REVIEW:  Dee Long - “Been Here Before"

Bullseye Records - 1999 - BLP2CD 4014
2 disc set
By Dave Bradley

In 1999, Dee released a follow up to his 1998 "Digital" EP which was a 2 disc set called "Been Here Before". It's amazing! These recordings were done as demos, but not necessarily demos for future released tracks. Many, if not most, were done to demo the equipment and staff available at ESP studios (where Magentalane and many other great albums were recorded) and at AIR Studios where Dee worked in the mid 80s. They show off the recording abilities, the Fairlight CM synthesizer abilities and the creativeness of Dee's work as an engineer, arranger, producer. Considering these weren't meant to be heard by the general public, but by other musicians who were looking for a studio to work in, it's amazing just how great these tracks really are!

Here are the tracks on this two disc set:

Phobos (CD 1)
1. Space Station departure
2. Never Go Back [Full Length Version]
3. Saturn Calling
4. What Is The Question?
5. I Cry Out
6. Hot Winter's Night
7. Angel
8. Lazer Lights second sighting
9. Release Tension
10. Dinosaurs Aside
11. Deep In The Jungle
12. Blow Away
13. Been Here Before
14. Space Station docking
15. Proper Time

Deimos (CD 2)
1. Theme From Red Planet/ Shimmering Sea
2. Digital
3. Someone Shot A UFO
4. Fabricating
5. Dinosaurs Outside
6. What You Say
7. Ursa Major Jam, i)Andromeda Strains, ii) Nebula Blues, iii) Mars Bar Rock, iv)Solar Surfing, v) Re-entry Blues
8. Hot Winter's Night (Extended Mix)
9. You And Me (Talk To Me)
10. Thought You'd Never Ask
11. What If...

Disc 1 has the more complete tracks.

Space Station (departure) and Space Station (docking) are two different recordings of the same song. Never Go Back is the same song, same recording, but a different edit than the version on the Digital EP from 1998. It's got an extra verse at the end that drastically changes the mood of the song.

Saturn Calling was actually rescused from a cassette and is truly beautiful! Lush harmonies, cool effects, and sampling technology at it's earliest are all combined to make this a really neat track!

What Is The Question? is amazing. This should have been released and could have been a big hit!

I Cry Out is one of my favorites on this set. It's got a really cool acoustic guitar section in the chorus that is beautiful.

Hot Winters Night is powerful and bombastic. Very awesome! Enough said!

Angel is an instrumental that is very dance oriented and should have been released back in it's time and been a hit single.

Lazer Lights second sighting is a different recording than the version on the "Digital" EP.

Release Tension is an exploration of sampling technology with a dance beat.

Dinosaurs Aside is a play on words (see disc two) and is an odd track to say the least. It's built around several repeated samples.

Deep In The Jungle, Blow Away and Proper Time are all beautiful pop songs with great guitar and beautiful arrangements and could all stand on their own as singles.

Been Here Before is definitely my top favorite on this set. It's got a vocal that pulls me in, a melody line that does something funky in the chorus and repeatedly grabs my attention, and an absolutely beautiful arrangement.

For disc 2 there are more "pieces" than completed works.

Theme From Red Planet / Shimmering Sea ia an interesting piece, but never seems to go anywhere. It's more like something created for a movie soundtrack to play in the background during a scene.

Digital is a very different recording than the one on the "Digital" EP and is a very early demo of this song.

Someone Shot A UFO is more playing around with the sampling abilities of the Fairlight synthesizer.

Fabricating is still more sampling.

Dinosaurs Outside is made up of the same samples as Dinosaurs Aside from the first disc and can be considered an extended romp through those samples and various repetitions of them.

What You Say is an interesting track, but it doesn't seem to go anywhere.

The real jem of disc 2 is the Ursa Major Jam. This is a jam with members of the Burgerheads that was recorded live off the floor and later edited for flow. Truly incredible.

Hot Winter's Night (Extended Mix) is as great as the track from disc 1.

You And Me (Talk To Me, Thought You'd Never Ask, and What If... are all decent stand along songs that needed some finishing touches to complete them, but which appear here without any such finishing touches.

If you liked the "Digital" EP, you'll like this. If you need more of the "Digital" EP, you need this. Get this 2 disc set. You won't regret it.


- Dave Bradley – March 5, 2008.