‘Liquid’s final contributor was the extremely large-lunged and big-hearted Reto Bühler, who apart from being a good friend of Alan and Hep’s, has been involved with Mute acts for many years through his work at Intercord in Germany. Reto speaks excellent English which, coupled with his strong Swiss accent, seemed perfect for the narration on ‘Black Box’.
Reto: ‘I met Alan back in the ’80s when I was managing Frank Tovey aka. Fad Gadget. As you might know, Depeche Mode were playing a support-slot for Frank when Daniel Miller discovered and signed them to Mute Records back in 1978 or so. So there was a historical link between those artists for many years. My active liaison with Mute began in 1987 when I worked as their label manager in Switzerland and later in Germany. It was around that time when I first met Alan professionally – he was coming over for promotion with DM, appearing at Intercord sales-conventions or playing their regular and notorious German stadium tours.
We got close when he got involved with the former Mute band Miranda Sex Garden and hooked up with Hebzibah Sessa. MSG were supporting DM during their ‘Devotional’ tour. Hep and I always had a soft spot for each other and I was very happy to hear that finally they got married and they were expecting a baby. When Paris was born, I frequently visited the ‘Wilder Mansion’ in Sussex and during one of those visits, Alan suggested that I should have a speaking part on his up-coming record ‘Liquid’ (released in 2000). Alan’s co-producer Paul (PK) Kendall and I had known each other since the ’80s as he had worked and lurked upstairs at Mute in Worldwide Studios, and had produced many of the Mute bands. I thought him a fairly decent chap, so it only took a split-second’s hesitation before saying “sure, why not?” I was honoured to record beside great artists such as the outstanding singer/pianist Diamanda Galás or the great Dean Garcia of Curve. Due to PK’s and Alan’s highly professional way of working, my amateurish spoken piece was incorporated into the ‘Black Box’ track.
But seriously, I think Alan only chose me because of my hideous Swiss accent. That bastard’