Pande-reviews: 2009.0 (FSOL - EBS Vol.4)

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Pande-reviews: 2007.1 (FSOL - From The Archives Vol.1)

Post by Pandemonium » Mon Dec 01, 2014 4:29 pm

FSOL - From The Archives Vol.1 (06.03.2007) fsoldigital.com - CD TOT 53
(web version registered on 06.03.2007 / CD version released on 23.07.2007)

Image Image

Another one of the initial dozen releases on the opening of FSOLDigital.com was the first volume of 'From The Archives' series. The story goes, this series started when FSOL were prepping their last release for Virgin - Teachings from The Electronic Brain. Digging into their archives to make this compilation, they found the original tapes of hundreds of demo tracks - and the beautiful Archives series was born. (This story is at least partially wrong because the Archives idea was conceived circa 2000 with the initial Fish Smokin' project)

Some of the tracks we've heard before, but only as part of the ISDN mixes, as well as Kiss/Peel/BBC mixes, and the ISDN Show promo CD - but those tracks are renamed in their new Archive incarnations. But what is really fascinating is that most of the tracks (about three quarters) were unheard and unreleased before. This first Archive for example has only 6 (out of 17) tracks that were heard before but never officially released. And while a small number of tracks are obviously leftovers that wouldn't fit an actual album, most of them are priceless gems! They really could've released at least two to three more albums that would match the quality of Lifeforms / ISDN / Dead Cities. But on the other hand, it's understandable they were too busy with dozens of projects and then the silent period (1998-2000) came. And we have no info if the final versions that we are listening on the Archives weren't re-brushed and post-produced before they were released in 2007. My guess would be very little to no re-brushing of the tracks was done.

There was a slight problem with the first three volumes of the Archives - there were no segues. The ones that appeared later (vol.4 and onwards) were segued and had much better flow - somewhere between an ISDN transmission and an actual album. One of the signature moves of FSOL was missing, so after a few years and many complains of the fans, in 2012 the first three volumes were re-released with segues and those versions are definitely more pleasant to listen to. They were only released on Juno and will they ever be released on CDs and/or on FSOLDigital.com still remains to be seen. (With the level of BUSY they're going since 2007, I guess this re-release is very low on their list...)

Another 'problem' was the tracklist, or the track names to be more exact - that bother only the more pedant/OCD fans (including me). The tracklist on the web-version and the CD version vary on almost every track. Singlular/plural various-ness is a common thing and the last track is just killing me... Details about the lengths and names from the different editions are given below:

Tracks: (original length : enhanced edition length : original web name : original CD name : possible recording year)

01. (5:19) (5:25) Lizzard Crawl / Lizzard Crawl (1996)
02. (7:42) (8:43) Hallucination / Hallucinations (1995)
03. (5:20) (5:09) Field Of Flowers / Field Of Flower (1993)
04. (0:17) (0:58) Enviroments - Birds / Enviroment F1 (1993)
05. (5:16) (5:20) Still Flowers / Still Flowers (1993)
06. (0:36) (1:04) Enviroments - Gong / Enviroment G1 (1993)
07. (4:48) (4:45) Woodland / The Woodlands (1994)
08. (0:51) (0:47) UU / UU (1996)
09. (7:23) (7:18) Turn Around / Turn Around (1993)
10. (1:48) (1:28) Is This Real / Is This Real (1996)
11. (2:29) (2:38) Mouth Muse / Mouth Muse (1996)
12. (4:20) (4:27) Hazey Day Girl / Hazey Day Girl (1995)
13. (0:38) (0:31) Wt Pavement / Wet Pavement (1996)
14. (7:04) (7:25) Head Hunter / Head Hunter (1997)
15. (3:04) (3:25) Arrived / Arrived (1996)
16. (4:16) (4:12) Pale Moon / Pale Moons (1994)
17. (5:22) (6:20) Nuru Device Send / Neuro Send Device (1996)

Total play original edition: 1:06:33
Total play enhanced edition: 1:09:54

The artwork also seems to be 'from the archives' but probably re-manipulated into new booklets for the CDs. We have the usual suspects (by Buggy G. Riphead): The witch girl, the electronic brain, Vit and the usual sinister dead-nature photos. A new kind of electronic brain appears on almost every post-2007 release, usually on the sound carrier - it looks like a wireframe of the brain with cut-out tentacles. Also, the background of the front cover (pictured above) has the same cover that appeared in the ISDN Show booklet - hinting that these archived tracks are from their ISDN era (1993-1997).

Alright... everybody online...? looking good...
Lets see what we can... see...
(I'm gonna review the 2012 enhanced editions, and hope that they'll be properly released on FSOLDigital.com)

01 - Lizzard Crawl (5:25)
- Definitely one of my all time FSOL favorites. To ask 'why wasn't this one released on a proper album' on this one, and on every other track on the Archives series would be pointless, so I'm gonna do this just this one time: WHY wasn't this one released on a proper album!?!?!? The simplicity of this track is killing me (in a good way). FSOL don't do minimal electronic beats often - but when they do them they are fucking perfect. The piano parts are a bliss, and the genius funky-funky bass is a different cut taken from We Have Explosive Part 3.
- The first peak of this track was in 2006 on FSOL's MySpace page. For possible recording year I would say 1995 or more possibly 1996, because it's obviously from the Dead Cities sessions, but the bassline from WHE says it could've been 1996 (because the WHE longform single was released in early 1997 and recorded in late 1996).

02 - Hallucination (8:43)
- Another one from the Dead Cities sessions (with much older roots). A very different track compared to the previous one but equally beautiful - Hallucination offers a faster trip in the state of mind called FSOL. It was first heard on the Peel Session (29.09.1995) and I've been wondering since then, were those guitar distortions sampled (and from where) or were they played originally for this track. The long ending sague is simply magnificent.
- The Moroccan flute (played by Yage in 1989) seems to be the only thing that connects this track with the Yage track on Dead Cities, and yet we all consider Hallucination a demo version of Yage. Nevermind, they're both great tracks.
- Another working title of this one was Ayahuasca.

03 - Field Of Flowers (5:09)
- This ambient/breaks confuses me a lot. The way the breaks are cut reminds me of Dead Cities, but everything else sounds older. And the fact that we have bright melodic synths immediately tells me that this one wasn't from the famous trio of Lifeforms/ISDN/Dead Cities. There isn't a single bright moment on those albums (and yet they can induce that mood at times... the wizardry of the 'trademarked' euphoric sadness) - well, actually there are a few pure bright moments on Spineless Jelly but lets not get picky. To summarize, I place this track in 1993, as a leftover of the Ephridina sessions.

04 - Environments - Birds (0:58)
- One of the many short abstract pieces that didn't got released back in 1994 on the imagined Environments album. You can hear this one on dozens of ISDN mixes, but the earliest appearance is on the Kiss 100 FM Transmission 2 (19.05.1993).

05 - Still Flowers (5:20)
- The bass and the background melodies (which sound like Vangelis a bit) are a dead giveaway that this track belongs to the Lifeforms sessions, but the upbeat and the faster mood are probably what made it a leftover. The spoken sample says 'ill flower' but this track has nothing to do with the actual Ill Flower from Lifeforms, except it maybe tells us they are from the same session, and Ill Flower was recorded in late 1993 (premiered on Kiss T6 on 25.11.1993).
- The opening samples a Front 242 track, and there's another possible drum sample from Black Dog Productions as Discordian Popes. (see below in the sample library)

06 - Environments - Gong (1:04)
- Another short Environments leftover that didn't find it's place on the albums. The same clangs could be heard on the AST track Esus Flow (Vast Galaxy Remix) and on dozens of ISDN shows. The earliest appearance is same as the fourth track, the Kiss 100 FM Transmission 2 (19.05.1993).
- A recent sample-spotting by Ross tells us the clangs are sampled from the opening of the second Kaftwerk album.

07 - Woodland (4:45)
- The style of the bass and the fact that we first heard it on the BBC Essential Mix (14.05.1994) has me thinking this was recorded on the earliest ISDN sessions in early 1994. It was also available later (in 2006) on the MySpace page.

08 - UU (0:47)
- Short noisy piece, almost impossible to place the recording year. If I have to take a stab in the dark, I'd say 1996 Dead Cities sessions, the sharpness and the mood sound like some Dead Cities segue leftover.

09 - Turn Around (7:18)
- I'd bet real money this track was on the 1st draft on the early Lifeforms album. (we had confirmation that there was at least two scrapped versions before we got the final one) There are so many sounds that ended up on a few tracks on the final Lifeforms version. The beautiful melodic guitars were probably a mood-breaker for the final version of the album. Definitely recorded in mid 1993.

10 - Is This Real (1:28)
- Environment chunk from the Dead Cities era, we heard it on the ISDN Transmission 11, Berlin (Fritz Radio) (06.12.1996). The howling effect at 0:19 taken from The Awakening, a 1980 movie (at 12:22, the first entering of the tomb scene).

11 - Mouth Muse (2:38)
- The dark IDM says it's definitely from the Dead Cities sessions (1996). And the beat seems to be built around human beatboxing, which is cool and furthermore confirms the year - many big-beat and breaks bands were experimenting with beatboxing in 1996/1997. Mouth Muse was performed on the 2009 live shows.

12 - Hazey Day Girl (4:27)
- Another hard one to place. Bright guitar with glitchy IDM beats and percussion. It's possible the guitar was recorded earlier and the beats were added in 1995 with the initial experiments from the Dead Cities sessions, and later it was dropped because the bright guitar didn't fit. Even though this one didn't find it's place on the albums, it is a very beautiful track.

13 - Wt Pavement (0:31)
- A recording of somebody walking along a rainy pavement, another unused segue. Again, stab in the dark, the mood says early 1996 Dead Cities sessions.

14 - Head Hunter (7:25)
- Well, the drums are almost the same with Sendero Luminoso (aka The Shining Path) which will also be released later on the Archives series. Awesome funky bass and wah-wah guitars, and drums and effects that sound recycled from Papua New Guinea, this dark head hunter was recoded in 1997 at the very first Isness sessions. I still wonder how would Isness sound like if it appeared in 1998...

15 - Arrived (3:25)
- Slow moody piece with some LFO experiments from the Dead Cities era. We heard it first on ISDN Transmission 16, France (Fun Radio) (27.02.1997) but it was probably recorded in 1996. On the ISDN Show Promo CD this same track was named Sitting Around - a more appropriate name maybe...

16 - Pale Moon (4:12)
- One of my favorites, trip-hop with a very dark mood and muted trumpet (Miles, is that you?). This one was probably recorded in the late 1994 ISDN sessions, and for some reason didn't end up on the ISDN album.

17 - Nuru Device Send (6:20)
- The glitchy darkness says 1996 Dead Cities sessions. In spite it's 6+ minute running this track sounds unfinished, and that's the probable reason why it was unreleased for a decade.

And now... to the sample library!

Hallucination samples (at 0:00) Deuter - Cicada (album: Cicada, 1982), birds chirping (or maybe they're synths... because... Germans...) most clearly heard after the 2 minute mark (and the next 20 seconds). Same sample used earlier in Lifeforms Path 4, and other chirps landed on FSOL Deseo Reconstruction.

The opening of Still Flowers samples the opening of Front 242 - Rhythm of Time (from Tyranny for You, 1990)


The drum patterns (at 0:40) on Still Flowers are very similar with Black Dog Productions aka Discordian Popes - Fight The Hits (from Bytes, 1993) - at 4:40


Environments - Gong samples Vangelis - Tales of The Future (from Blade Runner, 1982)


Environments - Gong also samples the opening of Kraftwerk - KlingKlang (from Kraftwerk 2, 1972)


Woodland (at 0:21) samples guitar-scapes from Robert Fripp - 1985 (at 3:40) (from Let The Power Fall, 1981)
[more samples from the same album at 1:11 and so on...]


Pale Moon (at 0:56) samples the drums of Intimate Strangers - Love Sounds (from Love Sounds 7" single, 1975)
[the sample is slowed down and sounds like a low sample rate, so possibly played from an S950 or similar.]


Nuru Device Send samples a heavily meshed and pitched down drum break from The Winstons - Amen, Brother (from Color Him Father / Amen, Brother 7" single, 1969) -- every electronic act that was doing breakbeat music in the 90s has sampled this drum-break at least once!


Want to read about the other Archives series? Click away:

From The Archives Vol.1 (06.03.2007) --> It's this post.
From The Archives Vol.2 (06.03.2007)
From The Archives Vol.3 (06.03.2007)
From The Archives Vol.4 (17.10.2007)
From The Archives Vol.5 (29.08.2008)
From The Archives Vol.6 (02.09.2010)
From The Archives Vol.7 (19.11.2012)
From The Archives Vol.8 (11.09.2015)
Last edited by Pandemonium on Sat Oct 08, 2016 3:12 am, edited 6 times in total.
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Re: Pande-reviews: 2007.1 (FSOL - From The Archives Vol.1)

Post by Ross » Mon Dec 01, 2014 5:33 pm

Still Flowers features a sample of someone saying "Ill Flower", which is the most obvious link to the track of that title.

As you say, there are plenty of tracks from the Archives that equal, if not better, album and EP tracks from the same period. Lizzard Crawl is an obvious choice, although for me the winner from Archive 1 is Turn Around - easily one of my all-time favourite FSOL tracks. Otherwise, not so many standouts for me, but certainly the most consistent of the first three: the only misstep, I think, is the last track, which really does seem unfinished. And don't get me started on the title!

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Re: Pande-reviews: 2007.1 (FSOL - From The Archives Vol.1)

Post by Pandemonium » Mon Dec 01, 2014 9:52 pm

And what do you think of the recording years Ross?
I've banged my head around them for quite some time :)
- They don't quite match with your suggestions that you wrote a while back...
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Re: Pande-reviews: 2007.1 (FSOL - From The Archives Vol.1)

Post by epitome » Tue Dec 02, 2014 8:09 am

I love Archive 1 - the only downside for me, as already mentioned by Ross, is the last track - it just feels like half an idea stretched out for 5 minutes. The rest of it is gold :) Great write-up!

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Pande-reviews: 2007.2 (FSOL - From The Archives Vol.2)

Post by Pandemonium » Tue Dec 23, 2014 3:37 pm

FSOL - From The Archives Vol.2 (06.03.2007) fsoldigital.com - CD TOT 54
(web version registered on 06.03.2007 / CD version released on 23.07.2007)

Image Image

Another one of the initial dozen releases on the opening of FSOLDigital.com was the second volume of 'From The Archives' series. Again, fascinating amount of tracks that were unheard and unreleased before, even though this release contains 9 (out of 22) tracks that were heard before, but never officially released.

There was a slight problem with the first three volumes of the Archives - there were no segues. One of the signature moves of FSOL was missing, so after a few years and many complains of the fans, in 2012 the first three volumes were re-released with segues and those versions are definitely more pleasant to listen to.

The artwork of this second volume is rather strange. The front cover is the witch girl, but it looks like someone tried some amateur Photoshop distortion on it, and that spiral object is classic mid 90s usage of objects. The middle of the booklet has an awesome manipulated dead-nature photo, which will end up on the back of the promo vinyl of the Archived EP. Then we have early-to-mid 90s photo of the guys (looking all young) and what seems to be a newer (better 3D) modeling of the electronic brain. The booklet ends with a building block that we've seen in the booklet of Dead Cities.

One other important thing I noticed with this Archive - it's full of bad-ass garage drum beats, ranging from hard-core to bucket sound. I was literally dancing in my office on most of the tracks. I really had loads of fun with this one, even though it's just a bunch of tracks thrown in together (yes, even the segues aren't of much help here).

Tracks: (original length : enhanced edition length : name : possible recording year)

01. (5:36) (5:51) Brujo (1994)
02. (4:31) (4:27) Distant Neblus (1995)
03. (5:22) (5:13) Wanting (1994)
04. (0:38) (0:42) Environment Thunder (Evil Thunder) (1996)
05. (5:21) (5:12) Cellular Control (1993)
06. (3:01) (3:02) Insected (1992)
07. (2:18) (2:19) Night Lapsed (1994)
08. (1:19) (1:11) Slow Of Motion (1996)
09. (4:13) (4:10) Head Kick (1991)
10. (2:41) (3:38) Dark Matter (1996)
11. (3:29) (3:26) Mas X-XX-XX 2 (1996)
22. (4:01) (-:--) Mas X-XX-XX (1996) [MP3 Only bonus track]
12. (4:12) (4:12) Skinny Ribbed Fucker (1991)
13. (4:22) (4:11) Fractional Difference (1994)
14. (3:35) (3:38) Offerings (1994)
15. (1:44) (1:47) Mains Interrupt (1996)
16. (2:16) (3:00) Futura (1995)
17. (5:06) (5:12) Museum (1992)
18. (3:33) (3:23) Nadir (1994)
19. (3:05) (3:16) We're Not Here (1993)
20. (3:22) (3:29) Mumble (1994)
21. (2:27) (2:32) Insulin (1996)

Total play original edition: 1:12:52 (without the bonus track)
Total play enhanced edition: 1:13:59 (without the bonus track)


Lets see what we can... see...
(I'm gonna review the 2012 enhanced editions, and hope that they'll be properly released on FSOLDigital.com)

01 - Brujo (5:51)
- This spooky track made its first appearance on ISDN Transmission 4, Netherlands (VPRO Radio) (09.09.1994) and didn't end up on the ISDN album probably because of its dynamic tempo - it's pretty fast and didn't fit the slower madness on the ISDN album. Robert Fripp makes incredible soundscapes on guitars, and an unknown female voice makes this another gem that stands out in the Archives series. It was also a regular on the 2009 live shows.
- Brujo in the Mexican / Spanish cultures refers to a witchdoctor or a shaman practicing low magic. In general, it’s considered a negative term, rather than a flattering one.

02 - Distant Nebulus (4:27)
- These broken (and sometimes glitchy) beats sound like the early concepts of the Dead Cities Sessions, so I'd place this track in mid-to-late 1995. It sounds like it has potential, but also sounds a little bit unfinished.

03 - Wanting (5:13)
- I just LOVE this drum-sound. Definitely from the same ISDN session with Slider. The drum patterns and color are almost the same - or they were exactly the same and mixed / layered differently later. The bassline is also pure awesomeness. First heard on the ISDN Transmission 4, Netherlands (VPRO Radio) (09.09.1994). I'm getting up mid-track to dance in the office and I'm gonna continue this review some other day...

04 - Environments - (Evil) Thunder (0:42)
- Another one of those short field recordings layered with samples and synths, that are called environments and we (here on the Board) call them segues (and I sometimes wonder why). Bits of this one ended up on First Death In The Family which tells us it's original recording year - 1996.

05 - Cellular Control (5:12)
- Another very decent leftover that didn't make the cut on the final Lifeforms album. Percussion, bass style, flutes, all points to the early Lifeforms sessions.

06 - Insected (3:02)
- Very very interesting track. The techno beat is a motherfucker, and the effects seem to be a different arrangement of Liquid Insects, even the name suggests that. Since Liquid Insects appeared in 1992, I'm gonna go with that year as recording year - the early Ephidrina sessions.

07 - Night Lapsed (2:19)
- More dancing drums for me! I really love these dark jazzy ISDN era pieces. It's a shame it's a shot sketch undeveloped into a full track.

08 - Slow Of Motion (1:11)
- Environmental short piece from the Dead Cities tour, appeared on ISDN Transmission 3, Edinburgh (Forth FM) (28.10.1996).

09 - Head Kick (4:10)
- Awesome drum-break once more. Maybe it's just me but I love these sounds. The guitar samples and few other elements appear on Dope Module by Mental Cube (Chile of The Bass Generation EP) which tells us that this is one of the earliest FSOL tracks ever recorded. It probably wasn't under FSOL name, because this track is probably from 1991, I'd even dare say 1990 but the FSOL alias wasn't officially in existence then.

10 - Dark Matter (3:38)
- A total classic of a dark track we know from the Dead Cities ISDN tour, first heard on ISDN Transmission 3, Edinburgh (Forth FM) (28.10.1996). The ending segues remind of My Kingdom a little, but this still remains an unfinished b-side or leftover from the Dead Cities sessions.

11 - Mas X-XX-XX 2 (3:26) [CD-version]
- The glitchy IDM beats and the spooky atmosphere suggest the Dead Cities sessions. But this is another one of those pieces that seem unfinished and structure-wise have only the beat layers and a few effects.

22 - Mas X-XX-XX (4:01) [MP3-version]
- The MP3 only version of this track is imagined as part 1 of the track and it's a little longer. The beat is a little bit denser here but very very similar to the CD version.

12 - Skinny Ribbed Fucker (4:12)
- Hmmm... another shady old track that probably didn't start as FSOL. The more obvious alias would be Humanoid or maybe Smart Systems. Why is this electro track here and not on (for example) By Any Other Name is anyones guess. The sampled vocals are interesting, from the robotic ones that sound like the Daleks to the one female singing in the back on the second half of the track. This is definitely 1991, if not earlier.

13 - Fractional Difference (4:11)
- It's like a track made of multiple tracks that are totally unconnected - and yet it somehow all works together. The melodic piano sections are sampled from The Changes - a TV series from 1973-75. Spoken samples from the Deep Cover (1992) movie also appear. First heard on the ISDN Transmission 4, Netherlands (VPRO Radio) (09.09.1994), this one is clearly a leftover from the ISDN sessions.

14 - Offerings (3:38)
- This track is so dark it's almost industrial rock :) Very good groove with several guitar samples, I shook my head quite a while on this one :) It can only be from the ISDN sessions.

15 - Mains Interrupt (1:47)
- One of the best environmental pieces that wasn't used in an album. It was in the Dead Cities ISDN shows though, like ISDN Transmission 3, Edinburgh (Forth FM) (28.10.1996)

16 - Futura (3:00)
- This track is from a rather weird period (that lasted about 6 months) that should basically be the starting point of the Dead Cities sessions, but it turned out to be something else... The BBC mix from 1995 also confirms this strange venture. This track has the beautiful beat that reminds of Dead Cities and the interesting synths that remind of Lifeforms. It's named after the Barcelona festival, where it was first played, on ISDN Transmission 14, Barcelona (Art Futura Festival) (22.10.1995)

17 - Museum (5:12)
- One of the lightest brightest melodic track that FSOL ever recorded. They didn't do light & bright in the 90s at all, so that's probably why this track ended up on the Archives. It sounds to me like a piece from the Ephidrena sessions, recorded in late 1992 or early 1993.

18 - Nadir (3:23)
- The dark breaks sound like they should be from the Dead Cities sessions, but this synths & strings piece appeared earlier on the Kiss FM (late '94) Transmission. It was probably one of the first transitions from the ISDN sound towards the Dead Cities sound. Also, it sounds pretty bad (production wise, or compared with the other tracks), like it was salvaged form a barely salvageable tape.

19 - We're Not Here (3:16)
- Another (at least to me) danceable ambient techno track. It sounds like the perfect transition between Ephidrena and Lifeforms, so my guess would be it was recorded in late 1993. It offers a very good ride, though it's understandable why it didn't end up on Lifeforms.

20 - Mumble (3:29)
- Weird time-warped track with crazy elements. The techniques and patterns (that remind me of Snake Hips) leads us towards the ISDN sessions and late 1994.

21 - Insulin (2:32)
- This is definitely a version of Yage, or at least made in the same Dead Cities session. It confirms the theory that Yage should've been the third official single from Dead Cities, but never came to life.


And now... to the sample library!

Fractional Difference opens with samples from an unknown track by Michel Colombier recorded for the Deep Cover (1992) movie - the part with the talk about "I've been turned out like a two dollar ho" - it also has other spoken samples from Deep Cover (1992) movie.

Fractional Difference (at 0:51) samples Paddy Kingsland - The Changes (TV Series 1973-75) - Closing Credits

Museum samples Deuter - From Here to Here (album: Cicada, 1982)


We're Not Here, the opening samples Laraaji - Meditation #2 (album: Ambient 3 (Day of Radiance) [from 1980], produced by Brian Eno) - the whole opening serves as a background track for We're Not Here.


Want to read about the other Archives series? Click away:

From The Archives Vol.1 (06.03.2007)
From The Archives Vol.2 (06.03.2007) --> It's this post.
From The Archives Vol.3 (06.03.2007)
From The Archives Vol.4 (17.10.2007)
From The Archives Vol.5 (29.08.2008)
From The Archives Vol.6 (02.09.2010)
From The Archives Vol.7 (19.11.2012)
From The Archives Vol.8 (11.09.2015)
Last edited by Pandemonium on Sun May 13, 2018 9:14 pm, edited 6 times in total.
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Pande-reviews: 2007.3 (FSOL - From The Archives Vol.3)

Post by Pandemonium » Sat Jan 03, 2015 3:23 am

FSOL - From The Archives Vol.3 (06.03.2007) fsoldigital.com - CD TOT 55
(web version registered on 06.03.2007 / CD version released on 23.07.2007)

Image Image

The third of the initial dozen releases on the opening of FSOLDigital.com was the third volume of 'From The Archives' series. The fascinating amount of tracks that were unheard and unreleased before got even bigger, even though this release contains 8 (out of 19) tracks that were heard before, but never officially released.

There was a slight problem with the first three volumes of the Archives - there were no segues. One of the signature moves of FSOL was missing, so after a few years and many complains of the fans, in 2012 the first three volumes were re-released with segues and those versions are definitely more pleasant to listen to. But, reviewing these enhanced editions a couple of years later, giving them a dozen spins each, I can definitely say the segues don't help much. They get the job done on the first volume (somehow), but on the next two the tracks are very dispersed and in a chaotic track-order, the segues barely have any effect.

The artwork features again the usual suspects. The front cover is the witch girl with the electronic brain, while the alternative cover of the MP3 version features Vit on some heavy LSD colors. The last page of the booklet was seen as cover for the EBS 0,5 mix 5 months before this Archive was released. Creepy tunnels and dead nature shots are a must at this point. Seems like this volume has many weird leftovers from the Dead Cities sessions, as well as totally unconnected tracks from the earliest stages of FSOL.

Tracks: (original length : enhanced edition length : name : possible recording year)

01. (3:37) (3:34) Empires (1993)
02. (7:37) (7:43) Long Shadows (2001)
03. (4:51) (4:47) Considered (1996)
04. (4:08) (4:06) Mango Tree (1996)
05. (4:28) (4:40) The Teeth Of The Wind (1993)
06. (5:57) (5:56) Room 207 (1993)
07. (0:47) (0:32) Environments T1 (1994)
08. (4:07) (4:18) Insides (1996)
09. (2:10) (2:03) La - Tronik 1 (1996)
10. (6:25) (6:23) Space Squid (1993)
11. (5:29) (5:16) Stomach Acid (1993)
12. (2:09) (2:00) Dream Seq 4 (1994)
13. (3:22) (3:30) Made Contact Internal (1996)
14. (3:45) (3:52) Rotation (1994)
15. (3:49) (4:00) Hardhead (1991)
16. (5:06) (5:38) Popadom (1997)
17. (2:40) (2:43) I A A I A A I A (1991)
18. (3:14) (-:--) La 7 [bonus MP3 only] (1996)
19. (3:08) (-:--) Mulleck Well [bonus MP3 only] (1996)

Total play original edition: 1:10:32 (without the bonus tracks)
Total play enhanced edition: 1:10:58 (without the bonus tracks)


Lets see what we can... see...
(I'm gonna review the 2012 enhanced editions, and hope that they'll be properly released on FSOLDigital.com)

01 - Empires (3:34)
- This is a tough one to place. The tempo is rather fast and it contains percussions and synths, so I'm gonna go with 1993. It's either an Ephidrena leftover, but more likely a Lifeforms leftover - because the Lifeforms sessions stretched before and after the Ephidrena ones. For a Lifeforms leftover it sounds rather simple, or unfinished is the better word. Not the best choice for opener...

02 - Long Shadows (7:43)
- One of the best tracks on the series. Guitars, awesome female lyricless vocals, piano sections, beautiful environments - this one has it all.
- EDIT: Ross reminder - it's basically an unreleased remix of Paths by Robert Miles.

03 - Considered (4:47)
- Even though at the first few listens I thought ISDN, I was later convinced that this is a Dead Cities leftover. The almost industrial atmosphere, the spaghetti western few notes theme, the harsh odd tempo, it all points out to the early 1996 Dead Cities sessions.

04 - Mango Tree (4:06)
- Mango Tree was first heard on the ISDN Transmission 11, Berlin (Fritz Radio) (06.12.1996). It's a laid back acoustic guitar driven track. Sounds strange for a Dead Cities session track, but so were Max and Everyone in The World Is Doing Something Without Me. It even contains the 'take a sample there' and the robotic 'the future sound of london' words commonly used in the ISDN sessions. It ends with a long segue, and the humming creepy vocals of Tired kick in, announcing the next ISDN b-side...

05 - The Teeth of The Wind (4:40)
- The name instantly reminds of Dirty Shadows and ISDN sessions, but the vocal samples ended up entirely on Dirty Shadows and are mentioned only in track-title here. This track first appeared on the Kiss 100 FM Transmission 2 (19.05.1993). This is basically Lifeforms sessions, because as we know, a handful of tracks that were pre-ISDN era (like Dirty Shadows, Tired, Kai, etc.) ended up on the ISDN album.

06 - Room 207 (5:56)
- The name suggest a prequel of Room 208, a track that appeared on Kiss 4 in 1993. Room 207 is a 4/4 beat driven by mash-ups form dial up sounds (Answerphones sessions anyone? As it turns out those are sampled too... from Throbbing Gristle) and you just keep expecting to hear the LFO synth from Room 208 at any moment, but you don't. I swear I listened this one a dozen times and still expect for that synth that never comes!

07 - Environments - T1 (0:32)
- A short environmental piece from the 1994 sessions...

08 - Insides (4:18)
- It contains the 'where are you going' sample that will be also present on the Mango Tree (Original) on Archives 4 a few months later. They are from the same session after all, ISDN Transmission 11, Berlin (Fritz Radio) (06.12.1996). Also some other familiar samples like 'am I hallucinating or what'. This track is taken straight from the live ISDN sessions, with jingles and everything. Otherwise, the opening suggests it's from the same session with Max. The beautiful piano variation continues throughout the track.
- PS - it's the same track that's named Max (Original) on the ISDN Show promo CD.

09 - La Tronik 1 (2:03)
- Another one from the ISDN Transmission 11, Berlin (Fritz Radio) (06.12.1996). This trippy short piece seems to have a whole series of follow-ups, considering one of the bonus tracks here is named La 7.

10 - Space Squids (6:23)
- One of the silliest tracks in the series. With drum loop made in 30 seconds and funky bassline made in the exact same amount of time, this track still offers a good and silly acid ride. Even a few sax notes kick in! It' hard to place it - it could be an Ephidrena leftover, or maybe a joke sketch from the Dead Cities sessions. It's probably from 1993 rather than 1996...

11 - Stomach Acid (aka Subliminal Aura) (5:16)
- Originally conceived as a Amorphous Androgynous track called Subliminal Aura, this one premiered on the Kiss 100 FM Transmission 6 (25.11.1993) and was later (in 1994) also released on a Virgin compilation called Signed Sealed Delivered 2.
- The track is a leftover from the Tales of Ephridina sessions, or to be more accurate its some kind of version, or at least its made in the same session with the title track Ephidrena, using about the same acid loops and beat patterns.

12 - Dream Sequence 4 (2:00)
- Another short environmental piece that was meant to end on the Environments album in 1994 (stab in the dark here...)

13 - Made Contact Internal (3:30)
- The rhythm is dense as hell, while in the back we have some calm melodies. I just described Aphex Twin... Yes, this track sounds exactly like him. The glitchy beats suggest Dead Cities sessions...

14 - Rotation (3:52)
- The atmosphere and the trip-hop sound suggest the 1994 ISDN sessions. The trip is very good, but probably wasn't dark enough to be on the ISDN album.

15 - Hardhead (4:00)
- On the Pulse EP from 1991, there was a first appearance ever of FSOL as an original artist of a track. That track was called "Hardhead (Frothin' At The Mouth Mix)". Most of the tracks of the Pulse EPs back then were named as some kinds of mixes, and we all thought they were the original tracks and the mix parts were added just for weirdness and awesome names. It turns out, they really were mixes. So here we have the original version of the first official FSOL track ever.

16 - Popadom (5:38)
- And why not just jump 6 years ahead, to a track that premiered on the Fun Radio, France (13.06.1997). This track always confused me with it's structure and I generally don't like it (even the production seems weak). The album that never was from 1997 was probably a good thing, because I doubt it would've been able to carry itself with the previous albums. Sketches from those sessions (thank God) carries on to the Isness.

17 - I A I A I A I A I A (2:43)
- And why not jump back to another one of the earliest FSOL tracks..? This compilation is killing me with this track order. I obviously need to figure out new chronological tracklists. This one is obviously another unfinished track from the Accelerator era, not suitable for closing this compilation.

18 - La 7 (3:14) [bonus MP3 only]
- First heard on the ISDN Transmission 11, Berlin (Fritz Radio) (06.12.1996) this flutey breakbeat is also filled with elements from the answerphones sessions. The ending is quite good.

19 - Mulleck Well (3:08) [bonus MP3 only]
- Another one from the Dead Cities sessions, according to the drums and the atmosphere. And another one that seems unfinished and with a weaker production.


And now... to the sample library!

- The Teeth of the Wind (at 0:50) samples Tangerine Dream - Main Theme (at 0:30) -- but the problem here is, I forgot what TD soundtrack was this main theme from... (the Sorcerer maybe...)

- Room 207 samples the phone noises from Throbbing Gristle - I.B.M. (from D.o.A. The Third And Final Report, 1978)


Want to read about the other Archives series? Click away:

From The Archives Vol.1 (06.03.2007)
From The Archives Vol.2 (06.03.2007)
From The Archives Vol.3 (06.03.2007) --> It's this post.
From The Archives Vol.4 (17.10.2007)
From The Archives Vol.5 (29.08.2008)
From The Archives Vol.6 (02.09.2010)
From The Archives Vol.7 (19.11.2012)
From The Archives Vol.8 (11.09.2015)
Last edited by Pandemonium on Sat Oct 08, 2016 3:12 am, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Pande-reviews: 2007.3 (FSOL - From The Archives Vol.3)

Post by Ross » Sat Jan 03, 2015 11:30 am

Long Shadows is from 2001 - it's basically an unreleased remix of Paths by Robert Miles.

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Re: Pande-reviews: 2007.3 (FSOL - From The Archives Vol.3)

Post by Pandemonium » Sat Jan 03, 2015 12:08 pm

Damn it, we've discussed this same track, back in 2007/2008,
and then I made the same mistake, and you told me it was Paths remix - which it is :)

In a few years time I'll probably again think it's from 1995 :)
- Well, at least now I tag-ed it as 2001, so I'll remember better.
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Re: Pande-reviews: 2007.3 (FSOL - From The Archives Vol.3)

Post by Concept » Wed Jan 21, 2015 7:01 am

Awesome work Pandemonium. I hope your writing gets added to the main site someday.

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Re: Pande-reviews: 2007.3 (FSOL - From The Archives Vol.3)

Post by Pandemonium » Wed Jan 21, 2015 9:25 am

It depends, what do you consider to be the main site :)
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Pande-reviews: 2007.4 (Heads / Part-Sub-Merged / Polemical)

Post by Pandemonium » Fri Jan 23, 2015 3:21 pm

Probably the most overlooked pieces (in the landslide of releases on fsoldigital.com) in 2007 were the three experimental albums with new aliases: Heads of Agreement, Part-Sub-Merged & Polemical. They just got lost in the pile of releases and didn't received the proper attention.

I certainly didn't think anything of them (and I'd bet it's the same case with most fans, and certainly the media didn't pay attention at all). Back in 2007 I literally didn't have the time to gave them a proper listen. The next year I gave them a shot but didn't think much of them, or to be more exact didn't pay enough attention - they're just experiments, I thought.

Looking back 7 years later, these albums give a whole different perspective - they are the basic roots of what will the future FSOL releases look like. Another noticeable thing about the fsoldigital era is that you really need to pay attention to the new records, they are not easily understandable and don't take you on the trip right away as the 90s albums do. It's not a dualism thing like 'black / white' or 'good / bad' - it's just the guys growing and evolving in the art of sound and music.

So let's see what we're actually talking about...

Heads of Agreement - The San Monta Tapes [album] (19.03.2007)
fsoldigital.com - no cat.num.

Image

When this album appeared out of the blue on fsoldigital.com we (the fans) didn't knew anything about it. It had 19 tracks ripped in rather poor MP3-192 quality. In the next few years we found out that this was the 2006 project the guys worked on, that ended up as soundtrack for the Kinetica event and was supposed to appear in 5.1 surround sound also. In the Freeze Magazine interview (February 2008), Gaz suggested that the project is more Brian's work than his.

Heads of Agreement were described on MySpace as 'Melodramatic Popular Song / Bossa Nova' and 'polyrhythmik thought goat'. In the 2012 overhaul of fsoldigital.com this release got a more proper MP3-320 release with 2 bonus tracks (19 & 21, listed below). It was subtitled 'Experiments in polyrhythmic' and in the comments tag we have the most revealing fact about these tracks were made:

- Slow shifting rhythms created by midi time shift devices, all tracks recorded live, no overdubs - Yage.

So that's how pure live electronic music sounds like - beautiful. The tracks have various rhythms of sparse drums and weird percussions, with abstract effects and instruments ranging from really beautiful to highly introspective and intimate. Most of the tracks have the drums go on the even-beat while the percussion goes on the odd-beat. You have to be in a certain kind of mood to listen to this (but really listen). I'd recommend a sleepy mood, or really tired, or those moments when the joint-high wears off and you can really concentrate while still being a little high...

I'd bet that if this release gets proper release (even today) and someone slips a false internet marketing that this is some new WARP artist or an alias of some WARP giant - this would be hailed and praised in every fucking music magazine. But, it's not, and this is why I respect (and love) the guys a little more than the others - they don't submit to industry bullshit marketing, or at least they try to ignore it as much as possible.

The name of the alias taken from a legal document form is just priceless: A heads of agreement is a non-binding document outlining the main issues relevant to a tentative (partnership or other) agreement. A heads of agreement document will only be enforceable when it is adopted into a parent contract and subsequently agreed upon. Until that point, a heads of agreement will not be legally binding.

I won't go track-by-track here, experimental works aren't meant to be viewed separately but as a whole (like that stopped me in the past... yeah... maybe I'm a little lazy and like to listen more and write less... or maybe not...). Most of the tracks are really awesome and you should really hear them! OK, I'll maybe comment on a few of them - just to paint a better picture of the release.

01 – Yellow Way (6:48)
02 – Elongate (5:58)
03 – San Monta (3:12) - dramatic soundtracky themes with occasional guitar, keyboards and even some woodwind instruments...
04 – Antique (4:41)
05 – Earth Magnetic (4:54) - very beautiful acoustic guitar over slow slow beats and scapes...
06 – Still Movements (5:09)
07 – La Veshter (4:24) - again, almost classical take on the acoustic guitar, with a high range of bleepy effects.
08 – Low Clouds (2:16)
09 – Bump (5:22)
10 – Ukashan (3:42)
11 – Slow Storm (1:35) - the B sides go occasionally a little more violent than the slow ambients on the start, but still very pleasant.
12 – Northern Desert (0:34)
13 – Cold Ground (3:36) - one of the favorites.
14 – Waves (6:02)
15 – Underpass (0:42)
16 – Coasts (3:46) - this one will definitely wake you up and possibly blow your headphones.
17 – Tree Bark (1:36)
18 – Cow Fxd (5:29)
19 – Attacker (3:09) - promptly named, this sneaky attacker will scare the shit out of you in the right mood setting.
20 – Pushed (1:32)
21 – 5olant Yeff (3:28)



-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Part-Sub-Merged - Four Forests (South of Frome) [album] (19.03.2007)
fsoldigital.com - no cat.num.

Image

Part-Sub-Merged should've been the DVD/film about the glitch.tv project that Brian started when he moved to Somerset. The DVD never got released, but at least we got the hear the audio. The glitch.tv web page is still active - so you can go and check out the circuit bent devices that are occasionally selling, or possibly these days they just do pre-ordered sell.

Composed by Brian Dougans, subtitled 'South of Frome' - that is actually where Dougans lives (since circa 2004/2005), in a little village (actually south-west of Frome) called Nunney. He lives in a beautiful (former) church turned into a home/studio, which can be seen in the second half of the Stereo Sucks documentary. ( )

Again, very deep and very introspective experimental electronic music. And I personally rarely like this kind of albums, I've kept maybe two dozens of this kind in my (huge) collection.

The comment in the MP3 tags is a shout-out to the pirates:
- Yo people - please don't go sharing this shit - we ain't no corporate giant - Ta .......... Yage ........

01 - Second Glance [3:34] - haunting ambient piece that would define the neo-classical electronic approach in the years to come...
02 - Slight Movement [3:17] - loving the ride of this one.
03 - Roadhedge [3:26]
04 - Wooden Gage (Part 1) [5:02]
05 - Opposite Side [5:02]
06 - Naked [1:26] - another neo-classical beauty, segue-ready for some future Environments album.
07 - Mind Altered [2:35]
08 - In The Forest [1:03]
09 - Held [4:42]
10 - Hallae [1:20] - actually better than most AFX tracks...
11 - First Breath [2:42]
12 - Cark [3:01]
13 - And Then They 1 [1:04] [bonus track]

Brian uploaded some segments of the film on YouTube, hinting there are more pieces of music than we got on this digital release.







for more go here: ( https://www.youtube.com/user/STAKKERHUMANOID/videos )

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Polemical - Hand-Made Devices [album] (19.03.2007) fsoldigital.com - no cat.num.

Image

As a result of experiments in circuit bending, this collection of bleeps and soundscapes was created. All devices were specially altered for glitch.tv. Another solo experimental effort by Dougans made in his home studio. This one is the weirdest one of the three and requires really special mood to listen to. Some of this material ended up on the Globules track, and the rest of the far-out experiments are here to feast your ears on.

A slightly different shout-out this time:
- Yo people, don't go giving this away... we ain't no giant corporate.... ta, Brian

If you play this to a... (lets say) a Squarepusher or AFX fan and tell him it's some lost demo album, he'll definitely fall for it.

01 - Mos Son [4:36] - a track dedicated to his son named Mos.
02 - Watery Seq [1:37] - one of my all time favorite environmental tracks - it just tickles my brain!
03 - Matti [2:48] - awesome drum trip.
04 - Hohner 1 [0:44]
05 - Bats [2:47] - bat-crazy bleeps indeed.
06 - 15 Frames A Second [2:15] - more drum madness.
07 - Early Sun [2:14]
08 - Iseum [2:19] - wonderful piano piece, more glimpses to the future...
09 - Kontact [2:44] - IDM at it's finest.
10 - 2 Boots Together [5:14]
11 - Truma [1:49]
12 - Made Formal [1:22]
13 - Medium Pull [2:50]
14 - Zee2006 [0:24]
15 - Sub Equal [2:26]
16 - At The Begining [2:14]
17 - Staggered [2:08]
18 - 7 Song 7 [1:59] - entering the bat-shit crazy zone...
19 - SK1 Song [1:13]
20 - Satallite [3:03]
21 - Gogs People [1:03]
22 - Formings [0:29]

Some of the bent devices:







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Re: Pande-reviews: 2007.4 (Heads / Part-Sub-Merged / Polemic

Post by Ross » Fri Jan 23, 2015 3:53 pm

Oh I love The San Monta Tapes, eerie and beautiful. Four Forests is great when I'm in the right mood - would love to see the DVD one day. Hand Made Devices is something I play rarely, but I absolutely love 15 Frames a Second.

And yeah, you can really hear the roots of newer FSOL in here. Throw in some Yage darkness awns a bit of Amorphous psych and you've got the Environments records.

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Re: Pande-reviews: 2007.4 (Heads / Part-Sub-Merged / Polemic

Post by Blu Mar Ten » Mon Jan 26, 2015 2:26 am

those releases completely passed me by. going to pick them up asap. thanks for the reviews.

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Re: Pande-reviews: 2007.4 (Heads / Part-Sub-Merged / Polemic

Post by Pandemonium » Tue Jan 27, 2015 1:51 am

Well, drop us a line when you do hear them BMT :)

- I somehow thought more people would comment / get involved with the post-2007 releases, being newer and not-that-much discussed and all that...
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Re: Pande-reviews: 2007.4 (Heads / Part-Sub-Merged / Polemic

Post by Blu Mar Ten » Tue Jan 27, 2015 3:32 am

bought all 3 and loaded onto the phone for tomorrow

\o/

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