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

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Re: Pande-reviews: 2008.4 (FSOL - EBS Vol.1)

Post by Pandemonium » Tue Apr 21, 2015 12:43 pm

Ross wrote:If you're talking about the Dead Cities bit at the end, I always loved that, great to hear a jumbled up version. I've never tried to do a proper tracklist for it as it gets so bloody complicated! One thing that might help, the Luc Ferrari piece is actually 'Presque Rien Avec Filles'
Yeah, I think it's more Herd Killing than Dead Cities, but I'll have another take these days...
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Re: Pande-reviews: 2008.4 (FSOL - EBS Vol.1)

Post by Ross » Tue Apr 21, 2015 2:09 pm

Indeed; well, it's the segue between the two really.

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Re: Pande-reviews: 2008.4 (FSOL - EBS Vol.1)

Post by Ross » Tue Apr 21, 2015 2:47 pm

Still working on updating the discography, bit-by-bit, trying to make it as thorough as possible - obviously this thread is coming in useful! Working on Zeebox now, noticed this hasn't been mentioned...
Pandemonium wrote:15. 7000 Years - beautiful ambient piece, too bad it's kinda unfinished, this would easily fit on E2 or something sci-fi-like...
This is on 'Little Brother' from Lifeforms (at 2.30 etc.)
And to clarify:
13. Ear Out - some early sounds that will later define FSOL, the starting sample is used in some well-known FSOL track and ISDN transmissions, but I can't remember which one...
This is 'Zeebox' from the Far-out Son 12" - the beginning is the end of Far-out Son itself.

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Re: Pande-reviews: 2008.4 (FSOL - EBS Vol.1)

Post by Pandemonium » Tue Apr 21, 2015 2:55 pm

Brilliant spotting Ross :) - I'll edit later...
- Oh I have MORE details about the Zeebox project, but still waiting for Brian's permission... Seems he's gone off the net this last 4-5 weeks...
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Re: Pande-reviews: 2008.4 (FSOL - EBS Vol.1)

Post by Ross » Tue Apr 21, 2015 4:57 pm

Some more thoughts, going through the early aliases: I think Fuzzy Logic and Pulse Four were the last original records to be recorded for J&P, which explains why they're stronger overall than most of that era's material. Obviously they did new mixes for the Papua re-release, and I'd imagine around the same time they planned the Stakker reissue as well, but it seems at this point they already had a sniff of success and were out of there.

After that, the only thing to get a release on the label was People Livin' Today, which is so dated in comparison to their other 1992 material. My theory is B&G had given J&P the single a long time before but it hadn't come out for some reason another (maybe the label didn't like it), and it was only after the success of PNG and Stakker '92 that it came out - I reckon as the label trying to cash in on the group's success (hence it being released on CD single.) The next thing the guys put out (Metropolis) was on a totally different label. So yeah, once they had some cash and success, they left J&P pronto.

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Re: Pande-reviews: 2008.4 (FSOL - EBS Vol.1)

Post by dell1972 » Wed Apr 22, 2015 11:11 am

Good work Mr. Panda, I've tried compiling tracklists with the EBS series myself back in the boredom room that was my previous job so appreciate how hard it is. There's so much going on.

I must dig these out again and see if I can get anywhere near the end of EBS 2. All I remember of the latter stages is that there's a lovely version of Yage somewhere in there. Maybe I'll try it with more caffeine...
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Re: Pande-reviews: 2008.4 (FSOL - EBS Vol.1)

Post by Pandemonium » Wed Apr 22, 2015 11:17 am

I'm almost done with EBS 2 and EBS 3 -- EBS 2 was a challenge, one of the most complex mixes I've ever seen...

But I'm multitasking - as usual - gotta review ENV2 and Archives5 before I take the final pass on EBS 2 and EBS 3.
Last edited by Pandemonium on Wed Apr 22, 2015 8:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Pande-reviews: 2008.4 (FSOL - EBS Vol.1)

Post by mcbpete » Wed Apr 22, 2015 8:14 pm

Ross wrote:
Pandemonium wrote:39:27 ????? - ????? (Come A Cropper?)
- (NOT THIS TRACK!, This Is The Kit - Tangled Walker, probably not that band either)
- I've listened everything this band ever released, and it wasn't pleasent! Hey, it wouldn't be an FSOL mix if there wasn't at least ONE unknown track.
Oh God, the whistling track. I'd LOVE to know what this is, it's so fucking catchy.
I'm wondering if it's an unreleased Zeebox-era track, it reminds me of the same lo-fi pot-and-pans wildness from 'The Old Mop In The Garden' (track 14 from Zeebox 1) and 'Transmission Gallery' (track 28 from Zeebox 3)

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Pande-reviews: 2008.5 (FSOL - Environments II)

Post by Pandemonium » Thu Apr 23, 2015 2:50 pm

The Future Sound of London - Environments II [album] (29.08.2008)
fsoldigital.com - CD TOT 62 / LP TOT 62 (MP3 on 29th Aug 2008 / CD on 05th Jan 2009 / LP in Dec 2014)

Image Image

Well, this came as a complete surprise to me. I was completely overexcited when Environments II came out. Full of questions too. Is Environments a series now? Is this the NEW FSOL album? And about a dozen more questions, became almost completly unimportant when I first pressed play on this release. It felt truly ascending. Serene sounds, modern classical approach of strings, choirs, lots of other acoustic instruments making atmospheres that visually took me to the Arctic lands of ice. I literally felt cold (in August) when I first heard this, and to this day I still feel chilly when listening to Environments II.

Soon, we had some answers. Yes, Environments will be a series of environmental albums. And No, this isn't the NEW FSOL album, this is "past, present, future" blending in all together. Sounds almost impossible, but here we have enhanced tracks ranging for full 15 years (1993-2008) or possibly even more. As I'm writing this we are apparently halfway through the Environments series, the total number should be 10. From the current five, I can't really decide my favorite. At the moment E2 and E5 share the first place, but E4 comes over there some days too.

Credited for contributing, helping or simply inspiring are:
- Max Richter - an old friend since the 90s. German-born British composer who also worked with Roni Size. He works with the duo occasionally even today (2015). He's signed as an exclusive artist to Deutsche Grammophon these last few years, Max Richter’s projects for 2015 include his new solo album following on from his bestselling ‘Recomposed: Vivaldi’s Four Seasons’ for which he received the ECHO Klassik Award in 2013. In 2015 Max will also see the premiere of Woolf Works his new full length ballet for choreographer Wayne McGregor and The Royal Ballet at Covent Garden on the life and works of Virginia Woolf.
- Daniel Pemberton - another long time friend. Pemberton is an Ivor Novello winning and multi-BAFTA nominated composer who works predominantly in film, television and video games. His credits include everything from feature films such as The Awakening and the Sundance Jury winning 'Enemies Of The People' to cult British television shows such as Peep Show, Hells Kitchen and Great British Menu. He has written the score for the second best selling Xbox 360 game of all time (Kinect Adventures) as well as creating the iconic theme for Sony's LittleBIGPlanet.
- Chris Margory, Colin Bell - don't really know much about these guys... maybe someone could fill us in.
- Robert Fripp - the legendary King Crimson guitarist probably used as inspiration here, or possibly he contributed some Frippertronics from his 90s sessions with the duo.
- Will White - The drummer of Propellerheads, we talk about him so often - he's basically Brian's neibour in the Bristol area.

The artwork is fittingly sparse and cold. The front cover reminds me (and I don't know why) of the Matrix movie, some kind of spaceship of the imagination. The back cover definitely reminds me of the Matrix, the scene where they went to visit the Oracle, that building looked exactly like the back cover. Also, could be some photography made in India by Alan Dougans. The booklet is also blue-ish filled with wasteland shots and shiny cities. The weird crystal shaped logo of the Environments series appears throughout. Is that logo tetragonal or a pyramid/prism combination, I never could tell because it's always 2D projected.

An interesting story is that Environments II almost didn't came out and was going to be delayed heavily, when Pinnacle, the distribution company went bust and caused a massive fuck up, burying dozens of releases. They had a large warehouse with everyones stock in it when they went down, the bank seized the warehouse and everyones records - nightmare! WARP lost thousands as did a lot of people.

So, with only two completely new pieces (tracks 1 & 10) and a dozen enhanced ones, lets see what the structure of the album looks like:

01. Viewed From Above [2:34] (2008)
- One of the two new tracks. Brilliant opening, takes you right in. Synths, strings and whale sounds, doesn't get any more introspective than that.

02. Glacier (Part 1) [8:56] (1997)
- The second part of this epic piece is closing this album, but we also head it in 1997 on the ISDN Transmission 9, London (BBC Radio 3, Mixing It), so I assume both parts were composed back then, in the 1996/97 post-Dead Cities sessions. If it wasn't for this fact, I'd bet real money these were new modern classical tracks by FSOL. Again, beautiful ambiance, flutes, chimes and percussion.

03. Serengeti [4:32] (1993)
- Another modern classical piece that flows seamlessly. The heavy wind flutes remind me of My Kingdom, but the whole atmosphere says this is probably a sketch from the 1993 Lifeforms sessions.

04. Colour-Blind [3:35] (1995)
- An abrupt break for my synth/string submerged ears. A beat kicks in with a familiar feeling. It's a variation of Vit Drowning (a Dead Cities track). Soon the classical parts slip in, smoothing me back into introspection.

05. A Corner [3:29] (1996)
- I thought this was a Lifeforms leftover, but the effect that appears throughout the track is the same one that appears in the 16th second of Herd Killing, and the same one that Dead Can Dance used in the opening of Nierika (both tracks from 1996). Later it turned out that sample was part of some sample bank that was selling back in 1996. So this track is a Dead Cities leftover, which means Environments 2 managed to join tracks from at least 4 different eras into one awesome journey...

06. Newfoundland [2:04] (2006)
- The clocks environment from this track appeared on the Electric Brain Storms Vol.0,5 in 2006, and I really can't place another era for this track, so while it might not be brand new, I'd say it from the circa 2006 period.

07. North Arctic [3:19] (1993)
- Returning to epicness with choirs and synths. Reminds me of something Vangelis would write for some sci-fi soundtrack. Definitely a sketch from the Lifeforms sessions.

08. Factories and Assembly [5:04] (1993)
- A beat piece with some kraut elements offering a very nice and subtle acidic ride. I'd place this in the Ephidrena sessions. In the last 30 seconds there is a pitched up / sped up / slowed down / mashed up sample of some audio interview. The interviewer mentions Garry Cobain.

09. Ice Formed [4:17] (1995)
- This one opens like a ISDN piece, but the glitchy nature of the track and the drums later are definitely from Dead Cities. Probably the most confusing track (for me) on this release. If I had to replace a track on this album it would be this one.

10. Small Town [3:14] (2008)
- The second new track here. Haunting lyricless vocals melting into melody - I really try not to sound biased here, but this is perfection as far as modern classical pieces go.

11. Nearly Home [3:38] (1994)
- This percussive piece appeared on the Kiss 94 transmission. It's bright approach is probably what's made it a leftover, not fitting on Lifeforms nor ISDN. The strings in the back are an obvious but brilliant enhancement.

12. Boca Manu [2:22] (1996)
- Is this named after the national park in Peru? Dark ambiance beat and percussion, a nice change of pace.

13. Journey To The Center [3:41] (1994)
- This one appeared on the ISDN Transmission 2 New York (The Kitchen) (11.05.1994). Beatless, modern classical piece that is hard to believe it was written by FSOL in 1994. Again, I am reminded a lot of Vangelis, the Blade Runner period. Also, it contains some parts of the Yage flute sample!

14. Glacier (Part 2) [6:22] (1997)
- Appeared on the ISDN Transmission 9, London (BBC Radio 3, Mixing It) (25.03.1997). Epic closing of the album. Acoustic guitars, chimes, warm synths - all strive to say - hey, there are warm days on the Arctic too. The chirping birds leave you with a feeling the the album ended, time to get up and go take a walk in the sun.

15. I Turn to Face The Sun [vinyl bonus 2014] [4:23] (2006)
- This truly TRULY brilliant track was offered as a bonus digital download upon purchasing the 180g heavy vinyl version of Environments II in December 2014. I just can't say anything else than - it's an awesomely constructed track. Looks like the original sketch comes from the Lifeforms sessions, but it also sounds like there was some heavy enhancing made in the present. We've also heard talks that it originates from the new batch of tracks recorded form Environments 2/3/4 series, which is probably the case.

- The sample library:

Serengeti (at 2:31) samples This Mortal Coil - Waves Become Wings (at 2:45) (album: It'll End in Tears, 1984)


The opening of Boca Manu samples the opening of Sad World (aka Dr. Atmo & Ramin) - Cordoba (album: Sad World 2, 1994) [on the legendary Fax records by Pete Neamlook]


Want to read more about the Environments series? Click away:

Environments (19.11.2007)
Environments II (29.08.2008) --> It's this post.
Environments 3 (24.05.2010)
Environments 4 (30.04.2012)
Environment Five (08.09.2014)
Environment Six & 6.5 (07.10.2016)
Last edited by Pandemonium on Sun May 13, 2018 9:05 pm, edited 5 times in total.
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Re: Pande-reviews: 2008.5 (FSOL - Environments II)

Post by Ross » Thu Apr 23, 2015 5:27 pm

Ha, Ice Formed is my favourite on the album, absolutely love it.

Quick story about Glacier, Brian described this to me back before the album was released - it was a track they did which was then remixed by Max Richter - they then remixed his remix. So I'd imagine the two versions here are Max's remix and their futher one (if I was to speculate further, I'd go for 'Fibrillation' on E4 being a reworked version of the original they sent to Max.)

Pemberton I reckon provided the strings on Viewed From Above.

I don't think either of the 'new' tracks are from 2008 itself - given that the bulk of Environments 3 was recorded around that time, I'd probably put them at 2006/2007 (everything comes out years after it was made it seems!)

Unless you know different, I think I Turn to Face the Sun is entirely FSOLDigital era.

edit: oh and yes, fucking amazing album. My second favourite FSOL behind Lifeforms. Totally absurd that it was pieced together over such a broad range of eras.

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Re: Pande-reviews: 2008.5 (FSOL - Environments II)

Post by Pandemonium » Thu Apr 23, 2015 9:28 pm

Cool Glacier story :)

About the new tracks - true - could be - but going down that road, everything we guess in years (Archives and B-Sides) should be taken with margin error of (at least) 1 to 3 years :) - They are all our estimates more or less. In this case, E2 came out at the end of the year, so it's possible those pieces were finished somewhere in 2008, or quite possibly 2006/2007, who knows...

I don't know anything first hand about 'I Turn to Face the Sun' - it just sounds like that to me, the base drum-beat sounds old...
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Re: Pande-reviews: 2008.5 (FSOL - Environments II)

Post by Ross » Fri Apr 24, 2015 6:11 pm

Hmm, as far as I know it was in a batch of material recorded around the same time as A Glitch in Cellular Memory, Small Town and such.

You know, I think this is my favourite era of being an FSOL fan*. The Translations/Papua Remixes/Isness period was pretty exciting because it was the first new material in such a long time, but after the overwhelming launch of FSOLDigital with its slightly inconsistent quality, 2008 had the first EBS mixes, and then waking up one morning to Environments 2 and Archive 5 (both my favourites within the series) was just incredible. Probably helps that I called a sickie that day. A period where I listened to nothing but FSOL for weeks on end, especially as I'd just bought Archive 4 and Environments 1 on CD a few weeks before. Since then the 'main' releases have been more planned out, which has obviously worked well for getting the band a better promotional schedule, but I do miss waking up and finding two albums waiting, completely unexpected.



*other than being a kid and having four albums to continually fawn over in my local indie.

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Re: Pande-reviews: 2008.5 (FSOL - Environments II)

Post by ronniedobbs » Sat Apr 25, 2015 1:53 am

what do we consider promotion for the fsoldigital era? I know it's on their own terms now, but apart from radio mixes, and the occasional promotional mix ala FSOLDigital Mix CD with the magazine, has very much been done? I loved the period where Gaz would throw a 30-60 min mix at BBC, and possibly show up to say a few words, but those days seem to be over. It's online & print interviews now. Don't get me wrong, I love seeing Gary on FB, we are truly an interactive community, where the artists have shed their egos to become friends with their fanbase. I just miss the days of a subway size poster promoting Lifeforms, or ISDN, like the Tower Records display from 1994. ah the 90s...
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Re: Pande-reviews: 2008.5 (FSOL - Environments II)

Post by Ross » Sat Apr 25, 2015 9:25 am

The only time we get interviews or mixes is for the MPB series or the live stuff, ie when they are working with a label or promoter. When it comes to their own stuff I'm not sure they have a budget for it. It shows, too. When Gaz's Facebook post about Environment Five from last September got bumped to the top of his page recently, loads of comments were people asking when it was coming out, or saying FSOL are back! etc. - lots of FSOL fans genuinely unaware that the album was released and often even unaware FSOLDigital exists. Word of mouth is the only thing that gets their stuff around, so those not on forums or with friends who are fans are just going to be left in the dark...

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Re: Pande-reviews: 2008.5 (FSOL - Environments II)

Post by ronniedobbs » Sat Apr 25, 2015 12:13 pm

I guess they are making a comfortable living with so many independent releases under their belt now, the storefront is a great cash cow while they focus on making new music. just keep up that stock! lol
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