Friday, 3 May 2019

Back to the Future (Sound of London)

I’m pursuing a Future Sound of London obsession at the moment, and not an insignificant one either. I lost track of Brian Dougans and Garry Cobain’s activities in the mid-90’s after the Dead Cities album and their 4-year long hibernation. Truthfully, I went through a long period of disliking the group, I had consigned the albums to the scrapheap of history, the Dead Cities LP was one of the few albums I didn’t replace on CD after my turntable died, and the Lifeforms album was left to collect dust on the shelf. In fact I had revisited Lifeforms a few times in the intervening years and I never ventured far into the album (a double no less), it always sounded so impossibly stuck in 1994. And then a casual listen to the album a few weeks ago turned out to be a revelation, the sprawling electronic rainforest suddenly sounded extraordinary (it would make an excellent soundtrack companion to J.G. Ballard’s The Crystal World), and ever since I’ve been plunging into FSOL’s weighty catalogue, mining the excellent Environments and Archives series. Right now, I’m in the grip of the brilliant Dead Cities, the newly acquired CD is wearing a hole in my player with compulsive listening. Worth noting that the last time I pored over the album’s production credits, the name Max Richter meant nothing to me, until years later and the release of Richter's monumental Sleep. Future sounds indeed…


Away from the albums and collections, I've also been digging the first of three sessions FSOL recorded for Pete Tong's Essential Mix series on BBC Radio 1. This first session, broadcast in December 1993 is particularly pleasing for me as scattered throughout the near-2-hour mix, are dialogue samples from Apocalypse Now (my favourite film!) and at one point, a heavily treated sample of Throbbing Gristle's Hometime is heard sandwiched between Mountain Goat (the best track on the Tales Of Ephidrina album), and the Lifeforms track Cerebral...

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