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The BBC's Radiophonic Workshop, best known for their pioneering use of electronic instruments on the TV series Doctor Who, were an influence on many British electronic artists in the 1970s, and this track suggests that The Future were among those artists.
Mainly instrumental, the piece is particularly reminiscent of the Radiophonic Workshop's incidental music for Doctor Who stories in the early 1970s. The primary motif is a pastiche of ancient Egyptian music and the track concludes with a brief spoken word section taken from J G Ballard's The Atrocity Exhibition (chapter four, You: Coma: Marilyn Monroe).
Released on The Golden Hour Of The Future
C'est Grave
This is a collaboration between The Human League and their tour manager/engineer Timothy Pearce, who provides lead vocals.
It is certainly one of the most bizarre tracks associated with the League; musically, it could almost be a blueprint for the New Romantic dancefloor antics of Visage (who this track pre-dates), but Timothy Pearce's demented vocals are a world away from those of Steve Strange! It's virtually impossible to imagine Philip singing this one...
Released on Dance Like A Star
Circus Of Death
One of the League's earliest and most intriguing recordings, the original version came about when the group first attempted to cover Iggy Pop's Night Clubbing. Martyn: "We had the echo unit doubling the beat and created another beat, and we decided 'this is too good for Night Clubbing - we'll use it for a track of our own'".
The lyrics mainly concern a fictional psychopathic clown and his drug-crazed followers, but the song also makes reference to Commissioner Steve McGarrett from the TV series Hawaii Five-O. (Martyn: "We were trying to get Phil to say 'One, two, three, book him, Chin' at the beginning of the song.")
The song was also partly inspired by Philip K Dick's science-fiction novel, Ubik.
The original version ended with a sample from John Carpenter's 1974 sci-fi film, Dark Star, though this only appeared on the Fast Product single (probably removed from later releases because of problems with copyright clearance). The single's sleeve included this note: "Dominion is the name given to the fictitious drug administered by the ringmaster/clown to subjugate those who fall prey to his power."
An alternate version of the Fast Product recording appeared on the 'Human League cassette'. This replaced Philip's spoken introduction with a piece of dialogue about solar winds. Also, the song faded out after the penultimate verse, though the Dark Star extract was again appended to the end of the track.
When re-recorded in 1979 for the group's debut album, the song opened with another sample, of an ITV presenter announcing the imminent transmission of an episode of Hawaii Five-O. This was followed the Dominion jingle, after which the song began in earnest. Although this was a fine version, most would argue that the original's low-budget gave it a slightly more chilling edge.
Martyn and Ian produced a new (and not at all chilling) version of the song for Hot Gossip in 1981, which lasted almost seven minutes and included some rather dubious wildlife sound effects, ending with synthesized whipcracks and the sounds of a fairground organ. This was released on the Geisha Boys And Temple Girls LP - see Miscellaneous releases (part one). The song was also amusingly covered in industrial gothic style by German band Project Pitchfork in 1993 on their Carrion single, using the same sample of the aforementioned ITV presenter.
Fast Product version released on Being Boiled, some editions of the 'Human League cassette', Reproduction (CD only) and Fast Product [The First Year Plan] - see Compilations (part one)
Album version released on Reproduction
Album version's promotional video released on VHS Greatest Hits (1988 and 1995 editions) and The Very Best Of DVD - see Compilations (part two)
The Circus Of Dr. Lao
For years, this track has been circulated on bootleg cassettes as Circus Of Dr Boo, credited to The Future. Not only was the title wrong, but no members of The Future are actually involved! But this track is actually connected to the early work of The Human League...

Philip: "I remember borrowing Martyn's synthesizer one weekend, when he was away. By the time he had come back, I had made my first Philip Oakey composition. It was called The Circus Of Dr Lao. The title came from a book by the science-fiction writer Charles G Finney. It was a Joy Divison type of dirge with bells, clangs and somebody talking on the telephone. It was terrible!"

Also, bootleg cassettes have generally presented this track as a 23-minute 'epic'. In fact, that version is actually a series of six recordings heard individually one after the other. They show how the piece was built up, track by track. Quite how the tracks ever came to be distributed in this form is a mystery!
The first recording is simply what might loosely be described as the bass-line. This is followed by the same track with the addition of clanging sounds, and to this, harsh, vaguely percussive effects are added for the third recording. The fourth and fifth recordings add spooky effects and high-pitched synthesizer melodies, reminiscent of the pseudo-Egyptian melodies used by The Future in Cairo. The sixth and presumably final recording features the voice of someone (Philip?) having a difficult telephone conversation: "Hello? Doctor.... Doctor what? Sorry? Doctor... who? Hello?", et cetera.
Released on The Golden Hour Of The Future
Crow And A Baby
Like Austerity / Girl One and Marianne, this song looks at father-daughter relationships, albeit somewhat obliquely. Over a catchy stop-start rhythm, Philip delivers one of the group's less charitable lyrics, though the idea for his words came from a surprisingly innocent source...
Philip: "Crow And A Baby was written because of a children's show called You & Me where the characters were a crow and a hamster. I used to watch TV with the sound off and get ideas from the pictures." Presumably the song never actually had the title Crow And A Hamster! The finished lyrics probably wouldn't have been deemed appropriate for children's TV; lines such as "Now I want all fathers dead" would undoubtably have upset most parents!
Incidentally, the original recording was just over five minutes long, but the final eighty or ninety seconds were edited from the released version. The removed section featured little more than further detuning of the synthesizers, as hinted at by the closing moments of the album version, and various other incidental sounds here and there.
Released on Travelogue
Simply an alternate mix of I Don't Depend On You, almost instrumental and featuring none of Philip's vocals.
Released on I Don't Depend On You, Travelogue (CD only)