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Industrial hip hop
|Years active||Late 1980s – present|
|Labels||Ultimate, A&M, One Little Indian, Imprint Music|
Andy "Awe" Clinton
|Past members||Kerstin Haigh
Alan 'Hagos/Haggis' Haggarty
Senser, a politically charged rap rock UK band, originally formed in South West London from a group of friends in the late 1980s. The initial line-up comprised Nick Michaelson (guitar), Heitham Al-Sayed (vocals), Kerstin Haigh (vocals), John Morgan (drums), James Barrett (bass) and Alan "Hagos/Haggis" Haggarty (engineer, producer, programmer) and in 1992 they were joined by Spiral Tribe D.J, Andy Clinton. The band toured in support of psychedelic rockers the Ozric Tentacles in 1992. Soon they had developed a following in their own right and they were invited to play at Glastonbury. In 1993 the band were signed to Ultimate Records.
Senser's sound was characterised by heavy guitars underneath often rapid, rapped lyrics which were concerned with a range of political issues from a left wing perspective, including gang violence, corporate abuse of power, mass surveillance and republicanism. Swooping female vocals and turntable scratching also contributed to the overall sound. Because of the political nature of their music, Senser were often compared to similarly political bands such as Rage Against The Machine, Skunk Anansie, Chumbawamba and The Levellers.
In 1993 Senser released two indie chart topping singles on Ultimate — "Eject" and "The Key".
In March 1994 Senser released their third single, "Switch", which entered the UK Singles Chart at number 39 and the band underwent a heavy schedule of television, radio, press and live performances. Senser's first album, Stacked Up, was released in May 1994, and entered the UK Albums Chart at number 4.
At the beginning of 1995 Senser toured the UK supported by Skunk Anansie before setting off to tour the United States with Moby. It was during this tour that the band decided to split over musical differences. Al-Sayed and Morgan left to form a new band with Haggis called Lodestar. The remaining members of Senser found a new drummer, Paul Soden, and set about writing Senser's second album.
After a year of writing and rehearsing Senser took to the road again and appeared at the 1996 Phoenix Festival. During the spring of 1997 they recorded the second album with producer Arthur Baker and engineer Kevin Porée. And in the summer of 1997 De-Senser released "Om".
In the summer of 1998 Kerstin was able to tour and the band released the second album, Asylum. This was followed by touring throughout 1998 in Spain, Italy and France. Once again musical differences became apparent and in February 1999 the band decided to split.
The band, now with the original line-up in place, recorded and released their third studio album SCHEMAtic. (One Little Indian 2004) The material drew on their own personal styles developed from their time apart with other musical ventures. In 2003, a tour of the new material was performed.
In 2009, they released How To Do Battle.
Soundtracks to Films
- Asylum (1998), Ultimate - UK No. 73
- Book of Flies
- Charming Demons
- Strange Asylum
- Burn Out
- Asylum (Limited Edition) (1998) "Senser Vs. De:Senser"
- Charming Demons (DJ "Awe" mix)
- Eye Kaleid
- Tried and Tested
- Om (Harry Hogg mix)
- Rows of People
- Gabba Man
- Parallel Charge (2001), Strike Back
- SCHEMAtic (2004), One Little Indian
- Silent By
- 101 Infoburner
- Formula Milk
- Return to Zombie Island
- An Astounding Spectacle
- Photographed Files
- Bomb Factories
- A Conscious War
- The Brunt
- How To Do Battle (2009), Imprint
- Wake Up, You’re On Fire
- Resistance Now
- Brightest Rays
- 2 3 Clear
- Dictator Bling
- End Of The World Show
- Smoking Paranoia
- Sandhurst in Zero G
- So Refined
- Lights Out
- Blind (iTunes Bonus Track)
- To The Capsules (2013)
- States of Mind (1995), Ultimate (VHS)
- Live at the Underworld (2006), Ignite (DVD/CD)
- "Eject" (1993), Ultimate
- "The Key" (1993), Ultimate - UK # 47
- "Switch" (1994), Ultimate - UK No. 39
- "Age of Panic" (1994), Ultimate - UK No. 52
- "Charming Demons" (1996), Ultimate - UK No. 42
- "Adrenalin" (1998), Ultimate
- "Breed" (1998), Ultimate
- "Weatherman", Ultimate - promo only
- De:Senser EP (1998), Ultimate
- "The Brunt" (2004), One Little Indian
- "Bulletproof" / "Crucible" (2004), One Little Indian
- "Resistance Now" (2009), Imprint
- Biting Rhymes EP (2011), Imprint
- Heitham Al-Sayed (Rap (Lead Vocalist) /Percussion, 1992–1995, 1999– present)
- Kerstin Haigh (Vocals and Flute, 1992–present)
- Nick Michaelson (Guitar, 1992–present)
- James Barrett (Bass, 1992–present)
- John Morgan (Drums, 1992–1995, 1999–present)
- Andy "Awe" Clinton (DJ, 1992–present)
- Alan "Hagos/Haggis" Haggarty (Sound Engineer/Programmer/Producer, 1992–1994, 1999–2004)
- Paul Soden (Drums, 1995–1999)
- Strong, Martin C. (1999) The Great Alternative & Indie Discography, Canongate, ISBN 0-86241-913-1, p. 551