Future Sound Of London
Papua New Guinea - Translations

By Richard Wilkes

You could probably accuse FSOL of heightening the dance music fetish for the pseudonym, that frustrating tactic of releasing music on the sly. In their early days they had a ridiculous collection of monikers: Yage, Stakker, Candese, Semi Real. The list is long. These days they are rather embarrassed about some of those early Earthbeat exploits. It is perhaps easy to see why; some of them were blatantly made with a commercial slant. With vocal refrains like "You took my love" or "Bite the bullet baby" they were appealing to the mainstream market. But back then everyone from Aphex Twin to Global Communication was doing it, secret side projects to purchase more music equipment. There was, however, one tune from this period which had to come out under their own name: Papua New Guinea. A track, if you'll excuse the cheesy expression, "which shook the world."

All of the early Earthbeat exploits were released on the small Jumpin & Pumpin label. Now they seem to have come full circle; returning to the old label and the old tune. Perhaps a strange choice, given that there have already been a whole library of versions of the original. But this is not really a collection of remixes. In places its hard to tell it's the Future Sound Of London at all. The Big Blue, for example, sees them going all Sunday jazz with a mellow sax refrain and an acoustic guitar whilst Wooden Ships can only be described as washed out blues rock. Elsewhere there are John Barry strings, funk guitar chops, gospel voices, everything you don't associate with FSOL. They have long been known to go off at tangents with extended multi-part singles, but this is more. It's a new band; looser, more organic than the Future Sound Of London of old. Surprising.
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