If it wasn't for mistakes, the lot of the compulsive record collector would be a lot less interesting, and in 2002, the Future Sound of London made a whopper. Promo copies of their album The Isness (originally released under their side-project name Amorphous Androgynous) were sent out prior to release. Reviews were printed. Review copies ended up in used record stores and on P2P sites. And then FSOL co-leader Gary Cobain had a change of heart, declaring that the album had too much "masculine energy," and completely remixed and restructured the whole album before it was properly released. Normally, that would be that, except that somehow the band's American label were given masters of the original pre-release version of the album, and the entire first U.S. pressing of The Isness consisted of the wrong version of the album, a problem that was quickly rectified. In 2004, under a combination of both of the band names, Future Sound of London released a two-disc set called The Otherness, but contrary to expectation, it's not simply both versions of the album brought together; instead, The Otherness collects most but not all of the scotched version of The Isness (a minor interlude called "Yes My Brother" is gone entirely, and "The Galaxial Pharmaceutical" is edited), several previously unreleased tracks recorded during the same sessions, a song from the original U.K. vinyl version of the album, and a handful of remixes from associated singles and EPs. The original tracks from the first version of the album increase the '60s-vintage druggy psychedelic haze that permeates all of these sessions, while the single remixes are more traditionally electronic in the tradition of FSOL's earlier records. For fans (many of whom have probably already acquired the original version of this album through various means), it's the previously unheard tracks that are the primary point of interest, and they're an intriguing lot. In particular, "Rural Green" mixes a pastoral late-'60s Pink Floyd feel with the slow, sensuous beats of downtempo electronica, a combination that works surprisingly well. This isn't the whole story, but it does tie up most of the loose ends.
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AllMusic Review by Stewart Mason