Wednesday, February 13, 2008

[The] Third Eye Foundation – "Semtex"

The Bristol scene in the late 80s consisted of a lot of people playing in each other's bands. Matt Elliot played in Flying Saucer Attack and AMP before getting serious about his own project, Third Eye Foundation.

The best way to describe Third Eye's sound is lo-fi drum'n'bass. Crisp, sterile breakbeats pulse beneath waves of static and distortion. Elliot released four full-length LPs, as well as numerous singles, EPs and compilations thereof. The first album is called Semtex; this track is not on it. In 2006 he released the three-CD set Collected Works which, for some reason, contains three of the four albums.

This single, inexplicably credited to The Third Eye Foundation, features far and away my favourite Third Eye track, and in fact one of my all-time favourites from the era. Only close competition: his track on the Monsters, Robots and Bug-Men comp. It's from some 12" that I got, I think, when it was out (pressing run: 500). It's a bit more straight-ahead drum'n'bass than some of the other stuff, with the standard Amen breaks pushed a bit higher in the mix than usual. But the dense soundscapes over the beat give the whole thing a relentless feel. And the best thing about it? It's ten minutes long.

Unfortunately, the version on Collected is cut in half. (And that comp track isn't on there at all; it's on the first album, which has the same title as this song that isn't on it, and isn't on Collected. Who's in charge here?) So I don't think the full version is commercially available on CD. The 12" contains three tracks; two are posted here. The third is a shorter version of "Semtex", and who needs that?

Buy it... on vinyl.

From my deck to you: The Third Eye Foundation – "Semtex" and "Science Fiction"


Anonymous said...

Ah, I wondered where the track 'Semtex' was on Semtex...what a great first album, and thanks for the track! I thought Semtex (the album) was quite like earlier Seefeel in places. Have you heard Bowery Electric's 'Beat' album, similarly lo-fi and beat driven, if not drum and bass.

Prof. ~.a.~ said...

VERY late reply, but the compilation track is actually taken from 3EF's debut album SEMTEX.