Dead Cities (album)

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Dead Cities
The Future Sound of London Dead Cities album cover.jpg
Studio album by The Future Sound of London
Released 18 October 1996
Recorded Earthbeat Studios, London – 1996
Genre Electronica, acid house, big beat, rave
Length 70:11
Label Astralwerks ASW 6181 (US)
Virgin CDV 2814 (UK)
Producer The Future Sound of London
The Future Sound of London chronology
Dead Cities
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars[1]
Entertainment Weekly (B+)[2]
Q 3/5 stars[3]
Muzik 4/5 stars[4]
Sputnikmusic 4/5 stars[5]
Alternative Press 5/5 stars[6]
Headphone Commute (favorable)[7]
Almost Cool 8/10 stars[8]
Robert Christgau (choice cut)[9]

Dead Cities is a 1996 album by electronic music group The Future Sound of London.


Though almost without lyrics to speak of, most of the first half of the album (with the exception of "Her Face Forms in Summertime") is dark and full of well structured malevolence in that its songs combine synthetic sounds with samples to create an apocalyptic, dystopian atmosphere. The second half of the disc however is rather more relaxed and FSOL combine the darkness with more of their now familiar complex, ambient techniques to create an odd, peaceful yet intriguing atmosphere.[10][1]

The album art consisted of 3D graphics, photography, and writing complementing the album's themes, combined via digital image editing. This was created primarily by the band and then-frequent artistic collaborator Buggy G. Riphead. A limited edition release of the album included a 196-page book, containing additional artwork and writing in the same style.[11]

"My Kingdom" and "We Have Explosive" were released as singles. The "My Kingdom" music video was directed by the same artistic collaboration, whereas the "We Have Explosive" music video was directed by 2D-animator Run Wrake.

Track listing[edit]

Though the album contains 13 tracks, the track listing on the back insert of the CD is ambiguous, as 15 song titles are listed, with most of the second half of songs not numbered. The common interpretation, confirmed by the promo edition of the CD, is listed here:

  1. "Herd Killing" – 2:37
  2. "Dead Cities" – 6:37
  3. "Her Face Forms in Summertime" – 5:38
  4. "We Have Explosive" – 6:19
  5. "Everyone in the World Is Doing Something Without Me" – 4:10
  6. "My Kingdom" – 5:47
  7. "Max" – 2:48
  8. "Antique Toy" – 5:43
  9. – 6:57
    • "Quagmire" – 5:13
    • "In a State of Permanent Abyss" – 1:44
  10. "Glass" – 5:38
  11. "Yage" – 7:32
  12. – 5:32
    • "Vit Drowning" – 4:48
    • "Through Your Gills I Breathe" – 0:44
  13. – 4:46
    • "First Death in the Family" – 2:18
    • silence – 1:00
    • "Dead Cities Reprise" (hidden track by Headstone Lane) – 1:28

Samples and other information[edit]

  • "Herd Killing", is a remix of track 4; it is also titled "We Have Explosive (Herd Killing mix)" on a single. Both feature several samples from the Run DMC album Tougher Than Leather.
  • "Dead Cities", contains a vocal sample at the beginning of Laurence Fishburne from the film Deep Cover.
  • "We Have Explosive" was used in the second game in the "wipE'out"" series, wipE'out" 2097, for the original PlayStation.
  • The vocals on "Everyone in the World Is Doing Something Without Me" were performed by Canadian opera singer Rebecca Caine.
  • "My Kingdom" prominently features:
  • The title of track 11, "Yage", was one the previous aliases of FSOL, and still their alias for their own sound engineering credits.
  • The title of track 12, "Vit Drowning", refers to Vit, a Chinese restaurant owner friend with the artists. His face appears on the "Far-out Son of Lung" cover, and he appears in the "Teachings From The Electronic Brain II" and "My Kingdom" videos"[12]
  • Whether it was coincidental or otherwise, the album's final track, "Dead Cities Reprise" (hidden track by Headstone Lane), is of a very similar nature to the predominant sound and style that FSOL adopted for their following album, The Isness, released under their alias Amorphous Androgynous (except in the US, where it was released as FSOL for commercial reasons).


AlbumUK Albums Chart

Year Chart Position
1996 UK Albums Chart 22

SinglesUK Singles Chart

Year Single Chart Position
1996 "My Kingdom" UK Singles Chart 13
1997 "We Have Explosive" UK Singles Chart 12


  1. ^ a b Allmusic ((( Dead Cities > Overview )))
  2. ^ "Music Review: Music Review: 'Dead Cities', by The Future Sound of London". Entertainment Weekly. 22 November 1996. 
  3. ^ Q (11/96, p.122) – 3 Stars (out of 5) – " effects-laden stream of consciousness. Here you are as likely to run into the spectral beauty of an ersatz choir as you are the sound of exploding TVs. The keynote, though, is doom, death, and decay....Is it art? Not without several stiff drinks inside you."
  4. ^ Muzik (11/96, p.128) – 4 out of 5 – "...Bleak and unforgiving, set adrift on a sea of angst....Corrosive beats lend a fierce rhythmic urgency to the dense backdrop of sampled noise....[with] a symphonic flair that most ambient/techno pretenders would scarcely imagine, let alone attempt..."
  5. ^ "The Future Sound of London – Dead Cities (staff review)". Sputnikmusic. Retrieved 12 February 2012. 
  6. ^ Alternative Press (12/96, p.74) – 5 (out of 5) "...perhaps the most complete, vibrant and challenging set of music you'll hear this year..."
  7. ^ "The Future Sound of London – Dead Cities (Virgin) « Headphone Commute". 15 April 2010. Retrieved 12 February 2012. 
  8. ^ "Future Sound of London – Dead Cities – almost cool music review". Retrieved 12 February 2012. 
  9. ^ Christgau, Robert. "Consumer Guide: The Future Sound of London". Village Voice. Retrieved 20 August 2016. 
  10. ^ Future Sound Of London – Dead Cities – almost cool music review
  11. ^ "The Future Sound of London – Welcome to the Galaxial Pharmaceutical v7". Retrieved 12 February 2012. 
  12. ^ "Future Sound of London". Archived from the original on 18 May 2006. Retrieved 12 February 2012. 

External links[edit]