will we get a new fsol album?

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nanio tine
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will we get a new fsol album?

Post by nanio tine » Thu Jun 24, 2021 5:34 pm

between 2008-2016 with the releases of environments 2-6 (and archives too) it felt like fsol were working toward creating a body of work that could compete with their 90s material - a series of albums that felt like one grew from the next and each had its own sound world you could get lost in

since then its felt very "bitty" :-
lots of one off tracks put together - the calendar albums like this, lots of aliases, new and old tracks, they don't feel like 'albums' in the fsol sense. also ramblings eps and 3 books compilation are nice but don't have a real single sound that creates a sound world (plus I think there are some archives in here, one track has drums from kai)

re-recordings and remixes of old 90s tracks. I really like these a lot but they aren't really 'new'

live album of studio jams by Brian own his own

weird things that aren't really mixes or albums that contain previously released and unheard tracks and archives and not even released on their own label - controlled vista, mind maps, what even are these??

archives 9 had tracks from calendars and different tracks on different formats so it never felt like a complete album in its own right

+ tons of compilation tracks

even humanoid is mostly eps and one off tracks now with only a quarter of new tracks on the album built by album

I've been reading that environments 7 is still a long way off from being released and the tracks we've heard from that are all so different to each other... north point sounds like environments 6 and then there's a version of a classical violin sonata with the woman who does strings for amorphous androgynous playing


don't get me wrong I think there are lots and lots of great tracks coming out and I love the rerecordings especially but tracks aren't what I listen to fsol for. Garry once said tracks are ten a penny and they wanted to do something deeper. but everything now seems like one off tracks or albums that are just mixes of random tracks put together and don't flow. there even always gaps on fsol albums these days and not even at the vinyl breaks



so do you think we will ever get a new 'proper' fsol album that makes its own soundworld that invites you to explore it like lifeforms - dead cities - environments 4 - paths ep etc
or is it all just tracks these days and old style fsol is dead?


and more importantly - is this SATISFYING to you as a fan??
Last edited by nanio tine on Thu Jun 24, 2021 6:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Ross
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Re: will we get a new fsol album?

Post by Ross » Thu Jun 24, 2021 6:14 pm

I would say Environmental from A:E:V is definitely an album in its own right, and would go so far to say that it and Views feel like they inhabit the same world, even if the latter does contain a few previously released tracks.

I get where you're coming from, though. I think, track-for-track, the hit-rate is as high as it's ever been - we've had 'Zen Jenny' and 'Rain Forest' recently, which are both examples of FSOL at their finest - and I enjoy most of what comes along, but you're right in that we've not had a really focused album in four years now. I think the whole 'world' thing is something we, as listeners, tend to put on albums when it might not actually be there - there's an interview somewhere in which Gaz says none of their albums have specific themes or concepts - but when they've put together a 'proper' album in the past, there's always been a very concerted attempt to create something with a unified atmosphere and a flowing structure, and the re-recordings have shown that they're still capable of that, as they're up there with the '90s records in terms of cohesion for me. So I'm sure we'll get more records like that in the future.

As to why Environment Seven is taking so long, I wouldn't be able to say for certain. As we gathered from the Van der Graaf Generator website interview, the fall-out from the Noel album meant Gaz took a break from Amorphous for a few years, hence getting a bunch of completely new FSOL albums from 2012-2016, so I would imagine his intense focus on Head Chakra - not to mention his own 'activist' stuff outside of music - meant the sessions for Seven were slower going (and thus why Brian's had so much time to put into Humanoid); the huge delays in vinyl manufacture that have put the Calendars LP back time and time again are why I've concluded that it's likely it'll be next year before we hear the album now (the same with Mantra) as last I heard there were no solid release plans yet. If I had to guess why it didn't go off for manufacture last year when we believed it was complete, I'd say We Have Explosive, Music for 3 Books, Music for Calendars, 7 Songs, Orfan Atmosphere and Mind Maps (plus anything else on its way) in the space of six months meant they might have wanted to put it back so as not to clash with those. The current release rate is definitely overwhelming, but I get the feeling the Environments are still considered bigger and more important statements, and thus giving the release some space would definitely make sense.

edit: a certain Mr. Dougans informs me this speculation is pretty much entirely incorrect!

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Re: will we get a new fsol album?

Post by Trigga Bo » Fri Jun 25, 2021 10:07 am

nanio tine & Ross - I agree with many things 8-)

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Re: will we get a new fsol album?

Post by nanio tine » Fri Jul 02, 2021 5:36 pm

ahh yes I always forget about a e v, that was maybe a bit too minimal sounding for me but yes it does have a unique sound world.

what I think worries me is that I feel the fsol name is being watered down. if you look at first 10 years of fsoldigital 2007-2016 the only time THE FUTURE SOUND OF LONDON was used was for archives and environments, basically the "big" albums. everything else was heads of agreement, polemical, part submerged, 6 oscillators, ems piano, glass girl, jazz mags, sand sound folly, suburban domestic, yage, blackhill transmitter, synthi-a, ect.
so you knew that if you were getting another alias then it might be more minimal or experimental or tied to a genre or something and therefore you're expectations weren't there to compare it to dead cities or whatever

according to ross's blog in the last 4 years though there have been 21 new releases attributed to fsol and other than a e v and archived 9 none of them have been "big" releases, they've all been reworked old tracks or eps or controlled vistas or other mixes or calendar albums or compilations of tracks they've already released recently or whatever. it doesn't really feel like the fsol name has any importance now, its just used to put out weird minimal experiments and collections of random tracks. I've seen a few times online now on forums and Discogs and such, people saying things like oh its just another fsol release or that they're just flooding the market with rubbish and its sad because they deserve better. when Edgar Froese ruined tangerine dream by putting out five or six cds a year it was so sad because it was like he was disrespecting the importance of the name and the quality associated with it

ross what you say about environments 7 delays makes sense and I suppose that's out of the bands hands but it still means its going to be close to 6 years between 6 and 7 which is really strange. I can't understand why they don't just bash out some tracks however they do it (virtually, emailing, whatever way they work at a distance) and then have Brian do some of his solo fsol tracks and mix them all together into a new environments album every 2 years like they used to, instead of filling the gap with 3rd rate fsol releases. because the amount of songs they put out now is also way too many and it feels like theres no quality control. like last years calendar album I thought was really poor, 2 or 3 very good tracks and the rest just very boring, tracks that sound like demos. most of those tracks don't deserve to be put alongside almost any track fsol put out between 1992 and 2016.

I don't want this to sound like a really angry post because fsol have been there for me through so much over the past 30 years and I love most of their music dearly. even gaz's dodgy views wouldn't be enough to put me off a proper dougans & cobain fsol album with solid memorable tracks that all blend together to make a really great classic fsol atmosphere. but i keep thinking this might not happen again because instead all we get is forgettable stuff like controlled vista 2.7 or boring tracks like "reassurance" or "idulkko bridge" and this makes me really sad.

I know this board is a bit quiet but would love to know other peoples thoughts. do you think the bands current output is as good and consistent as their 90s stuff or as the environments/archives era? is anyone else struggling and feeling like it might not be worth trying to keep up with all the various tracks and releases because they're leave you cold?

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Re: will we get a new fsol album?

Post by Ross » Fri Jul 02, 2021 6:07 pm

nanio tine wrote: Fri Jul 02, 2021 5:36 pmif you look at first 10 years of fsoldigital 2007-2016 the only time THE FUTURE SOUND OF LONDON was used was for archives and environments, basically the "big" albums.
You're forgetting Globular and Life in Moments, and even By Any Other Name and The Pulse EPs which had the FSOL name on the front, despite being various aliases. But I do get your point, there does seem to have been a shift from small-scale alias releases to what might be considered mid-tier FSOL releases, and I can't say I completely understand the decision myself, although I respect the band's choices and the artistic and financial reasons behind whatever they do.

The one thing that has been lost, for me, is the excitement of a new album. 2008-2016 was definitely a period when you might get the odd digital side-project thing, as you say, but every new Environments release was really exciting and something I'd look forward to. We'd get rumours, brief updates from Brian, then the album cover would be added to Amazon, then a tracklist would be found on some website, and we'd have a few weeks of just titles and a cover to begin to wonder what the album would sound like, and maybe then some clips would appear on Juno, and finally it would come along and it'd be the first new FSOL music in maybe a year or more. 2016 felt like a bonus year because we got Ignition of the Sun and Life in Moments as well. These days there's so much new material that it feels like there's always a new release just around the corner and therefore there's no real build up to a new release, which I definitely miss.

Your point about non-Environments/Archives releases all being aliases is an interesting one, though, because I'd say in some ways things like the Controlled Vista mixes sort of fill that gap, being maybe slightly less 'essential' FSOL releases. The Calendar albums are kind of similar in that they don't quite feel 'core' albums in the way the Environments, or even the more recent Archives, do. I will say that I think the 2017 and 2019 Calendars are really excellent with a number of recent favourites in them, even if they lack the unified soundscape approach.

In truth, I've certainly listened to a lot of the smaller scale releases less, in the same way I've listened to most of the alias releases less. At the same time, I've listened to the re-recordings, A:E:V and Archive 9 as much as I would any 'main' FSOL album, and the 2017 Calendar, Music for 3 Books and Built by Humanoid a lot, even if they don't have the 'soundworld' thing down.

I still have high hopes for E7, the material heard so far has all been great.

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Re: will we get a new fsol album?

Post by Vandit89 » Fri Jul 02, 2021 8:21 pm

Agree with nanio tine.
A lot of music it is not good, unfortunately..
Especially this calendar album (2021 year). Only Zen Jenny for me sounds interesting.

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Re: will we get a new fsol album?

Post by nanio tine » Sat Jul 03, 2021 1:01 am

Ross wrote: Fri Jul 02, 2021 6:07 pm You're forgetting Globular and Life in Moments
lol I knew you'd find something!

and I suppose you're right, we don't have to consider the less important releases in the same way but I just think that if they're going to put something out as fsol then it should sound like fsol. and I don't mean a special musical style because obviously fsol have always changed styles, but it should sound deep and rich and varied and be enveloping and atmospheric and take us away from the real world and I don't think that's the case with a lot of those recent releases.

and I agree with you about the excitement. I remember when environments 2 came along out and though we knew it was mostly old tracks it sounded like a new fsol album for the first time in 11 years and then environments 3 had guaranteed new material and was a return to dead cities world, and 4 was 100% new and sounded totally different to earlier albums. and then 5 had gaz promoting it and was pushed with a 'point of death' concept and it was huge and epic and emotional, and then 6/6.5 was this big weird double album with half the tracks sounding nothing like other fsol and a bunch of gaz-like amorphous tracks and it being a headfuck. and every time it was really cool because you knew this was a new fsol sound and you would spend months really getting into it and wanting to go deeper and explore the new world.

but I don't get that from calendar albums or controlled vistas or things. they're just collections of sketches and experiments and archives and sometimes they're good and sometimes they're not but theres no sense of the release being an event like it used to be.

I still get excited when other bands I like release new albums so I dont think its being old and cynical but I just don't want fsol to end up being this band who flood the market with subpar material and stop being relevant. the only fsol songs in the past couple of years that sound like they're doing something different or new just sound like humanoid songs, but up until then every new fsol release surprised me because it was so different to the last ones.

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Re: will we get a new fsol album?

Post by epitome » Sat Jul 03, 2021 7:18 am

Ross wrote: Fri Jul 02, 2021 6:07 pm The one thing that has been lost, for me, is the excitement of a new album. 2008-2016 was definitely a period when you might get the odd digital side-project thing, as you say, but every new Environments release was really exciting and something I'd look forward to. We'd get rumours, brief updates from Brian, then the album cover would be added to Amazon, then a tracklist would be found on some website, and we'd have a few weeks of just titles and a cover to begin to wonder what the album would sound like, and maybe then some clips would appear on Juno, and finally it would come along and it'd be the first new FSOL music in maybe a year or more. 2016 felt like a bonus year because we got Ignition of the Sun and Life in Moments as well. These days there's so much new material that it feels like there's always a new release just around the corner and therefore there's no real build up to a new release, which I definitely miss.
I hadn't even realised I felt this way until I read this - but yes, now you mention it, I don't really get that feeling of excitement for a new FSOL release and I do miss that. I really like almost all of the stuff they've released over the last few years, even if it isn't feeling as cohesive as some of their earlier albums, but as you said there are so many releases now that it is difficult to get excited for the next one when the previous release still feels very new.

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Re: will we get a new fsol album?

Post by tengram » Sun Jul 04, 2021 5:52 pm

Maybe I'm in the minority, but I've looked forward to each of the reworking releases (e.g., My Kingdom (Revisited), Yage 2019, Cascade 2020, and WHE 2021) with the same level of excitement I had in the 1990s when things would come out.

I agree about the other types of releases since A: E: V (Calendars and what not)--definitely more "bitty" and not grabbing the attention the same way.
Last edited by tengram on Sat Jul 10, 2021 7:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: will we get a new fsol album?

Post by Ross » Sun Jul 04, 2021 6:25 pm

Totally with you on the re-recordings, the My Kingdom one took a couple of years to sink in (love it now), the rest have grabbed me on first play and I rate them as highly as the band’s 90s multi-path singles.
They are also the only ‘traditional’ format releases we’ve had since then so it’s a sign that that style definitely isn’t dead.

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Re: will we get a new fsol album?

Post by tengram » Wed Jul 07, 2021 6:36 pm

Actually, upon listening to it again today, I have to say I think Music For Three Books does work pretty well combined as 1 "cohesive" album. It didn't click with me as strongly the first few listens, but now its definitely growing on me.

As I also mentioned in another thread, I wonder if they're considered putting this one out eventually on LP, like Calendars? It would work well as a 3 sided, 2 LP set, with each original volume on 1 side, and then an etching on side 4. Or perhaps side 4 could contain bonus material...

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Re: will we get a new fsol album?

Post by Ross » Wed Jul 07, 2021 6:56 pm

I think 3 Books is a very good album, but I'm also with nanio tine in that it doesn't really have a particular theme / world / whatever, in the way the best FSOL albums do. Obviously it's all subjective, but things like Environments 2's arctic / icy theme, Dead Cities and E3's cityscapes, Lifeforms and E4 having more exotic / tropical feels and so on. I mean, as a compilation of three freebie EPs it could easily be mediocre, but pretty much all the tracks on it are excellent, so no complaints.

I would imagine if it was coming out on LP it probably would have done so already. Double LPs are also very expensive to produce, which is probably why E6/6.5 came out as edited single LP versions rather than the full things. Never say never though.

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Re: will we get a new fsol album?

Post by nanio tine » Fri Jul 09, 2021 1:56 pm

yes I think the reworking albums for record store day are all great and the best thing they've done in recent years. at the same time its sad that their best stuff at the moment is all based on 90s tracks and it gives the idea that they can't do really strong coherent NEW albums anymore. which I hope isn't true.

and yes I think music for 3 books has lots of great tracks but I don't listen to it and escape into another world the same way I would with classic fsol albums. theres no consistent sound or theme or atmosphere. which is what you would expect as its just three eps put together. but the sound world idea is why fsol were always my favourites ahead of other electronic groups - their music transports me in a way that other bands don't and so much of the recent stuff isn't doing that

also I wish they'd stop reselling the same tracks. I've bought propagate and riverbed three times now, the reworking albums all have some previously released material on. at least with the 90s singles the single versions would normally be different enough!

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Re: will we get a new fsol album?

Post by sheeko » Mon Jul 19, 2021 4:28 am

Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment
Whenever I think of the past, it brings back so many memories
cosmics inconshisness

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