The Life and Times of the Future Sound of London, pt. 13

Artist:  Semtex (FSOL)

Title: We Have Explosive

Released: 1996

Label: Virgin

Format: 12” vinyl promo

Genre: Breakbeat, techno, experimental

Sneaking out just prior to the release of “Dead Cities” is this vinyl-only single, carefully disguised under the name Semtex.  Presumably, this was another testing-of-the-waters release, featuring material somewhat different from previous releases and hoping to get a feel for the public’s reaction (hence why it was a promotional vinyl).  The first two tracks are somewhat different from what appears on the upcoming album, but not by a whole lot.  I would venture in the chronological context that these tracks would have been quite surprising to hear for the first time, especially when compared to “Lifeforms” or “ISDN.”  In fact, unless you were fortunate enough to catch a 1996-ish ISDN transmission, these new tracks would have been a complete surprise to the listeners.

Darker, brooding break beats and snarling electrical current effects roar and create a very dark, almost post-futuristic landscape.  It was exciting and powerful.  Featured on the A-side are “We Have Explosive” and “Herd killing.”

Flip this 12” over and you have one of the rarest tracks in the FSOL catalog: An eleven minute remix of “We Have Explosive.”  It slithers in with a whispered beat only to erupt with heavy distorted breaks and dark percussive swooshes.  It’s massive, it’s loud, it’s unforgiving and it is one of my favorite mixes to date.  It really makes me wish this tune would resurface on one of their archival CDs at some point (do you have room for a volume 7, guys?) as in my opinion, this remix needs to be heard.  It provides the link between “ISDN” and “Dead Cities” that you otherwise don’t really get anywhere else.  It is also just a nice overall reworking of what would become one of their most popular and referenced singles, “We Have Explosive” in 1997.

Should you buy this?  If you already own the album, the A-side may be a bit repetitive for you but in my opinion, these tracks do sound nicer on vinyl.  And of course, I would be eager to drop a few bucks on this just for the B-side remix.  Now, prices do tend to vary depending on who is selling it.  I’ve seen this release go for as little as 7$ USD or as high as 44$ USD.  Thus, be careful where you buy as I don’t think it is worth it to drop a ton of cash for a three track 12”.

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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