It’s a mosquito in the lower depths of your subconscious that nags you into submission with its insidious, repetitive, hypnotic melisma. It’s a bliss-out that sweeps you into the eddies of an irresistible current. It’s the seminal track in a genre that became swamped with wannabe mixers and metallic drilling. It’s the one that got you onto the dance floorwhen you thought the genre had nothing knew to offer. It’s the song that spawned a myriad of remixes that often strayed a million miles from the point of departure.
Nothing, but nothing, that I could write would adequately sum up Future Sound Of London’s Papua New Guinea (FF 1992 #11). Garry Cobain and Brian Dougans teamed up while studying at Manchester Uni, and began producing reams of electronic music that seems to shift genre as fast as you can pigeonhole it. An early success (which also caught the attention of JP) was Stakker Humanoid, a house instrumental that hinted at the hypnotic minor key melodies that were to become their trademark. As The Future Sound Of London, they released Accelerator in 1991 (which was to see a re-release with a bonus CD containing nothing but mixes of PNG). It was aimed squarely and unashamedly at the techno crowd.
“Accelerator” was an entirely different record altogether. We didn’t strive or set out to make an album that contrasted with the first particularly, we’ve just always loved really way out music, and our love of that stuff just polarised into us producing way out music ourselves. I love anything odd, like pummelling your audience with beats and then dropping down to a Barbra Streisand record. What could be more odd? Times are quite exciting now too, as there seems to be a dawn of a whole new technological era. People are playing with Eastern philosophies, playing not just with music, but also by exploring themselves by way of the food we eat, use of enemas, massage and alternative medicine. [Garry Cobain]
What is it about this song that makes it so special? Is it the looped vocal from Dead Can Dance’s Lisa Gerrard, a glimpse of heaven in a river of lava? Or is it the sample of Meat Beat Manifesto’s Radio Babylon, making so much of the drum and bass music produced since seem so second-rate? It’s a combination of many things: but really, it speaks to the soul, touching the root of the intangible and unattainable. The version played in the FF chart was what John hoped was the original: at first labelled the ‘Dali Mix’, it was later reissued as ‘the 12 inch original’, and that is the version you have here.
In that year, they recorded the first of four Peel sessions (on 25 August 1992), with PNG as the final track, overlain with jungle noises, as was an early version of what would be regarded as their best work, Lifeforms. The future lay in experimentation with technological development, and in some senses away from their dancefloor origins.