From Che Sent Tue, Sep 1st 1998, 00:01
I'm continually disappointed by the lack of reviews on this list, but my philosophy is, if you're going to complain, you'd better be prepared to do something about it. So, here goes: Various - London Beats This is a maddening cash-in compilation, the sort that record companies are so good at producing. 4 CDs at a decent price - that's great. It's what's on the CDs that drives me nuts. Basically, it's a history of Jumpin' & Pumpin' Records from 1990-1995, with a heavy emphasis on 1992, their heyday. As such it's a document of rave music of that era (seems so long ago, dunnit?). This would be ok, except that Jumpin' & Pumpin' was the home of the seminal works of Dougans & Cobain, i.e. Future Sound Of London. Trapped in the amber, or should I say aluminum & plastic of the CDs are 51 minutes of their early music, when they recorded under a wild assortment of guises including Smart Systems, Mental Cube, Indo Tribe, Yage, and others. They could easily have put together a strictly Dougans/Cobain comp. & filled up several CDs. These tracks are extremely hard to track down, most of them being on obscure 12"s that command collector's prices. There's also the Earthbeat compilation, which is sort of a Best Of Pre-FSOL comp, but that's long out of print as well. So, this is the cheapest taste of the early stuff that most FSOL fans will get. Here's a rundown: Papua New Guinea - FSOL - I'm pretty sure this is the 7" mix, also on the US Papua New Guinea CD. If you're not familiar with this track, then I suggest you climb out of your hole & get your butt down to a record store now. Tingler - Smart Systems - Pure raviness. It's a bit too cliched for my tastes. This is the one track that lacks the FSOL magic. I'm Not Gonna Let You Do It - Mental Cube - Beautiful chords, great bassline, bubbling synth arpeggios, and an babbling yet pleasant diva sample make for 5 1/2 minutes of pleasantness. Bring In The Pulse - Indo Tribe - Acid trance with synth washes, synthesized voices, zaps, and breaks. Good. Expander (Remix) - FSOL - I think this is on the US release of the Expander album. I'm not sure, because I bought the original Jumpin & Pumpin Expander way back when (92 or 93). This version's a little more dancefloor friendly with bigger beats & rave stabs. Stakker Humanoid (Smart Systems Remix) - Humanoid/Smart Systems - This is a mellow rave remix of the classic, repleat w/ rave whistles. I would have rather had the original on CD in all its manic glory. People Living Today (Med Mix) - Semi Real - This is a fairly housey number with flamencoish guitars, a soul "people living today" sample, and a sample from another FSOL track that I can't quite place. 'sokay. Moscow (Remix) - FSOL - I think this is the same as the US Expander too, dammit. Different enough from the original to be almost unrecognizable. Owl - Indo Tribe - This would not be out of place amongst the uptempo tracks on Expander & Amorphous Androgynous. 4OTMOFOF. Coda Coma - Yage - A nice string synth, organ, and indecipherable vocal sample track. Kinda trancy. Bite The Bullet Baby - Indo Tribe - Short ravey litty thingy. Zip Code (Stress Ball Mix) - Mental Cube/Smart Systems - Ravey, but not bad - the space electro breakdown puts the Mental Cube spin on it and thus redeems it. What's amazing about these tracks is how, with the exception of Tingler, they manage to transcend the genre that they were a product of. As for the rest of it, I doubt I'll be listening to it. If you're into that era of rave music, it's not annoying (this could be be good or bad, depending on your point of view), but there's nothing great besides the FSOL stuff. The Optic Eye tracks are the best of the bunch. Che PS Anybody w/ a copy of Earthbeat and/or early FSOL spinoffs & a CDR burner wanna sell me a CDR w/ some non-overlapping tracks?