A Space of Partial Illumination e7.002 out October 2022

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Neil
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Re: Rituals: e7.001 (Environment 7) out April 2022

Post by Neil » Mon Apr 25, 2022 9:27 am

mtnsportr wrote: Sun Apr 24, 2022 12:02 am I went to the record store to support RSD and knew they wouldn't have Rituals but looked anyway! Not sure if any copies go to Texas...at lease my kids found some records they wanted so it was fun.

Will order online as usual and avoid reading any spoilers from you guys haha jk. But for real my first thought was to go verify those tracks on Mindmaps but it is better to wait and listen to have that "aha" moment.
Yeah it was quite nice actually - there were a few folk taking their kids along and getting them into vinyl; nice vibe in the queue and people were striking up conversations with each other. Having the vinyl has made me really want the cd/digital now though as im very intrigued by the Rituals extended tracklist version. I think i saw a release date for that somewhere here, but guess it'll be soon. I should also say that (no spoilers!) my vinyl copy sounds really clean and a decent pressing with no issues, so hopefully they're a good batch for everyone.

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Ross
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Re: Rituals: e7.001 (Environment 7) out April 2022

Post by Ross » Mon Apr 25, 2022 9:59 am

Yeah, extended CD and digital this Friday.

Track-by-track:
Hopiate - Opens with Lifeforms-era samples. Piano, synths, rich and beautiful opening atmospherics, big bass line comes in - this is the track that was on Alan's mix a couple of years ago. Really energetic, uplifting, a wonderful way to open the album. Strings and guitars. Would be surprised if this wasn't a Gaz-heavy track. The '93/'94 sounds are a bit strange, I don't think I've heard '90s elements used so heavily in a new piece before.
"You're not going to kill me". Slowed down voice sample, very '90s FSOL too.

Triple Circles - Tinny drum machine, background atmospherics. Choir like synth pads, twinkly melodies come in in the second half, then dark, heavy bass. Beats alternate between a slow, hip-hoppish groove and faster, more skittery rhythms. Very much in line with the style of recent tracks, could probably pass for Humanoid. Thick, heavily compressed mix. A good example of the style.

Somewhere Outside - Light, clattery ethnic percussion, acoustic guitar arpeggios and loops, chopped and pieced together. Guitar probably recoded at the same time as 'Sense of Being'. Becomes pretty glitched and mangled as it goes on. A brief environment.

Ritualised - As expected, this is 'Rituals' from the last year's Touched mix. Very, very glad this is here, love this track. Really reminds me of a more ethereal version of 1995 track 'Cow'. The violin in the second half is beautiful, and it contrasts wonderfully with the raw, chunky beats. Fades into field recordings...

Time Cone - ...which continue here. Minor key synth arps, an odd churning lo-fi rhythmic loop. A hint of Brian's more hauntological projects and even a touch of Zeebox in the rhythm. Fades out to wind sounds, then some synths which are from, I think, an E6-era track, but I can't place them. That or they're similar! Nice to get a closing environment within an index again! Closes with a voice asking "what do you feel?"

Solar Signals - Eerie opening sounds, reversed breathy synths/filtered voice samples. Back into more IDM territory again, dark atmospherics, drum machine beats, bleepy melodies. There's a lot of texture in here, though, rather than some of the more minimal sounding tracks we've had on calendar albums and so on.

Sand to Ocean - Fittingly opens with seashore field recordings, waves and gull cries. Suddenly it's into fast IDM territory again, but with a big, almost sentimental sounding melody. The synths here actually remind me of some late '90s Eurotrance thing, more than a touch of Chicane to it. Beats are all over the place, never solidifying into a groove but being more textural. I am a massive romantic wanker at heart and this ticks all the boxes for me. Cheesy but beautiful.

Far Seeker - Slow breaks, more hip-hoppish territory again. Not the direction I envisaged FSOL taking at this point, but it works. Dark but emotive melodic synth stuff, distorted 303 lines coming in during the second half. A quick break for metallic percussion - xylophones? - and back into the beats again.

Slowly Slipped Away - This is 'Rain Forest', the synth and flute track from Mind Maps. The album's second ambient piece! A really beautiful track, and I'm glad it's got a home on a 'proper' album. Closes on sung female vocal samples.

Visibility Accumulation - Drum machine that sounds like it's falling apart. Thick, noisy synths, layers of crumbly fuzz. God, this doesn't sound remotely like any other FSOL material. Reminds me of that track from Autechre's Plus with the 808 in it.

I Am Error - If you'd asked me to guess what this track would be like, I wouldn't have said a minute of ambience based around snakey flute loops followed by distorted hip-hop drums and deep, booming bass.

Colour Primary - Detuned, BoC-like synths, some samples and field recordings that are familiar from the past but I can't remember when, gurgling sounds and other textural noises. Slightly child-like melody that acts as a nice respite from the rather heavy going bunch of tracks preceding it.

Time Passed the Sun - More slow drum loops, backwards acoustic guitars, field recordings, layers of thick synth pads. Flute melodies and tabla loops give it a slightly more ethnic/world feel in the second half. Something about it really reminds me of The Day the Poles Shifted from 6.5, might be the combination of the flute, bass and tempo, but it's got that feeling. "As for you, as for you..."


My first reaction to this, bizarrely, is immediately hearing a lot of the other recent material in a different context. I was a touch worried that it might be as stripped back and cold as a lot of the Calendar tracks, but that's not even remotely the case here. The more IDMish tracks feel like they've combined that recent direction with the crumbly textures and field recording layers of Environmental and Views and the rich melodies of the earlier Environments series. With things like Calendar albums, it feels like we've been allowed a look into the creative process behind the sessions for this album, hearing tracks that didn't fit the mood or style of the record and one-off experiments, rather than an actual signifier of where FSOL was heading next. Tracks like 'Zen Jenny' and 'Alertions' have as much to do with the sound of Rituals as 'Mango Tree' and 'Skinny Ribber Fucker' have to do with the sound of Dead Cities.

I was honestly expecting the album to be an extension of the more Humanoid-leaning fast IDM sound of a lot of recent tracks, so the number of slower tracks mixed in with those was a nice surprise. I know there's been a touch of sameyness to some recent releases that has worried a few people, but this does - thankfully - feel like a real step forward. It doesn't sound like any previous FSOL record, especially on tracks like Visibility Accumulation. If I had to compare it to a past album, I'd say it's closest to ISDN, definitely sharing some of the album's rawness and dark atmosphere. Rituals is a very good title as there's a certain 'primitive', almost tribal feel to it. If I had to place it in a 'world' on first listen, I'd say the working title of 'Slowly Slipped Away' is perfect: Rain Forest. A journey through a dense and very unfriendly jungle.

Overall, a real growth from the previous albums and a superb record in its own right. I would say it's possibly the closest to '90s FSOL of all the new material (ie Envi 4 onwards), whilst sounding completely new and fresh at the same time.

Neil
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Re: Rituals: e7.001 (Environment 7) out April 2022

Post by Neil » Mon Apr 25, 2022 11:29 am

Good to hear your take Ross. I was definitely getting some LF (inevitable with those opening samples) and ISDN vibes from some tracks on it. Ha - possibly my current favourite is Sand to Ocean! Maybe as it has that immediate hook and uplifting euphoric thing going on that i was like 'what's this?!', but then quickly i was like 'ooohhh I love this!'. It actually reminded me a little of something Underworld might make when they do their really unashamedly up, beautiful feel good stuff, but less beat oriented. Far Seeker is interesting - randomly my partner said it sounds like it could be in a movie like John Wick during a fight scene or something. Not sure how she's getting that... I think overall i'm getting a bit more warmth and moments of beauty from this record, compared to other recent releases, in amongst the darker atmospheres. But i definitely need to give it some more listens so it settles.

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Re: Rituals: e7.001 (Environment 7) out April 2022

Post by darktrain » Mon Apr 25, 2022 12:37 pm

This is sounding really promising especially the 'something Underworld might make when they do their really unashamedly up, beautiful feel good stuff'
Feels like a proper follow up to dead cities,as in,proper FSOL album.
friday cannot come soon enough

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Re: Rituals: e7.001 (Environment 7) out April 2022

Post by Neil » Mon Apr 25, 2022 1:41 pm

darktrain wrote: Mon Apr 25, 2022 12:37 pm This is sounding really promising especially the 'something Underworld might make when they do their really unashamedly up, beautiful feel good stuff'
Feels like a proper follow up to dead cities,as in,proper FSOL album.
friday cannot come soon enough
There was just a feeling i got from that particular track that reminded me of the feeling i get listening to those Underworld tracks that have those blissed out sections taking you into the last part of a track (thinking Jumbo or 8 Ball, or Scribble). It kind of ends a bit abruptly for me and i wanted it to build and develop for another 5 mins!

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Re: Rituals: e7.001 (Environment 7) out April 2022

Post by Ross » Mon Apr 25, 2022 3:06 pm

Neil wrote: Mon Apr 25, 2022 11:29 amI think overall i'm getting a bit more warmth and moments of beauty from this record, compared to other recent releases, in amongst the darker atmospheres. But i definitely need to give it some more listens so it settles.
Yeah, it's definitely a lot richer sounding than most of the past few years' music, and more uplifting than, say, Environment Six. I think there's a pretty good blend of moods that manages to work together as a whole.
darktrain wrote: Mon Apr 25, 2022 12:37 pm Feels like a proper follow up to dead cities,as in,proper FSOL album.
Interesting that you say that, I've honestly seen all the Environments from 4 onwards as proper albums. It's more beat-driven than the earlier volumes, but not as blippy IDM sounding as the 6 trilogy, which does make it feel a little more like their '90s work than the others, but it's still very much its own thing in the way 4, 5 and the 6 trilogy were.

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Re: Rituals: e7.001 (Environment 7) out April 2022

Post by darktrain » Mon Apr 25, 2022 4:04 pm

To Neil

I know what you mean..i asked gaz once why 'i turn to face the sun' was only 4 minutes long and was there a longer version available,he replied just think of it as 4 minutes of perfection saviour it more lol


Maybe you can do your own edit of the said track?
Last edited by darktrain on Mon Apr 25, 2022 4:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Rituals: e7.001 (Environment 7) out April 2022

Post by mcbpete » Mon Apr 25, 2022 4:05 pm

Looking forward to grabbing this when the digital version is out at the weekend. The cover so reminds me of one of my favourite ever releases on the demo scene:


Neil
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Re: Rituals: e7.001 (Environment 7) out April 2022

Post by Neil » Mon Apr 25, 2022 7:40 pm

darktrain wrote: Mon Apr 25, 2022 4:04 pm To Neil

I know what you mean..i asked gaz once why 'i turn to face the sun' was only 4 minutes long and was there a longer version available,he replied just think of it as 4 minutes of perfection saviour it more lol


Maybe you can do your own edit of the said track?
Ha, ha good response. Seem to remember reading Aphex Twin talking about track length circa Richard D. James album, and how he could say what he wanted to say with his songs in a couple of mins, so didn't see the point in long tracks!

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Re: Rituals: e7.001 (Environment 7) out April 2022

Post by epitome » Tue Apr 26, 2022 2:56 pm

This is all very exciting, I can't wait to hear Rituals and the bonus tracks. I'll be grabbing the CD as soon as it's available on fsoldigital. I hope the bonus tracks are a separate download, as I don't really like it when bonus tracks are "tacked on" at the end of an album (not a big deal though, of course).

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Re: Rituals: e7.001 (Environment 7) out April 2022

Post by Ross » Tue Apr 26, 2022 4:44 pm

The ‘bonus tracks’ are basically just an extension to the album that’ll also be on the CD, like the ones on the RSD re-recordings, ie the LP version is actually edited to fit the format rather than the CD/digital has some bonuses. There’ll be no gap or anything.

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Re: Rituals: e7.001 (Environment 7) out April 2022

Post by Ross » Wed Apr 27, 2022 1:20 pm

Out now on Bandcamp! CD, digital, vinyl.
https://fsol.bandcamp.com/album/rituals-e7001

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Re: Rituals: e7.001 (Environment 7) out April 2022

Post by Ross » Wed Apr 27, 2022 2:39 pm

Ebb Flow - Lo-fi piano loops and improvisation. I wonder if this is a Pemberton collab? The first modern classical-leaning piece on the album and a stylistic link to the earlier Environments volumes.

Avoiding Mirrors - Clattering, skittery beats, starts quite minimal and repetitive but pads come in and open the sound stage right up. Flute samples bring it back to the ethnic vibe of the album at the end.

Clone A9 - Twinkly IDM, synth arpeggios and glitchy drum machines, the usual suspects, but with some lo-fi beats and a growling bass sound that give it a much rougher feel than the 6/6.5 material in this style.

Only in Memories - Rainfall. Synth melodies and drum loops fed through some weird filters. Gives the impression of gradually being flushed down a plughole. Very, very strange and a typically odd way to close the album. Quiet field recordings fade to end.

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Re: Rituals: e7.001 (Environment 7) out April 2022

Post by Neil » Wed Apr 27, 2022 3:16 pm

Ah sweet - thanks for the heads up Ross, Friday seemed ages off (slow work week).

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Re: Rituals: e7.001 (Environment 7) out April 2022

Post by 808Spense » Wed Apr 27, 2022 3:29 pm

Interesting that digital and CD are the same cost. I usually get the digital because of the shipping costs to Canada but looks like I will be getting a shiny new CD this time. Wonder if the cost will be the same on FSOLDigital.

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