Senser, what can you say about the crossover legends that hasn’t already been said before. They changed the alternative music landscape forever in 1994 with the release of their debut album ‘Stacked Up’; an album of pure inventiveness that influenced a generation. I remember hearing it for the first time in my mates car ( yes, you Aaron Ashurst ) as we travelled to a long forgotten gig, I was totally blown away by the sound, the mixing of genres, the crushing guitar riffs, the female counter vocal, all of it really, and went out the next day to buy it, HMV had one left, and it was mine, and so started my love affair with Senser.
‘StackedUp’ is now twenty years old and has been remastered, re-released and rebranded as ‘StackedUpXX’. It contains 2 cd’s, one of ‘Stacked UpXX’, and the other a collection of remixes and unreleased tracks.
As much as a groundbreaking album this was, can it, and has it stood the test of time?
It has been a while since I have fully listened to the album, just dipping in and out now and again, though I have caught the band on tour recently both in Manchester and at the Hammerfest festival a few years back.
Opener track ‘States Of Mind’ tears from the speakers and reminds us just how fresh the Senser sound still is, I defy anybody to name the date this was originally released on hearing this for the first time.
I won’t dwell too much on this first cd, if you’re a Sensor fan you will already have it, and if you’re not, then you should be. What I will mention though is the new production, it makes the whole album sound crisper, cleaner, while enhancing the overall sound, deeper bass, fuller guitar, as some tracks with the original mix did sound slightly muddled in parts, though nothing major. The subject matter’s that have given Senser much of their song ideas; Politics, Injustice, Big Business ( banks ) are still as relevant today, if not more so than when Senser first wrote them, and so lose nothing in the impact they make on new fans.
‘Stacked Up’ in my eyes, fully deserves the “classic album” stamp of approval, it is an ingenious mix of metal guitar riffs, rap vocals, electronic music and syncopated dance beats. The second cd is much more interesting though ( for a Senser fan ) as it contains remixes from Stacked Up as well as tracks from Senser’s 1995 unreleased 2nd album.
The first thing you notice is that this cd contains three remixes of Age Of Panic. At well over eight minutes the last Age Of Panic remix is a gem, while the other two follow the songs structure, one faster, one slower than the original, this ‘Eat Static Saturated Slug Mix’ kicks off with some rather trippy keyboards before the Age Of Panic signature guitar riff takes over, then it’s back to the electronic wizardry, very little of the original track remains, but there is just enough bubbling under the surface, making a guest appearance every now and again to remind that this is in fact Age Of Panic.
Looking back at the remaining tracks, only three on here are from the unreleased second album. ‘Twice As’ is a typical sounding Senser track,’Tin Can Hurricane’ heads into Hip-Hop territory while ‘Fast Song’ is moving more in a metal direction with some blistering guitar work.
Just a quick background story on the 2nd album that never was, back in ’95 Senser had been on tour solidly for nearly three years. They had played all over Europe, the US and Japan before starting recording the second album… they got halfway through recording, went on tour round the States again 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. During the spring of 1997 they recorded the second album, and then 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. Once again musical differences became apparent and in February 1999 the band decided to split.
The band, now reformed again with the original line-up recorded and released their third studio album SCHEMAtic, and then In 2009, they released ‘How To Do Battle’.
In 2013, they released their fifth album ‘To the Capsules’ via Pledgemusic and toured with Erika Footman on vocals in place of Kerstin Haigh.
Stacked Up XX will be released on the 17th November: a deluxe double CD box set with Senser collectibles, double vinyl album and digital editions will be available, containing a re-mastered version of the original record, remixes and unreleased tracks.
1 Age Of Panic (Git-O-Rama Mix)
2 Twice As (Unreleased 1995 2nd album)
3 Tin Can Hurricane (Unreleased 1995 2nd album)
4 Fast Song (Unreleased 1995 2nd album)
5 States Of Mind – Fusewire Remix
6 Age Of Panic (The Sick Man Remix)
7 Eject (Over Zealous Mix)
8 Switch (Depth Charge First Venom Mix)
9 The Key (Liquid Lunch Mix)
10 Door Game – Phut Demo
11 Age Of Panic (Eat Static Saturated Slug Mix)