I first heard about Do Androids Dream of Electric Beats while reading Philip K. Dick’s classic sci-fi novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, from which the album borrows its name. I admit I downloaded it solely because of the title. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep and Ridley Scott’s film adaptation “Blade Runner” are two of my favorite sci-fi works. With such an awesome title, how could this album not be equally as fantastic? I was just worried there might be a bad voiceover by Harrison Ford as featured in the 1982 theatrical release of “Blade Runner.”
A difficult to obtain legally album, “Do Androids Dream of Electric Beats” was originally produced only on vinyl. A 2 disc CD version is available, copies often retail for $85 or more. If you know where to look, you can find copies floating around the Internet however.
A whopping three disc set, the collection is split into distinct sets. The Shin Mix, is the shortest of the trio coming in at just under an hour (55 minutes). The following two discs are each 74 minutes long. While there are distinct tracks, which can be viewed on Wikipedia, the album was created to be listened to as a continuous mix. Even when playing the CD, it is difficult to tell where one track ends and the next begins. UNKLE, a British DJ collective, crafted the album through heavy sampling. If you’re familiar with the songs used, you may recognize them despite much editing and mixing to create distortion. Lead singer of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Anthony Kiedis’ vocals are apparent on the second track, and while it may seem as if the audio is skipping, the effect is intentional.
Other well-known samples used in the set include The Beatles’ “Tomorrow Never Knows,” Fleetwood Mac’s “The Chain,” and the Star Wars theme song taken from an 8-bit NES game. Appropriately, the mix also samples “Blade Runner.” Luckily, it is a song from the soundtrack and not Harrison Ford’s narration. Seriously, if you haven’t seen the original cut consider yourself blessed and stick with the Director’s Cut or Final Cut. UNKLE’s three disc collection provides literally hours of enjoyment. Set aside some time for this one, as each disc really deserves a continuous listen. If you choose to break it up you can pause a track and resume play later, but I recommend playing each disc of Do Androids Dream of Electric Beats all the way through no matter how many pause breaks you may require.