The Life and Times of the Future Sound of London, pt. 2

(pictured is the 1996 version via Hypnotic records)

Artist: Future Sound of London

Title: Papua New Guinea

Released: 1991 (multiple reissues to date)

Label: Jumpin’ n Pumpin’ (and various others)

Format: CD (and numerous vinyl issues)

Genre: Trance, ambient

To date, this release has had nearly 30 reissues.  This crossbreed track of trance and ambient help put FSOL on the map, propelled the band into an endless spree of experimentalism with their music, and influenced countless musicians the world over.

The original version is flawless, though some might say it appears a bit dated today.  I kind of agree but it doesn’t change how I feel about the track in general.  As I have mentioned before, the track features samples from two songs by Circuit and Dead Can Dance and mixes them with ethereal synth and fine beats.  It is hard to find anything wrong with this.

Out of the many reissues of this single, I find that the 1996 Hypnotic Records version has the most complete collection of remixes and reworked versions, aside from what appears on the deluxe edition of “Accelerator.”  On this version, the rare “Journey to Pyramid” mix appears along with the Hamish McDonald remix and the Graham Massey remix, none of which appears on the deluxe edition.  I feel, despite a few mixes that are missing (i.e., the Qube mix, and the Monsoon Mix), this CD is the superior version.  The variances of the mixes are broad enough to keep it from being too repetitive but keep the theme complete.  This format of reworking continues on later singles, like “Cascade”, “We Have Explosive” and “Lifeforms.”

If you are thirsty for more remixes, check out the deluxe edition. Hybrid, Blue States, Satoshi Tomiie, Oil, Simian, and Mellow contribute mixes and the Monsoon mix makes a rare appearance.  Still missing is the Graham Massey remix and the elusive Qube mix, which seems to be exclusive to the Jumpin’ n Pumpin’ issue from 1991.  Various new remixes have surfaced, including ones by Marco V, High Contrast, and Herd & White, most of which are available on vinyl. 

Should you buy this?  It depends greatly on what you’re looking for.  The CD with the greatest variances of remix contributions would be the on the deluxe edition of “Accelerator” but the Hypnotic release offers a few scarce mixes that aren’t easy to find elsewhere.  If you’re a completest, much like I am at times, you will have to hunt for rarer mixes on various vinyl versions of the single, which tends to get pricey after a while.  If you’re looking for just one release to say “I have it,” it is best to stick with a CD version of the single.  The historical significance of this tune in terms of the band’s career and for the evolution of the ambient/trance genre itself makes this worth it. 

4 out of 5.

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About Nick H.

I'm a geek for music whether it be on vinyl, CD, 78 or whatever. My goal is to sniff out the greated music on Earth, specializing in the obscure. I make music myself as well, mostly ambient and sound collage (1 album out and a few remixes so far). I work full time as a professional mascot (it pays the pills) but will soon retire, i hope.
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