Germany’s Anna Logue Records is one of the better labels out there today reissuing lost synthpop classics from the ’80s. Among the best of their 2014 releases is Vogue’s Sahara 12”. An American group formed by Aret Madilian, Vogue only released this one extremely rare and collectible single in 1983. There are countless obscure electronic acts from the ’80s that only released a lone single only to be never heard from again, and a lot of the time it’s for good reason, but Anna Logue definitely have excavated a true gem with Vogue.
It’s difficult to gleam anything about a band with only two songs to their name, but it’s clearly indicative within these two songs, “Sahara” and “Shattered Peace,” that they could have offered a lot more. It’s true the cover makes the band look somewhat like a novelty act, but inside the music is much closer to minimalistic cold wave like Das Kabinette than the kitschiest synthpop of the New Romantics. The two songs here are largely instrumental, where the vocals serve more of a perfunctory role as just another instrument to enhance the atmosphere and any lyrics whatsoever are almost completely indecipherable.
The recordings are so minimal that “Sahara” does indeed contain Middle Eastern influences but they’re just subtle enough to get away with it, gradually becoming more and more predominant as the song progresses. The true classic here, however, is the B-side, “Shattered Peace.” Moody, intangible synths hang in the background over a minimal yet driving beat as vocals washed in layers of reverb and effects float in and out.
Vogue’s Sahara is now available, and luckily, any fans craving more will find solace in Madilian’s newest project, Deleyaman, an equally atmospheric project where the focus is more on emotive content and less on typical pop structure.