Premiere: SEM – Area 5 [BYTES]


5 Minute Read

Bytes readies reissue of the killer 1990s electro EPs by SEM aka Damon Baxter.

In the neon-lit alleys where the shadows creep, In Area 5, where the code runs deep, Beneath the hum of SEM’s thrumming beats, Lies a city of circuitry, where reality retreats.

Detroit techno pulses through the veins, As dystopian dreams dance in chains, In the flickering lights of byte-laden screens, Where echoes of the future meet shattered dreams.


Strings of dystopian sci-fi weave, Through the fabric of what we believe, In the symphony of cybernetic cries, Where humanity fades and the machine’s sighs.

John Carpenter’s ghosts haunt the streets, Vangelis’s echoes in every beat, In this city of shadows, where no one’s free, The soundtrack of a world lost in entropy.



Earlier this month Bytes announced the reissue of the killer 1990s electro EPs by SEM (aka Damon Baxter, who would go on to record as Deadly Avenger) on May 17, 2024. The second track to be made available for public consumption is Area 5, taken from The Demon EP, the second SEM release, on which Damon expanded the pure old-school electro SEM sound to include elements of Detroit techno and dystopian sci-fi strings, giving off serious John Carpenter/Vangelis’s Blade Runner soundtrack vibes.

The original 12”s have been out of print since they were released on J Saul Kane’s Electron Industries imprint in 1995 and 1996, with original vinyl copies changing hands for serious money on Discogs. The tracks have never been available digitally. With the original masters MIA, the tracks have been lovingly remastered from vinyl by Keith Tenniswood, who as part of Two Lone Swordsmen (alongside the late Andrew Weatherall), knows a thing or two about producing top-notch electro music. The resulting tracks feel like they could have been recorded yesterday, but have also stayed true to the rawness of the source material.

There is scant information about SEM online, with most of the responses lost in the mists of time… However, SEM was popular with Dave Clarke, who in 1996 included ‘Phox’ on his X-Mix (Electro Boogie) compilation mix, which found SEM in exalted company, alongside tracks by electro legends such as Hashim, Imperial Brothers, Model 500, Elektroids, LFO and Dynamix II. On release, when SEM was played at a club in Detroit, punters queued to get a track ID. Robert “Children” Miles included ‘Red Dragon’ on his 1997 In the Mix compilation. More recently, Helena Hauff featured ‘Hybrid’ on a mix for Radio 1.

Bytes are reissuing the EPs digitally and as a limited edition CD and a collectors’ edition minidisc, which will probably have sold out by the time you read this.

 Listen below: