Following on from the release of World Be Gone in May 2017, Erasure present its companion piece, World Beyond, a completely re-recorded version of the album featuring classical interpretations of the tracks. Late in 2017, Bell traveled to Brussels to re-record the album with The Echo Collective, a Belgian based classical music ensemble who have worked with A Winged Victory for the Sullen, Stars of the Lid and Johann Johannsson. World Beyond was recorded over 10 days by Andy Bell and seven performers from the Echo Collective: Margaret Hermant (violin, harp), Neil Leiter (viola), Thomas Engelen (cello), Jaroslaw Mroz (double bass), Gary De Cart (piano) and Antoine Dandoy (vibraphone, glockenspiel).
The tracks featured on World Beyond show award-winning songwriters Vince Clarke and Andy Bell in a more reflective mood, giving the world and recent political upheavals a thoughtful examination. This new collaboration gives an added dimension to the tracks – including fan-favorites "Still It's Not Over," which tackles the LGBT rights movement post-Stonewall, and "Lousy Some Of Nothing," a ballad for our post-truth age – but the band's optimism about the future remains clear and bright. Bell explains: "...the reinterpretations have brought such enormous context to the songs, it has created a new place for them."
The original idea for the album developed from Clarke, who initially suggested that a single from World Be Gone could be given an orchestral reinterpretation, but as the idea expanded and took shape, he spoke at length to the Echo Collective ahead of the recording. "It was great to talk through ideas with Echo Collective and then see how their arrangements took shape. The collaboration has given elements of the album a whole new feel and Andy's vocals remain as powerful and uplifting as ever," says Clarke.
The collaboration is a natural progression from 1987's The Two Ring Circus, a companion EP for the band's second album, The Circus, which included several orchestral interpretations.