The Life and Times of the Future Sound of London, pt. 15

Artist: FSOL

Title: We Have Explosive

Released: 1997

Label: Astralwerks, Virgin

Format: 12”, CD

Genre: Abstract, dub, electro, ambient, break beat

FSOL present, “We Have Explosive,” perhaps their second most popular single and the last official release prior to 2002 (excluding the ISDN promo that would sneak out later that same year).  A few versions of this single exist: some with remixes, some without.  If you’re looking for the most tracks and variations, check out the Astralwerks CD edition (ASW 6196).  Here, we’re treated to remixes by Oil/Leon Marr and Kurtis Mantronik, as well as five ‘paths’ by FSOL, staying true to their seamless formats for singles and EPs.

Yes, at times, this single can be a tad redundant with some renditions sounding fairly close to the original.  However, most have enough variance that this single feels more like a mini-album.  It works.  My only complaint really is that they reuse the same beat in many tracks and it tends to get overdone.  Sure, that’s part of what defines the original track, but when it starts to pop up in other spots, I tend to feel like the original track never really ended and that they aren’t putting enough variation into things to make it truly different.  That said, I still feel that this single has a lot more to give than “Cascade” did and this remains one of my favorite singles from any band.

At risk of making this review ultra-short, I’ll pose the question: Should you buy this?  I would argue that if you’re a fan of experimental, ambient, or even post rock, you’ll enjoy this single immensely.  It’s dark, genre bending and despite my criticisms, is really rather fantastic.  This single does well, almost standing as a mini album more than a single.

4.8 out of 5.

I feel at this point, it would be important to mention that after the release of this single, the band fell silent.  They did a few ISDN transmissions (including a Peel session), and those of us in the US got a chance to stream one of them for a few years on the Astralwerks webpage.  In a sense, despite the fact that nothing really new was being released physically, we were getting a fewglimmers of life over the radio waves and the internet.  Eventually, they attempted to release a second ISDN album in 1997 but it took a full year to get some of the samples cleared for the album’s release, and there were countless others that they were having trouble clearing altogether.  The idea was eventually scrapped but a limited number of releases were sent out as promos, dubbed “ISDN Show” and now run between $40 and $200.

And until2002, that was it.


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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