverns where mournful bass-beats pour out despondently through 14 eclectic dance tracks. 4.5/5 stars --review by Sonya Brown -
Gothic Beauty Magazine

The Isthmus
Machine Dreams - Local electronic group Null Device goes national Outsiders might think Madison has some thriving electronic music scene or something. Well...thriving? No. Fertile? It seems so. Following in the footsteps of Oneiroid Psychosis and Stromkern, Null Device is the latest locally bred synth/industrial artists to produce a nationally released CD in the last few years. Sublimation, issued by the Ohio-based Nilaihah label, is a rich collage of sinewy electro-melodies, coolly emotional vocals and tastefully detailed production. For Eric Oehler, the principal behind Null Device, the album is the culmination of many years spent learning the arts of songwriting and computer-based recording. He can pinpoint specific artistic decisions that keyed his transition from amateur keyboard-noodler to legitimate recording artist. "A big step", he says, "was when I decided to do something more interesting vocally than my initial concept of 'angry distorted industrial vocals.' Once I decided to actually sing, everything suddenly had a better flow. The lyrics made mroe sense, the songs had more emotional resonance, and I felt I could start thinking of this as something more than just a spare-bedroom hobby." The other big decision he made was to install his friend Eric Goedken as an official second member of Null Device, albeit a member with an unorthodox role. Oehler, you see, remains the band's sole musician (in the traditional sense of the word, that is), performing all vocal and instrumental duties. Goedken, besides being the primary lyricist, acts mainly in a conceptual capacity, helping to steer Oehler's musical ideas in appropriate directions. Goedken lives in Berkeley, CA, so the two collaborate by trading mp3 files via e-mail. This unusual partnership seems to work well for them. "By not being encumbered with the technological details of recording, [Goedken] does an excellent job of keeping me from wandering off into an obscure studio-geeky direction" says Oehler. "Just because I found it interesting to program a particular sound doesn't mean that sound's going to improve the song." Both Erics are knowledgeable about electronic and alternative music of diverse origin, while Oehler also credits his training as a classical violinist in shaping his approach. "We get our influences from all over," he says. "I listen to all sorts of things, from Turkish pop music to glitch techno, and spend a lot of time trying to figure out what ideas I can learn from the various genres." Sublimation attests to this strategy. Diverse flavors abound, from the Gregorian chant-like feel of "Sacre Coeur" to the Peter Hook-like bass lines of "Call of the Rose;" from the minimalist IDM of the Bjork-inspired "How" to the organic violin-guitar textures on "If Only for a While." The album also features Null Device's bouncy cover of the Smiths' "There is a Light That Never Goes Out", already a favorite in dance clubs, as well as a remix of "Footfalls" by Stromkern's Ned Kirby. The trick, in a field as narrowly defined as synthpop, is to establish a distinctive identity -- a trick the Erics pull off admirably. "We've tried diligently as a band to keep from falling into the rut of 'just another Depeche Mode clone," says Oehler. Goedken follows: "We try to mean and feel what we are singing. The lyrics all come from something I believe in or am part of in some way. They are also recognizeable as Null Device in the sense that Eric's voice cuts through all the tracks as a sincere expression of himself." --review by Al Ritchie of The Isthmus Daily News

Legends Magazine
This hugger-mugger trend of techno, or synth pop, circulating dance clubs and turn tables today have all been a similar brand of sound in our last decade. Being eccentric flavor from your authentic computer geek to the wannabe that misses the mark somewhere along the way making the product more a clone than an original thought process. Null Device may have at one time been those wannabe's, but have now expanded their equipment list (listed as 43 pieces) and have effectively crossed the border into the techno geek heavens. The correct measure is finding Sublimation reminisces inside the epoch of New Order, Morrissey and Depeche Mode days. You'll get a lucid description from their sound of where the roots lay in this genre, while still appreciating the genre's evolution into the synth pop millennium.

Eric Oethler and Eric Goedken are the two men responsible for melding the creative style found in Null Device. Since meeting on the University of Wisconsin campus in 1992 and finding out that they both enjoyed dabbling in the idea of a New Order "side project," they have stayed faithful to their appreciation of the struggle and now both find themselves in the midst of record deals. Fans can take notice from what their web site described as going from "some horrible-bad techno" at times (1994), to a full hour and fifteen minutes worth of radio quality sound in 2002. Even snagging a like band to tour with in 2003 called Assemblage 23, who is Depeche Mode friendly in sound however influenced at first by punk rock.

Oehler's vocals are subdued, polished and oddly projected at once. The first track, Footfalls, clearly give an idea of what the disc is going to sound like as well as insight in the nature of the lyrics. Most of the songs are written from the darker side of emotion (Goedken), however not effectively dark until incorporated into the mix of technology and vocals. The fifth track, Blindsighted, is a club anthem with its disco style beats and its lyrics giving the eerie sense of speaking to a crowded room full of dancers. Sacre` Coeur builds on a religious backing chorus similar to Catholicism on Sunday morning mass, but in techno form. Heavy synths are used in Word and Deed; used like wallpaper to create texture for the stringed instruments and found equally as well in the Morrissey tune There Is A Light which Null Device reworks pretty well to suit their style.

Staying within this genre's realm, they have created a nice selection of tunes here. I liked learning about how far the two men had come, rather the struggle factor that played in these two lives to get their music heard. They seem quite humble from their modest website, not being pretentious with their sound. It's just two guys making a full body sound. This took a lot of hard work on their part and their disc reeks of this effort. --review by May Wiseman of Legends Magazine

Moving Hands Magazine
The debut album from the American synth-pop duo Null Device is to my surprise pretty exciting to listen to, but I have to admit; it took a while for me to understand that fact. When I first started to listen to the album I found it plain and rather boring. It felt like nothing happened and I imagined myself falling asleep if I would have attended one of their live shows. Sure, I heard some pretty good melodies, and the singer, Eric Oehler has an outstanding voice, but that was pretty much it.

When I put the CD in a couple of days later was going to give the band a second chance, the feeling I got was completely different. A couple of minutes into the first track, "Footfalls" I got that where-have-I-heard-this-great-track-before feeling. Of course the only time prior to this one was the first time I heard it. I guess the song had placed itself somewhere way back in my rather complex mind, just to be discovered in the future. And I actually think the song is great! It's not the best one on the album, but it's a great track to open with. The kind of music that hit the listeners ears is extremely well produced synth-pop in the vein of Depeche Mode and Pet Shop Boys. Sometimes during the album I get the feeling that this is too well produced and at times it feels too clinical. I want the feeling I got when I first heard Depeche's "Ultra" album, where the music felt more alive...

There are a lot of tracks that have great hit potential I think, like the excellent pop tune "The Sad Truth" and "Blindsighted", where the latter is probably one of the best tracks I've heard in this genre in a while. There are, though, a few tracks that just floats by without leaving any trace, like for instance "How" and "Fly Skyward". Personally I don't listen to this kind of music that much anymore and that has much to do with that I don't think there are that many interesting bands around. But Null Device feels fresh, and although there are a lot of the 80's in their sound it feels new and at times pretty exciting. The biggest surprise is in the track "Sacre Coeur" where Oehler mix his ordinary vocal style with something that sounds like old Gregorian chants in the vein of Enigma and Enya. The two styles mixed together in the same track is very tasteful.

Unfortunately the best track on "Sublimation" is a cover of The Smiths' "There Is a Light That Never Goes Out". And why is that unfortunate you might wonder? Well, it's pretty obvious isn't it? "There Is a Light That Never Goes Out" is, as you probably know, an excellent track, and this version is very close to the original, where the singer sounds almost more Morrissey than the man himself. I think this is pretty unfortunate because I would have wanted an original Null Device song to become my favourite, and not a track that they can count on that 99% of the listeners will love.

Well, it's not such a big deal I guess, it's only one track out of fourteen... but still. "Sublimation" is a surprisingly well put together debut album. And I urge you to give it a chance if you are tired of listening to the same boring synth-pop acts over and over... -- review by Mattias Andersson - Moving Hands Magazine

OUTBURN
Melodic SynthPop: Null Device's debut album, Sublimation, offers a different take on the current wave of melodic sythpop. Rather than jumping on the futurepop bandwagon, the duo of Eric Oehler and Eric Goedken opt for a more subdued, contemplative, song oriented approach. The result is a collection of songs filled with warm electronics, interesting percussion, and lighthearted vocals. This combination works best on "Sacre Coeur" and "Fly Skyward" where Null Device showcase an origanic electro pop feel topped off by Oehler's emotional, heartfelt voice. The duo also turn in an upbeat cover of The Smith's classic "There is a Light That Never Goes Out" where Oehler does his best Morrissey impression. Elsewhere on Sublimation, the band seems as if they are paying homage to their synth heroes, as can be heard on the Soft Cell influeced "Blindsighted" or the Alphaville-like "Footfalls." The rest of the album, however, doesn't offer up anything mind blowing. That's not to say that Sublimation isn't an enjoyable listen. Null Device unabashadly wears their infliences on their sleeve as they bring forth a familiar new wave, electro pop sound. Unfortunately, their retro approach may get overshadowed by the recent overflow of dancefloor ready electro artists. -- review by Brian Lumauig - OUTBURN

Re:generation webzine
"If Bronski Beat, New Order and Yaz all got together and mated, their musical child would most likely be Null Device. Many years after meeting at the University of Wisconsin and subsequent musical cooperation, the masterminds behind Null Device, Eric Oehler and Eric Goedken, bring us their first label release. Their music builds on the previous success of their MP3.com presence and on excellent remixes and production for Stromkern. Most of the album consists of melancholy dirges punctuated by a few moments of upbeat and slightly danceable tracks. The song "Word and Deed" with its Indian flavor courtesy of a tabla drum loop and strong, emotional vocals is the best song on the album. Sublimation is steeped with elements that without which, would normally make a synthpop album clonal and boring. "Sacré Coeur" is a song which takes us on a journey to Paris with its lyrics "Leaves fall by the riverside blown through the city of lights," and conjures up memories of lost love with its chorus. A special treat on the album is a cover version of The Smith's "There is a Light," which provides a new revision of an old favorite, the vocals to which are eerily similar to the original. Null Device is very different from all other synthpop acts and are poised to take the scene by storm with their superb lyricism, programming and vocals. "Synthetic music for synthetic people," but with soul and style." --Nick Garland -
Regeneration webzine

Side-Line Magazine
"Hailing from [the] USA are the duo Null Device that bring synth-pop with EBM touches. The result? Catchy synth-pop tunes with vocals that remind me of the excellent though never published material from the Belgian synth-pop hope Da Vinci Principle (Da Vinci Principle tracks such as "Pain" were even sold as genuine Depeche Mode demos). Harsh sounds are nicely incorporated into the electro pop world of Null Device. Tracks that keep on being played at home are "Blindsighted" and "Word and Deed" for being hard driven synth-pop tunes that stand comparisons with other major acts in the synth-pop scene. A band that every synth-pop follower should have checked out!" --review by Bernard Von Islaker of Side-Line Magazine, issue #39

"Contemporary synth-pop with triphop and acid. This band is already active for several years and you can hear a worked out result! They perfectly melt a solid synth-pop basis together with triphop rhythms and a few acid bleeps." --review by DR of Side-Line Magazine

Storming the Base
"Another MUST HAVE synthpop album! More live-sounding drumbeats, truly charming vocals, lyrics, and songwriting. An excellent debut album, that ranks with the very best. Includes a classy cover of Morrissey's "There Is A Light (That Never Goes Out)" and a remix by Stromkern, and one of the best songs on the album, "Footfalls". I was floored when I first heard it, and only grew more impressed the more I listened to this album!" --Jeremy Pfohl of
Storming the Base

Toronto industrial Kollective
"Null Device is gothy synthpop with a definite Depeche Mode influence. That should be a pretty good selling point to some people. Not me, for sure, but to some people, other people, people I may not know personally, but have heard of. The Smith's cover of "There is a Light" should also appeal to these sorts of people, again not me, nor any of my close associates, but to these other people, yes. The ND dance floor Angst Mix of Now (track 13) I find particularly funny. Null Device must have had pretty easygoing teenage years, I've seen more Angst in Family Circus cartoons."--DJ Squid of
T.i. K. website

NegativePop.Com
As a musical consumer always looking for the newest and best thing in synthpop and electronica, I've gone down some strange paths in search of it. But here it is! The newest good thing, and (almost literally) in my own backyard. Claiming diverse musical influences including world, classical, and 80s britpop and synthpop, the geeky duo of Eric Oehler and Eric Goedken produce a fantastic synthpop treat. This is easily one of the best synthpop albums I've heard in a year --- with infectious beats insistently driving irresistble synth lines. This is exquisitely produced music, tweaked to sleek perfection yet still maintaining musical integrity with a little soul and a lot of style. They avoid redundant electronic loops, keeping things fresh and interesting. Thematically its a great album exploring the depth of human experience and feelings, a swan song and angsty existential cry of the late-20-something Gen X-er ... oh, and they just really like making synthpop! For more info about what the artists think of their work, see my interview with them floating elsewhere on the site.

Null Device has obvoiusly learned lessons form the masters of 80's synthpop: Depeche Mode, New Order, the Eurythmics, and the Pet Shop Boys. They take those lessons and build on them, adding exotic beats and vocal complexity. Null Device EXCELS at the bittersweet angsty relationship song, like "I Probably Know You": "I probably know you better than you think I do; I probably know you better than you'd like". Eric O's vocals are smooth and a bit on the ironic side. "Blindsighted" deals with the regrets that come with the often 20-20 hindsight nature of relationships. "My pretty baby, I must have been looking at you blind", for lyrical example. This is an extremely danceable track with great harmonic vocals on the chorus. "How" is another track in this vein, a stompy dancefloor song with deep drums like thumping hearts. Very apropos. This is a spiritual groove with reverb and echoing vocals. The "ND Dancefloor Angst" remix of this is just as good if not better; slightly more cold and electronic and beat-laden. You know, angsty. Eric G shows great poetic sensibility throughout, pairing bleak and beautiful words with Eric O's musical textures. Its a winning combination, to be sure! This album will be on my Top Ten of 2002.

Null Device does down-tempo just as well as they do up, surprisingly! Eric O. has obviously studied the making of classical and ambient music, for "Call of the Rose" begins with swelling, heartrending atmospheric chords with the hint of dark beats to come --- and they arive on time. It has its moments reminiscent of both New Order and Depeche Mode, but they pass by in a heartbeat, like the remembembrance triggered by a fleeting whiff of a much-loved smell. In other words, it doesn't take away from the splendid reality of the music. "Neverland" is also ambiently-influenced --- haunting and beautiful instrumental sounds are joined by syncopated thudding drums, more heartbeats. Icy winds of abandonment and disappointment blow through this piece. The whispered spoken-word poem is delightfully sinister. This is one of my favorite tracks on this album, for its sheer evocative power. "Sacre Coeur" is singularly laid-back, but not relaxed: the tension is created by interweaving brooding vocals, poignant melody, and tingling keyboards over top. It's a grinding Depeche Mode-esque ballad with plenty of echo and reverb: "Sacre coeur, my sacred heart, take my hand and let the bleeding start". Null Device isn't afraid to add organic instruments to their mix, either. Eric's gorgeous violin solo opens up the ballad "If Only For A While". It is bare and spare and lovely all the way through. Bereft and hopeless is the feeling left by this song and its sparse Cure-like guitar line: "Living for the moment, Hoping for a smile; This will keep me going, If only for a while".

While I have spent much time extolling Null Device's virtues in the realm of balladry, let me not forget to give equal attention to their heroic dancefloor antics. "Word and Deed' is a prime example of Null Device's brilliance for infectious dancy anthems. It is fast and fluid, with syncopated exotic beats. The samples and spoken word intertwined with the lyrics give it a slightly industrial feel at times, without completely crossing over the genre line. A divine tease, that! "Fly Skyward" is another dancefloor gem. The Erics understand the art of inspiring the desire to dance. This is a triumphant, jubilant, bouncy little song. It seems a bit more opitmistic than the rest, perhaps, with the following lyrics in evidence: "We strike the ground like falling rain; We fly skyward to live again". Not to mention, a groovy mix of "Footfalls" contributed by guest remixer and fellow-Madisonian Stromkern (they're a musically incestuous bunch, those in the electronic music field).

I need at this point to devote an entire paragraph to my favorite tracks on this album. "The Sad Truth" is my hands-down favorite -- for sheer dance value as well as subject matter. At once bittersweet, stompy and bouncy, its beats drive and hound me. Musically its extremely tight and complicated. You can bounce a quarter off it! It beings with the words "Wake from sleep.; covered like a burial shroud", which resonate deeply in my soul and mind. That pervasive sense of melancholy, "live through waking dreams" and drifting through life, is something I've felt often. The chorus leaves us with the haunting question: "Why is the sad truth no better than a simple lie?" Conversely, I get extremely euphoric whenever I hear Null Device's delightful updating of the Smith's tune "There's a Light that Never Goes Out". It's a bit faster than the original, great for dancing and spinning, with the addition of synth-lines only hinted at previously, buried deeply in the chords of the original. Null Device teases them out oh-so-delicately. The vocals are less dark than Morrissey's maybe, but Eric's still got a croon going, and that yearning quality is maintained. It's art! I mean that.

"Sublimation" is an extremely sophisticated debut and a wonderfully cohesive work. There is a lot of bad formulaic electronic music out there, but that's not a trap that Null Device has fallen into. I've almost worn my copy out, and will have to obtain another. That's saying something. Kudos to the geek boys! 5/5! -- bloodlossgirl of
NegativePop.Com

MK Ultra Magazine
First Wisconsin gave us milk and cheese, now complex, harmonious synthpop (see what talking all day to corn fields and livestock can do to a man). Now before anyone jumps to any conclusions, there is not a master race of dairy cows with spiked chrome domes on their heads plotting to take over the world from their farms up north. However, with the shadowy sub-riffs sliding seamlessly beneath the catchy dance topcoat of Nulldevice's music, it may be possible that two men, Eric Oehler and Eric Goedken both may have ulterior motives in the same vein, though the validity of this suspicion still needs to be ascertained. The fourteen track album, "Sublimation," ranges from the hip hop dance sound of "Footfalls" to the haunting, chanted lyrics of "Sacre Coeur" to the fantastically realistic sounding violin and guitar synth on "If Only for a While." Perhaps even more impressive that the synth work is the vocal work of Oehler. His voice has a gliding quality that pierces the listener, allowing the lyrics that can only be described as poetry, flow in. -- Paul Reighn of
MK Ultra Magazine

Wetworks E-Zine
The latest release from the duo of Null Device entitled "Sublimation" is quite good. I was even more impressed when I found out this was their debut release. Null Device might seem like your typical Synthpop band at first listen but once you delve more into their sound you find a myriad of influences and genre crossovers. Everything from Electro-Pop, Trip-Hop, EBM and Electronica. "Sublimation" contains 14 tracks total, including a superb cover of The Smith's "There Is A Light," and a remix of "Footfalls" from the EBM band Stromkern. My favorite tracks on "Sublimation" include the mellow synths and acoustic guitar licks of "Call Of The Rose," the highly addictive track "The Sad Truth" and the excellent Smiths cover "There Is A Light" which the vocals remarkably sound dead on. "Sublimation" is an exciting debut from newcomers Null Device and quite a find for Nilaihah Records. Fans of innovative Synthpop with creative sequencing, potent lyrics and fantastic vocals will enjoy this album immensely. Nice work. -- GunHead of
Wetworks E-Zine

Sordid Magazine
Sometimes the oddest comparisons come to mind when you're listening to new music. This CD is definitely a case in point. OK, it's synthpop with futurepop elements, at times it brings Depeche Mode to mind, all good. But when names like Justin Hayward of the Moody Blues and Prince pop up, you know this is something different. What makes Null Device stand out from the crowd isn't their musical sound, which, while good and diverse, isn't hugely innovative; it's the vocals. Unlike most synthpop bands, whose vocalists can make all the right noises but aren't particularly brilliant singers, this pair can sing, really sing. This is where the Justin Hayward comparison comes in, they really are that good at times, and when they go for harmonies, particularly on the fabulous 'If only for a while', wow! The Prince comparison, on the other hand, is easy to spot, 'Call of the rose' is 'When doves cry' given a funky techno sound and new lyrics, it just is. This also includes a bleepy synthpop version of 'There is a light', the Smiths track, that will probably have purists retching, but is a great take on the track if you like good synthpop. Null Device serve up a delicious slice of quality electronic music, with some of the best vocals I've heard from this kind of music, an eclectic mix of music taking elements from dance music and the more familiar synthpop and EBM styles, and do it all with style and sophistication. Great stuff. -- from
Sordid Magazine

Synthpop.net
I was first introduced to this band through the How To Make A New Friend compilation, volume 3. The first track on this album, "Footfalls" was featured on that compilation, and I was intrigued by the music with it's dark, somewhat darkwave influenced, sound. All the while, there is enough of a pop sensibility to make the tracks memorable. The dual-vocal approach that is used in nearly every track does take some getting used to, but I've found myself really, really liking it the more I listen.

Tracks such as "How" and "I Probably Know You" are great examples of the bands skill at song crafting, because they not only are deep and contemplative lyrically, but musically and rhythmically are very compelling and addictive. "The Sad Truth" is another outstanding song, with a poignant chorus hook and some great catchy synth work. "Word And Deed" is much in the same vein, with pessimistic outlook on the slow death of a town...I think. The strings that form the backbone of the song in "If Only For A While" give the song a very mournful, poignant feel that is very touching. The guitar parts of the song don't detract from the feel of the song, but are very effective additions, making the song feel even more laden with longing.

"There Is A Light" sounds very familiar, and by looking at the credits I see it was written Morrisey/Marr. By further research I found out this was a cover of The Smiths, and I'm almost sure I've heard this one before, but I don't know where. It's not my favorite track of the album, in fact I think it's my least favorite, but it's listenable. The two remixes both enhance the dancefloor appeal of the two tracks, with Stromkern's remix of "Footfalls" adding in a lot of Electro elements into the track, and fuzzing the vocals at points to make them nearly un-understandable. Of the two, I preferred the mix of "How".

Overall, I think if you enjoy darker synthpop, such as Red Flag's "The Crypt" or something similar to that, you'll really enjoy this album. It's got a lot of very good songs, and no real ut-and-out stinkers. Highly Recommended! -- Jason Baker of
Synthpop.net

Rick's Cafe
There is a growing underground music scene called "synthpop" which is informed by electronica and similar in style to the Pet Shop Boys and the Smiths. Madison's very own Null Device is one of the better bands of that genre, although the numerous influences evident in their music make it difficult to classify them. Nulldevice has an interesting history. They first gained recognition in the late 90's when an mp3 of their unauthourized electro-cover of Chris Isaak's "Wicked Game" spread across the internet and got played in dance clubs in many parts of the world. They are officially a duo of Erics who met in college, Eric Oehler and Dr. Eric Goedken. Dr. Goedken moved to California years ago and still writes for the band but doesn't play live with them. Their latest CD, A Million Different Moments, a winner at the Madison Area Music Awards this year for Best Electronic Album (along with the band's win for best electronic artist), continues their tradition of mixing electro, Goth, and 80's-style pop with rather unorthodox elements like tribal beats and a myriad of other instruments that Oehler has taught himself to play or imitated using software on his home computer. One wouldn't easily guess that this was the type of recording that would get played in electro-industrial nightclubs from looking at the minimalist cover art (a picture of the sky with a tree in the corner) unless you happen to be a computer geek and recognize the Unix reference in the band's name. The CD starts out rather creepily with the haunting cello of "Destinies and Symmetries" but it gets more upbeat as it progresses through the electro-influenced "Easier" and "Electrified." One song, "Travelogue", makes two appearances here; first with your typical western drums and orchestral strings, then later on we hear the Turkish version with traditional Middle-Eastern instrumentation. The complex fusion of modern electronics and ancient sounds continues to be a theme in most of the remaining songs. Rock guitars are prevalent in "Unknowingly" (which has the gothic rock feel of The Cure or New Order) and "Prevailing Winds" (where the guitar screams "in your face!"). The lyrics are generally simple and poppy in nature, and it's easy to see why Oehler was nominated for Best Male Vocalist at this year's MAMAs; his smooth, somewhat high-pitched voice sometimes appraches femininity. The end result is an impressive opus that is accessible, easy on the ears, and distances itself nicely for other electronic recordings with a large and refreshing amount of non-electronic variety. Their live show, however, is an almost entirely different animal; it features former Rattbelly guitarist Dan Clark, bassist Chuck McKenzie, and an iPod for the percussion and backing tracks, creating a rock-band feel that is worth checking out. Their drummer may not need food, water, or oxygen, but their guitarist makes up for it by showing his punk rock roots as he shreds onstage...well, as much as a Smiths-type band would typically allow.

Sean Bunny for Rick's Cafe

Side-Line
Whereas their debut album ?Sublimation? did not exactly do what I had expected, especially after hearing a very promising demo, this release makes up for it all. Middle eastern instrumentation gets mixed with synthpop, classical music and dnb. It made me realize this: If a major band like Depeche Mode needs a million dollar budget to record a new so so album, it is ludicrous to realize that a small band from the USA succeeds in offering a great album with almost no external budget. Indeed, Null Device offer here a release that will easily stand the competition some of the most hyped releases of the moment. Already the album knocks of with the very mature and haunting ?Destinies & Symmetries?, esoteric vocals and an atmosphere that offers a very dark mix. All in all I have the impression that the duo has been quite well over thinking all details leaving the obvious choices behind while looking for more elegant daring choices. An approach that bares fruit resulting in great tunes such as the dark ?Electrified?, the ethnical ?Travelogue? or yet the Turkish version of the track. Null Device have become full-grown, time to find these boys a EU distribution.

Bernard van Isaacker for Side Line

Luna Cafe
Null Device play an intriguing mix of synth pop and Middle Eastern influences. The appealing vocals of Eric Oehler sound as forlorn as singers in the genre usually do. "Destines and Symmetries" is replete with swirling synths and mock-Arabic chants. It sounds like an odd mix but it works well. The Depeche Mode stylings of "Easier" are offset by guitar parts and Oehler's innocent-sounding voice. "Travelogue" takes in the Middle eastern influences more fully and uses a romantic yearning as a focus for the lyrics. "I'll travel round the world in hope that I will find you" sings Oehler and namechecks as many places as he can. "The Hourglass" is a more traditional synth song than the others but good with it. "Walk in London" has a very Pet Shop Boys-like lyric, musically it follows that path too. This album is remarkable in any genre.

Review by Anna Maria Stjärnell for Luna Cafe

Wetworks eZine
Null Device is a band not afraid to add new elements and influences to the synthpop formula. Just look at the opening track "Destinies & Symmetries" or "Travelogue" which introduces the bands new fondness for middle-eastern influences. These new sounds influence everything from the violins to the drums to create a sort of Gothic mysticism. Other tracks like "Easier," "Electrified," and "Someone Else" return to their
earlier sound shown on their first album "Sublimation." Some standout tracks include the mellow "Sevgilim," my personal favorite song
"Unknowingly," and the superb "Walk In London." I loved the bands first
album and their sophomore effort, "A Million Different Moments" doesn't disappoint either. One of the few 'synthpop' bands trying to do things a bit differently and one that will soon outgrow that label.

Review by Gunhed for Wetworks eZine

Gothic Paradise
I remember when this band first graced my CD player with their album Sublimation and their cover of The Smith's track "There is Light".  Many of us were introduced then to their style of electro-pop with hints of pop and other styles with breakbeats and melodic vocals.

Years have past and they've graced us with a few other releases, but then I caught the band at the ADD Synthpop Festival in Salt Lake City and I was blown away with what they brought to the stage.  Now we have their latest studio album that captures that excellent broad range of styles packed into their brand of "Synthetic Music for Synthetic People."

Because I had talked to members of the band at the ADD festival and got a sneak peak into their future release, and heard for the first time their mid-eastern ethnic-driven piece "Triangular", I was looking forward to this album.  So when I first put it on and caught the studio version of "Triangular", I was captivated.  Eric has an excellent voice and I felt that some of the past pieces didn't fit well with his vocal style, but the tracks on this album blend very well, and I was pleased with this introductory piece into their broad style on this album.  Other tracks that maybe aren't quite so infused but still mix breakbeats, electronics and smooth vocals with these same mid-eastern instruments and percussion stand out also like "I Promise" and "Twisting and Turning" to name a couple.  Now personally I would have stayed away from the breakbeats, but this band still makes it work and these tracks come together nicely.

As far as catchy tracks go, there are several to choose from.  This band isn't really what you would call one to release a ton of club-friendly material, but most tracks are still very dance-friendly and they all kept me moving at the festival when I caught them live.  However, there's definitely more to a catchy track than how good the dance beat is, and they capitalize on these elements perfectly in "You're Not That Charming", especially when guest vocalist Jill Sheridan jumps in with her harmonized backing vocals.  There are some nice ambient elements in the down-tempo track "Racing" and later in "Snow and Joy" at the beginning, but then some excellent spanish flamenco guitar kicks in and it's really a fun piece to listen to.  However the finale to the album in the form of "Return" is a piece to be remembered and leaves the listener breathless with it's stunning mix of stellar synths and heavy bass with more of that eastern-influenced percussion.  This is an excellent way to wrap up the album and once again I'm caught surprised and impressed with the way this group has improved and solidified a solid style for themselves that is easily recognized and stands apart from the rest. Well done!

Review by Gothic Paradise

Regenmag
Continuing to mix synthpop modes with elements of world music, Null Device's third album is an appealing mix that will surely appeal to a wider audience.

Null Device has been an intriguing entity in synthpop with their incorporation of world music and various international modes. This may not sound new in and of itself, but where most other groups would simply sample elements of world music from their ethnic origin of choice, the duo of Eric Oehler and Eric Goedken employ actual live instrumentation, blending their purely electronic constructions with the organic quality that helps each culture distinguish itself from the other. This mixture of Western and Middle Eastern tonalities help to give Excursions, Null Device's third full-length album, an appeal that is farther reaching than most other synthpop groups.

Beginning with the rhythmically dynamic "Triangular," we are immediately treated to the band's worldly approach as waves of electrified ambience and vocal harmonies mesh with Dumbek percussion to conjure images of belly dancers in a Sultan's chambers. "Wonderland," "Under the Gun," and "Racing" follow with a series of angular synth lines and almost geometric percussion patterns not dissimilar to IDM, while "Down the Line" is slightly more funky and jazzy, like Lalo Schifrin doing trip-hop. Oehler's voice is enticingly melodic throughout the album, accompanied by chilled layers of vocoder, putting him on par with Iris' Reagan Jones. Above all, Excursions is infectiously danceable, as proven by the breakbeat-laden "I Promise" and the almost psychedelic "Entwined," both of which are filled with analog synth washes that encompass the listener in a blanket of sonic bliss, while "Snow and Joy" races by with a blistering techno beat complemented by Mariachi-style Spanish guitar solos.

With their usual host of backup musicians aiding them, Oehler and Goedken prove themselves with Excursions to be ahead of the pack. Where most synthpop groups are content to maintain a purely synthetic approach with only the occasional hints of live instruments to give their music some validity, Null Device prefer to allow the electronics to be a means to an end, being but a small ingredient in a much more eclectic and varied formula that can appeal not only to synthpop aficionados, but to a much wider audience as well. While it may not be dramatically different from what they've achieved before, the songs on Excursions are incredibly catchy and emotionally satisfying to boot. What more can you ask for?

Review by Ilker Yücel for Regenmag

A Different Drum (Top CDs of 2007)
This unique band from the US synthpop scene continues to perfect their blend of traditional electronic pop with a smooth, hypnotic blend of ethnic instrumental additions. The first track is a wonderful song that focuses on the middle-eastern drum rhythms and ethnic instrument loops, while the next song jumps right onto the dance floor with the thumping kick drum and pulsing bass line. That diversity continues back and forth through the album, with one catchy song after another, layered with different mixes of electronics and cool international music flavors. These guys are smart musicians that are not afraid to use many influences as wonderful infusions into their pop sound.

Review by Todd Durrant for A Different Drum

The Isthmus  (Top 10 discs of 2007)
Null Device -- ExcursionsThe third album by Eric Oehler and friends is intensely emotional synth pop punctuated by smooth vocals, break beats and Middle Eastern instrumentation. It's also the best Madison electronic album of 2007

Review by Rich Albertoni for The Isthmus

Plastiksickness.com
Following up their 2004 release "A Million Different Moments", Null Device answers back with yet another great album. As the name "Excursions" would hint, the familiar synthpop sound of Null Device is accented with Middle Eastern influences (most prominently on the first track "Triangular"). One thing I really enjoyed about this album is that it has a more upbeat tone than their last release, but don't expect this to be a boring collection of 4x4 beats. It's all Null Device with their non-formulaic approach to song-writing, combining wonderful production work with well-throught lyrics backed by tremendous vocals.

Review by DJ IZ for Plastiksickness.com

Synthpop.ru
by Synthez :: Observer
An interview with Eric Oehler of Null Device | February 2004

Q: Hallo Eric! First off let me congratulate you on the new album from the Null Device campus called "A Million Different Moments" that is coming out on the 10th of February 2004. With this particular new cycle in your life what particular emotions and expectations it brings and what makes these moments really different?
Eric Oehler: Thanks. I don't know if we have any specific expectations with this release that we didn't have with the last ones, except that we've "found our feet" a bit more and feel more assured in what we do. "Sublimation" proved to us that our process seems to work. Personally, I have relaxed my "control freak" attitude a bit and opened things up to guest musicians and more varied feedback.

Q: Your debut LP "Sublimation" was released back in 2002; now it's 2004 and from a current point of view how greatly do you feel Null Device has developed through this period of time? Have you tried to change something about your musical technique and the general exposure of Null Device life-style?

EO: Well, a number of things have changed in terms of how we record tracks. For one thing, I have a much nicer recording space now which makes it more convenient to record, mix, and produce tracks. We've also put together a live band, which has affected the way I approach a song as well as the way I perform. In general we've tried to add a bit more of an organic feel to this album - I've been heavily interested in various musical traditions recently and that really made an impact on how we wrote the music and the lyrics. I've not completely abandoned my synthpop roots, but this time around I've looked to a lot of other styles for inspiration. We've got elements of various forms of club music, middle-eastern folk music, soul, and good old-fashioned rock-n-roll.

Q: The two of Null Device, you and Dr. G, both have a super-high educational luggage. Does it somehow influence the music you produce and the orientation it leads? And if possible could you yourself ever measure the quality and the talent of your studio creations by some imaginary IQ?
EO: Well, in my case, my background with computers gives me some predisposition for spending hours in a studio doing technical things. I like fiddling with gadgets, so digging into synthesizers and software wasn't a big leap for me. While I don't think there's a whole lot of crossover between protein biochemistry and lyricism (I could be wrong, however), I'm pretty sure that Eric Goedken's experience in academia has augmented his very literate writing style. As for measuring talent, well, I don't know about that. I'm no Shostakovich, that's for sure. But I am constantly impressed by Eric Goedken's writing and his almost spooky intuition about what makes a good song. Dan Clark, our live guitarist, is also a fabulous and versatile songwriter and performer in his own right. All in all the exchange in ideas we all have has been very inspiring.

Q: I may be wrong but your way of music constructions apparently seems to be rather intelligently sophisticated and deliberately fastidious. Thus do you have a special approach to it trying not to border other methods, say, to play electroclash or straight industrial EBM? Briefly, do you have some limitations in the field of music or is it just your personal paradigm to follow?
EO: I don't usually go into the production of a song thinking "this can't be EBM" or "this can't be electroclash" or anything like that. I try not to have any specific limitations, other than my own skills. Musically, I write what I think best fits the song. We've done a few songs that started out one way and ended up entirely different - for example the early version of "How" on "Sublimation" started out as a really aggressive EBM track, but further revisions made me think that the song was better-suited as a downtempo ballad. It wasn't that I didn't like EBM or felt I shouldn't write anything of that style, it just seemed to fit the song better. In the end I like to write music that challenges me and, with any luck, affects me emotionally. Dr. Goedken's lyrics help in that a lot, and musically I like to explore things I haven't tried before. Of course, my hard drive is also filled with experiments and ideas that failed miserably...

Q: Since Nilaihah Records isn't into releasing singles, your downloadable "Footfalls EP" was a cool idea at all. Rumors were that Null Device is going to continue the tendency of Internet only publications of the exclusive mixes and b-sides that won't ever appear on the material CDs. Can you comment on that?
EO: Well, Nilaihah isn't anti-single, it's just an expensive proposition for a smaller label. At any rate, I think the internet release is something we'll continue to do. The internet is a very powerful tool for promotion, and if not for it, we wouldn't be able to interact as we do. All our early work was released there, first independently and eventually on mp3.com, so releasing additional material on the net seemed like a logical step. Also, since we occasionally accumulate remixes and b-sides and such that might not fit on a regular album, it was nice to have an outlet for this stuff. Some talented people are involved in remixing and recording and I think it'd be a shame not to showcase the work they've done with us. Also, the fact that it's free has been a big selling point to many people. There's less risk in downloading a few files and seeing if you like a band than spending $12.99 for a CD.

Q: You know the mighty of Kazaa and Soulseek that one day may offer all the heritage of Null Device -- perhaps it's your neighbor put that things available online. How do you think is that easier for both sides to put up the whole albums immediately to the www instead of having them on the plastic discs?
EO: I think file-sharing is sort of a double-edged sword. File-sharing services eat into our sales, no doubt, but they're also responsible for propagating our music in ways that we couldn't with a plastic CD. I'm sure it's harder to get a Null Device CD in Russia than it is to find the mp3's online. It'd be cheaper for everybody to put things online, that's for sure, but I admit I like the tangibility of a CD - it's nice to have a shiny disc to hold in your hand with artwork and lyrics and some band information. I think the ultimate solution will be somewhere in between - some people prefer the hardware version, some people prefer the software, and in the end it'll be a matter of consumer choice. I think as the debate expands we're also going to see more "extras" on CD's - for example the last Hybrid album came with a very well-produced bonus DVD of their recording process and some footage from their last tour. That alone was worth buying the CD. I wouldn't have gotten that had I just downloaded the album.

Q: What if your records do not sell as well as expected - who are the ones to blame and what are the reasons to console your self?
EO: Well, I don't expect our albums to start going gold yet, so I'm not too concerned. If the albums don't sell well, it means that we didn't make an album that the public liked. However, if I can say we made an album that we liked, then I'll still be happy. The downside of course is that if nobody buys it, it will become more difficult to release more albums. Obviously we want Nilaihah to do well since Kristy has been so supportive of us. I think that if we make a good solid album, it will reach somebody other than me and Eric. That's really what we're trying to achieve in the first place.

Q: These days when every person could potentially be an artist and a "label" himself writing music in the bedroom, churning out CDs in the garage, printing graphics in the office and trading stuff through the Internet, are you worried about this state of things and soon-to-come chaos in the music industry?
EO: Worried? No, I think it's great. Sure, there's probably a lot of crap coming out of bedroom studios, but there's also a lot of really, really amazing talent out there too that otherwise wouldn't be realized. We wouldn't be here if it wasn't for the bedroom-studio phenomenon (my studio was, in fact, in my bedroom for many years). It gives a lot of people a chance to express themselves, and it gives music-fans a lot more choices to find something they can really enjoy. It's only going to get more "democratic" too, with the recent announcements in the music technology field. Now you can buy more power than that of a pretty decent 1980's recording studio for a few hundred dollars. You can pack it into a laptop computer and take it on vacation with you. There's free software that rivals some of the classic synthesizers in power and quality. I think this is just awesome.

Q: Sometimes you are being asked for doing remixes so you've learnt those ropes very well. Generally speaking, can you consider them (remixes) especially those made by the "big shots" of the genre as a magic cure that is able to save any album no matter how shitty it is?
EO: Well, sometimes a good remix is more fun to listen to than the bad source, but it's a very rare case that a bad song leads to a good remix. It's always tricky - a remix can make a good song terrible, or a good song great, or even have no impact at all. A good remix can certainly take a song out of a certain realm or genre - the classic example is the DNA remix of Susanne Vega's "Tom's Diner", which made a folksy track into club classic. Some remixes just kind of leave me thinking "what was the point of that?" A good remix, or even a few of them, can't save a whole bad album, though. Stick a cool BT remix at the end of a bad album, and it becomes... a bad album with a BT remix at the end. Sometimes I think electronic music in general gets a bit too bound-up in the remix game. Remixes are great fun to do, but the original song should be the focal point, not the big name remix.

Q: You have been listening to tons of music of diverse styles. Could you please elaborate on your all-time favorites? And also, had you ever felt like borrowing some interesting finds from the music you love the most (no straightforward plagiarism meant) and adopt some really worth tricks to the creations of Null Device?
EO: I am completely hooked on Turkish pop sensation Tarkan. Sure, a lot of his ballads have that sort of 80's cheesy-ballad feel to them, but many of his tracks are this just insane mixture of Turkish folk music, western pop music, and club music, and I love it deeply. I've also been listening to Panjabi MC, who is an Indian hip-hop star. He mixes all sorts of traditional beats and instruments and "Bollywood" vocals with really heavy hip-hop beats, and it's pretty catchy. Hybrid's albums have been in constant rotation recently, too - I really like their big filmic arrangements, which are unusual for more club-oriented music. There's Plump DJs, Conjure One, The Streets, Infected Mushroom, Radiohead...many, many things rotate through my CD player a lot these days, along with a lot of the classic bands from the 80's and 90's. I think a little of everything is creeping into Null Device from these sources. Already the Tarkan influence got me researching middle-eastern folk music and instrumentation, and some of that is quite apparent on "A Million Different Moments." I'm working a lot more with breakbeats in concert with ethnic percussion and rhythms, which is sort or an after-effect of both the club music and the Indian and middle-eastern music. I try not to steal anyone's styles directly, but often I can find a lot of inspiration in another band's works...I sort of sit back and say "hey, that combination of instruments really works well together!"

Q: You are a well-known gourmet that knows almost everything about every national cuisine. And since music is one big kitchen, metaphorically speaking, what provision does Null Device have in the freezer for the future meals? Or probably there is something that's being fried at the moment?

EO: Heh, that's praise for my cooking skills that's probably way overstated. I don't really know what's in store, long-term. We're still busy in the studio, doing remixes and preparing more live tracks, and always experimenting with new ideas and techniques. I think we're going to keep trying to do new things (new to us, anyway) and just keep branching out in new directions. I've got a few things in the works, but it's still too early to know if they'll ever see the light of day.

Q: Let me again thank you sincerely for your answers! Just to finish this interview set, what would you like to fill your fans' memory banks with to remember or just to wish to all the readers of www.synthpop.ru?
EO: Thank you for your support in Russia and around the world. It's great to know that music can find an audience just about anywhere.

Null Device web-site: www.nulldevice.com
Special thanx to Karen Roddis for her friendly help.
(c) Synthez :: Observer | 2004

Negative Pop
Heather (bloodlossgirl) James
Sublimation: An Interview with Null Device
Any fan of well-crafted electronica and synthpop music would do well to remember the name of Null Device. A Null Device song is intelligent (what do you expect from two geeks?), infectiously catchy, and definitely quality. A lot of heart and soul goes into the creation of their sound. Null Device is the brain child of dynamic duo Eric Oehler of Madison, WI and Eric Goedken of Berkeley, CA. Recently signed to Nilaihah Records (yay!), Null Device's full-length album Sublimation is due to be released in June. I've been fortunate enough to get an advance preview of the music (sublime is as good a word as any, cheesey but true) and an opportunity to talk to the Erics about life, the universe and everything (i.e. music).

Bloodlossgirl: Congratulations on being signed to Nilaihah! Its a great label. I'm looking forward very much to your full-length album, can you give me a description of it?

Eric G: We're very pleased to be on Nilaihah. Kristy Venrick has some really great bands on this label. Bands that really have their own sound and aren't copycats of other, more successful groups or that just keep making the same songs over and over again. Hopefully Null Device will continue to be this original as well. We're hoping for a June release of "Sublimation". Not sure what day yet. The record is almost done. It should be to David Friede (of the Ninthwave band Ganymede) who's going to master it for us in the next week or so.
Eric O: It's going to be a long album. 12 tracks + 2 remixes. It's sort of a wide variety of styles and influences - we've got drum-n-bassy tracks, straightup synthpop, ethnic percussion, ambient stuff...a full string quartet...
Eric G: "Sublimation" is our debut full-length. I think the title is a good word for the album because I think we all as humans divert our primitive urges into the more culturally acceptable outlets. And I think expression through music is one of these outlets or at least it is for me. I also like the meaning of 'sublime' that is to convert into something of higher worth. Also a good description of how music and poetry can transcend traditional meanings and take on added significance.

Bloodlossgirl: How long have you known each other, and how did Null Device come about?
Eric O: Eric and I met freshman year of college. 1991, if I remember correctly. He had a class with my roommate, and came over to study or something while I was there. I was listening to Electronic's first album and we started talking about music.
Eric G: I naively asked if it was New Order. We have been friends ever since and most of the music I listen to even now is in some way connected with Eric and his vast knowledge of musical styles and artists.
Eric O: A few years later I started a sort of embryonic Null Device by making really really execrable techno with some friends in the CS department. After going it alone for a while, I found out that Eric had been writing lyric poetry and he suggested I give it a shot as lyrics. So I tried it, it worked, and we've been rolling since then.

Bloodlossgirl: The name Null Device --- is that a computer geek thing? I'm a science geek, so when I first heard the name I thought of Physics. What's the mystique behind it?
Eric O: I'll field that one. Null Device - it's a computer term. It's a special file that one streams unwanted data into. Programmer/sysadmin thing.

Bloodlossgirl: I know Eric O. plays the violin, but do you each play other instruments? What other instrumentation do you use in Null Device, or what electronics? What are each of your contributions to the ND project?

Eric G: I live in Berkeley, CA while Eric O. lives in Madison, WI. This leads to a creative process in which the internet is an essential component. Eric is the musician and the vocalist. I'm the, er... Well, I write most of the lyrics and offer suggestions as Eric puts rough mixes together. I don't know much about the formal details of music (chords, keys, theory...absolutely no idea) but I know what I like in music when I hear it and Eric is kind enough to follow many of my suggestions. Eric once described himself as the "dynamic front man" and "the studio geek"; he referred to me as the "wordsmith" and "quality control". That sums it up nicely.
Eric O: I play violins of various types, bass, guitar (poorly), keys, and am amassing a collection of instruments that I can't play well enough to record but really would like to work in someday. My theremin is collecting dust for that very reason. I do most of the studio work...the singing and music stuff. Eric G writes the lyrics, handles "quality control" so to speak ("uh, maybe you want to fix the levels there") and keeps me from wandering off into a weird studio haze. And he's the guy who keeps things going with labels, promo, all that stuff.
Eric G: I'm also handling the video end of the band. On a lark, we made a video for "Word and Deed" in San Francisco and Oakland when Eric was out here visiting. I shot most of it with the help of a mutual friend and I edited it which is a big task considering all the cuts that happen in the typical four-minute music video. Hopefully I will be doing some video work that will be used as projections at future Null Device live shows.

Bloodlossgirl:. Have you got side projects?
Eric O: I have a few that may or may not ever see the light of day. I've recorded a few house tracks under the name "Ensku", and done some grumbly ambient stuff under the moniker "The Advanced Toothbrush Orchestra." I did an awfully cheesy remix once of a cartoon theme, but for legal reasons Iwon't say which one or what the project was called.
Eric G: Other than my day-job as a biochemist, no.

Bloodlossgirl: What about the awesome Dark Clan track "Beauty"? I know Eric O. provided vocals for it.

Eric O: I just guested on that one track. That's Dan Clark's project, he brought me in as a guest vocalist. He and I have been kicking around ideas for future collaboration but haven't gotten anywhere yet.

Bloodlossgirl: The first time I heard the Wicked Game (Inferno Remix)by Null Device I thought it was a remix of the Chris Isaak song, not a cover, and was thus amazed to find it was a cover. Ditto the "There's a Light that Never Goes Out" cover of the Smiths song, which sounds like a much synthpoppier remix. Where do you get off doing such goddamn good covers? And how do you manage it? I am in awe.
Eric O: We really haven't done too many covers. "Wicked Game" was sort of a one-off that took me by surprise. I was recently single and watching VH1at 3am and saw the video (with Chris Isaak rolling around in the sand with a supermodel) and decided I reaaallly needed to record that song. Oddly, that was the first ND track in which I ever actually sang. Everything up until that point had been the kind of grr-angry industrial distorted half-spoken vocals. After WG came out so well, I decided to keep on singing. "There is a Light" is just my favorite Smiths song, and I've been listening to a lot of Smiths recently.
Eric G: I actually encourage Eric to try sound different from the original versions. And really neither the Wicked Game cover or the new Smiths cover sounds much like the original version in my opinion. Eric's voice is just has a bit of that classic croon that both Morrissey and Chris Isaak excel at, I guess.

Bloodlossgirl: I'll say! What inspires you to write music, and particularly the type you create ?
Eric O: I'm not really sure. I'm just sort of driven to create music. I've always loved it, I come from a fairly musical family, and it's a very satisfying creative outlet. I was one of those weird kids who actually enjoyed coming home after school to practice the violin, so it's really sort of a logical progression from there.
Eric G: Generally, I write about things that upset me or are in some way troubling or puzzling. It's not that I'm a particularly unhappy person, quite the reverse. But if I'm a good mood and things are great, I'm not really compelled to write about it. As a lyricist, I can't really explain what inspires me to write what I do. Sometimes I just get ideas. Phrases come in my head, and I'm really not sure from where. I remember reading something that Ray Bradbury said about writing fiction. That he'd get ideas for a story and these ideas would bother him, nag and pester him until he sat down and wrote them. Then they'd leave him alone. I find it's much the same way with the words I write for Null Device. I've tried to sit down and force myself to write something but it's very difficult to do that just because I want to do. The ideas have to be dictating to me.

Bloodlossgirl: I ask everybody this, because I am fascinated by what musicians themselves listen to/are influenced by musically. What are your Top 5albums ever? OR Top 5 artists. (But feel free not to limit yourself to five, if its a logical impossibility).
Eric G: Top ten artists: Depeche Mode, The Cure, Radiohead, Nine Inch Nails, The The, A-ha, James, Portishead, VNV Nation, Sinead O'Connor
Top five albums: 1. Depeche Mode, "Violator" 2. Radiohead "OK Computer" 3. Delerium "Karma" 4. Chris Isaak "Forever Blue" 5. Nine Inch Nails "The Fragile"
Eric O: Oh god, this question...this changes for me on a daily basis. I listen to a lot of stuff. Right now, thanks to a string of coincidences including the last Peter Murphy album, I'm listening to traditional arabic folk music. But I'm also listening to the latest few releases from UweSchmidt/Atom Heart. I'm always listening to Depeche Mode, New Order, PSB and the Smiths, and I've been on a Nick Cave bender for the last two weeks. And the new Elvis Costello is good...and...

Bloodlossgirl: You've answered me pretty well about influential artists and what you listen to, but are you really going to dodge the "album" question? :)
Eric O: Oh, albums...okay. Top few most influential albums, and they're all influential for different reasons: dM - Violator Bjork - Homogenic, GusGus - Polydistortion, Nick Cave - Let Love In, The Smiths - The Queen is Dead, Elvis Costello - My Aim is True, Kraftwerk - The Man-Machine, Lassigue Bendthaus - Render

Bloodlossgirl: Who has influenced you the most, musically and and non?
Eric O: Musically? Probably a tie between all the Bach I played on the violin (sweet, sweet counterpoint) and Alan Wilder (a standard name-check for a synthpop artist, but I do love his arrangements).
Eric G: See the above artists for musical influence. I'm also very influenced by movies and some lyrics are inspired by films that I have enjoyed. Forexample, the words for the track "The Sad Truth" on the new record were, in part, an ode to Lester Burnham, the Kevin Spacey character, in "American Beauty."
Eric O: Non-musically? You mean there's something outside music?

Bloodlossgirl: If you could work with any artist, past or present, who would you choose?
Eric G: Stanley Kubrick, although he wasn't a musician as far as I know.
Eric O: Oooh, tough one. There're so many people whose talents impress me.I think it depends entirely what I'd be collaborating on. That sounds like a cop-out answer, but it's accurate.

Bloodlossgirl: Come now. If you could choose just ONE artist you'd like to work with before you die ....

Eric O: Hmmm...I'd love to work with Alan Wilder. Or Johnny Marr. Or Uwe Schmidt. Or Hafdis Huld. Or Steven Morrissey. Or maybe all of theabove.

Bloodlossgirl: So what are your short-term and long-term goals for Null Device other than the obvious "International Pop Music Stardom?"

Eric G: I'd like us to develop a following in the electro/industrial/synthpop scene. Mainly I'd just like people to hear the music and enjoy it and buy enough records that we can keep releasing them. I'd also like to start doing live shows.
Eric O: Well, International Pop Stardom would be great. Icelandic Pop Stardom would also suit me fine. I just want to keep writing music and being able to have someone release it.

Bloodlossgirl: Those are very worthy goals. Last question, and a bit off topic, but I know the readers will want to know .... Do you consider yourself to be "geeks" and if so, based on what criteria? :)
Eric O: Dear lord, I do. I'm a computer nerd for a day job, I drink like a sysadmin when the oppportunity arises, and I spend hours on end tweaking sounds and synths without actually writing a note of music. Geek, yes. Yes I am.
Eric G: I am in a synthpop band. I am a scientist. Eric O: Dr. Goedken is a special kind of geek. He's got the PhD to prove it Eric G: I am film fanatic. I have seen every Star Trek episode in existence (save for "Voyager" which was an abomination). I am a trivia hound. I collect music obsessively. I know what an oscilloscope is, and I have used one. By every criteria I can think of I am a geek and proud of it.

For more information about the fantastic Null Device, visit http://www.nulldevice.com or http://artists.mp3.com/artists/22/null_device.html
Copyright 2002 NegativePop.Com All Rights Reserved. Negative Pop

Wet-Works Ezine
gothx

[Wet-Works] Why was the name Null Device chosen for your project?
EO: Basically, because I'm a computer geek. The name comes from that world, and I thought it would be clever. I think there's one unix systems programmer out in San Jose who finds it hilarious.
EG : My girlfriend asked me the other night why so many electronic band names sound like they came from something on Star Trek. I didn't have a good answer for that.

[Wet-Works] Being that Sublimation is your first major release, are you surprised by all the great reviews?
EO : Well, yes and no. I'm proud of the work we've done and think it's a pretty solid album, but I'm still surprised at how effusive a lot of the reviews have been. Especially since the album doesn't really sound much like the really popular stuff that's out there in the genre.
EG : I'm glad people like the album, and it's especially nice when people say, "Hey, this doesn't sound like everything else that's out there." Still, you can't be an artist without hearing the worse in your music, and by the time it's out to be released you get pretty sick of most of it. My favorite Null Device song is always whatever's newest.

[Wet-Works] What inspires you to write your lyrics?
EO : I'll let Dr. Goedken handle that one.
EG : Hmm, I'm not sure. Being emotionally moved, I guess. This can happen through my own personal experiences, reading the newspaper, watching a good film, whatever. I like to write in contrasts in my lyrics. Say one thing and then it's opposite. Let the listener think about what that means, hopefully give it their own meaning.

[Wet-Works] Since you both live in different states, is it more difficult to make your music?
EO : It has disadvantages, yes, in that it's hard to get immediate feedback on something and the sort of back-and-forth interaction takes longer. But on the up-side, Eric G can hear a track completely unbiased, not having hear the 25 different bass drum sounds I've tried or whatever, which allows him to have a really clean perspective. And then his lyrics can - and have - come to me from anywhere in the world, which adds to the experience.
EG : We haven't tried it side-by-side very often so we don't really know if it would be better or worse. I visit the studio at most a couple times a year, and we usually get something accomplished then but if I was there more often I doubt it would make it much easier. Eric does most of the physical work to record a song. My contribution is more conceptual and, fortunately for me, can be done just about anywhere.

[Wet-Works] What do you believe makes your music stand out from other synth pop/ebm bands?
EO : From my perspective, I think it has a lot to do with where we take our influences. While I do listen to some synthpop, I get the majority of my musical ideas from other genres and styles - drum-n-bass, jazz, classical, world music. Not all the influences have obvious effects, but they mold the songwriting style and process.
EG : I think we focus our songwriting on making an album that really meant for the home listener, not as much for the dancefloor. I don't know what the other bands intentions are, but many of them seem more dance-oriented than we usually are. There's nothing wrong with dance music. In fact, it's essential for dancing. But most of the albums I really like connect more to my brain & heart and less to my feet & hands, and I'd like Null Device to try to do that as well.

[Wet-Works] What made you start experimenting with different ethnic sounds and backgrounds?EO : I've always been fascinated with non-western music. It's an entirely new palate of sounds and textures. I may not be able to accurately play a lot of those kinds of music, it's still a great source of ideas and inspiration.
EG : Eric also likes to experiment with ethnic food.

[Wet-Works] Can you tell us what a Null Device show is like? Do you use any special visuals or effects?
EO : We've got great backing videos, courtesy of Dr. Goedken. We also have an unconventional lineup for a synthpop band onstage - it's me on vocals, guitarist Dan Clark, and bassist Chuck McKenzie. I've watched enough electro bands either mime their way through a performance or just look bored pressing keys - let's face it, it can be hard to "rock out" when you're hidden behind a bank of keyboards - so I decided to be unapologetic about the synths being on backing tracks, and I found some dynamic instrumentalists. It gives us a lot of freedom onstage, and makes the whole thing more organic. Dan's an amazing guitarist - he's got a background in music composition but also fronts a punk band, so he's got that "punk energy" in addition to some seriously deep musical talent. We've revamped a lot of the songs for the show, so they don't sound like clones of the album versions, and we're right now playing a few new tracks too.
EG : The backing video gives me a chance to re-interpret the songs a little bit. And I think if you're gonna do a live show, video is a great way to bring a more full experience to the concert. Especially for electronic acts where some of the music is not "live."

[Wet-Works] You're currently working on material for your next album. How different will it be from Sublimation?
EO : I'd say it's more ambitious than Sublimation. You can still tell from the vocals and the arrangements that they're Null Device songs, but the scope of the songs is bigger and the production quality is higher. There're more "real" instruments, there's an even wider variety of styles, we've got some collaborators on board, and so forth. I'm just having a lot of fun with it.
EG : I think the sound is a bit thicker. There's kind of an international theme to the lyrics and well as in the instrumentation in several tracks I don't think this album will seem as synthpop-oriented as Sublimation. Still, it's not finished yet so it's hard to say how it will end up.

[Wet-Works] Can you give us any details about your side projects Ensku and The Advanced Toothbrush Orchestra?
EO : They're both sort of dumping grounds for various musical ideas. Ensku is generally me twidding about with synths and bringing in a vocalist who's not me - right now it's mostly a breakbeat project but I've also done a few house tracks under that name. With any luck, an Ensku track I'm working on right now should appear on a compilation. The Advanced Toothbrush Orchestra has mostly done ambient/IDM stuff for film soundtracks. I've not really touched that project in a while, but it may get resurrected eventually.

[Wet-Works] From what I have read, you both have successful day jobs. If the opportunity came that you could make a living at your music, would you quit your day jobs?
EO : I'd love to be a full-time musician, provided I could still have fun with it. I like what I do for a living, though, so I'm not going to complain too much either.
EG : I'm not sure. I've invested a lot of time in science, and I don't know if I'd be willing to give it up for art. I wouldn't give up art for science either. Though, it's a bit harder to do biochemical research part-time.

[Wet-Works] Why is it when we talk to God we are praying, but when God talks to us we are put into a loony bin?
EG : Maybe God loses credibility every time he tells the other deities that he hears our voices.
EO : Because most of the people who claim that God is talking to them are paranoid schizophrenics. Or televangelists.

[Wet-Works] Any final comments?
EO : Making music is damn fun. Everyone should try it.

Side-line Magazine
Els DeCuellar

"Synthetic music for synthetic people." This is how Null Device describes their music. "I want our music to make an emotional connection with the listerner. I don't think music is very good at providing a complex description of something, but if it can encapsulate an emotion or two, it's doing its job," says Eric Goedken about their new album "Sublimation." Null Device are Eric Oehler and Eric Goedken. They met in college, starting a friendship that resulted in a long-distance musical collaboration.

EO - The basic process we have for song creation is collaborative - I send Eric G an idea or a melody that he writes lyrics for, or he sends me lyrics that I write music for. We then go back-and-forth, sending ideas to each otehr as the song progresses.

When did that collaboration start?
EO - I have been making electronic music in some fashion since 1990. At some point, I started writing music under the Null Device name. But I needed lyrics, and Eric G. Suggested a few things and sent me some of the lyrics he'd written. He also gave me some really good ideas for the music.

Where does your music find its source?
EG - My inspiration usually comes from things that move me or make me feel something unusual. The lyrics I write are often based on something I experience or am thinking about, but I rarely write about the feelings or thoughts that I often have. Only when something strikes me as odd or novel I start to write about it. I really like the ambiguity of poetry. It allows you to say something but leave it up to the listener what is being said, they way each person has a different interpreation of the words.
EO - My musical inspiration is taken form a lot of what I learned in baroque music - I write a lot of "lines" as opposed to "chords." But as for the kind of music that gives me ideas, these days it's been a lot of glitch techno such as Atom Heart. There there is middle-eastern pop music, and of course the "classic" electronic bands are on constant rotation in my CD player.

You did some remixes with Stromkern. Where did you meet Ned Kirby?
EO - we met at a club we frequented. He was a punk little 16-year-old DJ who could beatmatch EBM like nobody else in town. He started Stromkern a few years later. Now I meet him often. We swap music and such a lot - it's how I ended up remixing Perfect Sunrise and playing on Strange Day Dawning, and how he ended up remixing Footfalls.

You remixed some other music too. What other bands would you like to work with or sample?
EO - Well, I try not to sample too many other people. I'd love to have the chance to work with Uwe Schmidt (Lassigue Bendthaus) just because of the wild stuff he does with sound, and I'd like to remix more people in general. Remixing any band is a lot of fun, especially if it's nothing like my normal output. I'd like to figure out how to get more organic instruments involved - get ethnic drummers etc.

Null Device or /dev/null?
EO - Null Device was a technological name, and I thought it sounded clever. It's taken from systems programming. In simple terms, it's a "fake" device where you dump unneeded output.