Their work covers most areas of electronic music, such as ambient techno, house music, trip-hop, ambient dub, acid techno and often involves extreme experimentation; for example they have, since the turn of the millennium, experimented with psychedelic rock under their Amorphous Androgynous alias. In addition to music composition, their interests have covered a number of areas including film and video, 2D and 3D computer graphics, animation. In making almost all their own videos for their singles they displayed their genius is not limited to manipulating sound, radio broadcasting and creating their own electronic devices for sound making further extended their understanding of the path they are on.. They have released works under numerous aliases.
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FSOL was formed in Manchester, England, in the mid 1980s. Dougans had already been making electronic music for some time when they first began working in various local clubs. In 1988, Dougans embarked on a project for the Stakker graphics company. The result was Stakker Humanoid. Cobain contributed to the accompanying album. In the following three years the pair produced music under a variety of aliases. Stakker Humanoid re-entered the UK chart in 1992, followed by the breakthrough ambient dub track "Papua New Guinea" featuring a looping Lisa Gerrard vocal sample, which was their first official release. Virgin Records looking for electronic bands and quickly signed them. With their newfound contract they immediately began to experiment, resulting in the Tales of Ephidrina album, released in 93 under the Amorphous Androgynous moniker. Thus preceding FSOL 's first album release Lifeforms (94)
Lifeforms followed in 1994 to critical acclaim. The new work featured unconventional use of percussion interspersed with truly ambient segments. The eponymous single from the album featured Elizabeth Fraser of the Cocteau Twins on vocals. The album was a top 10 hit on the UK album chart. 1994 also saw the release of ISDN, which was as close to a live album as most electronic acts get - it featured live broadcasts FSOL had made over ISDN lines to various radio stations worldwide and to The Kitchen, an avant-garde performance space in New York. Its tone was darker and more rhythmic than Lifeforms.
In 1996, FSOL released Dead Cities. The new material was a curious mix of ambient textures and hard, gritty dance music. This album also featured a collaboration with the composer Max Richter. However, critics suggested that the duo's musical output seemed to dry up following this release, save for a few 12" singles and remixes.
After a long hiatus, and rumors of mental illness ( de facto mercury poisoning from teethfillings), Cobain and Dougans returned in 2002 with The Isness, a record heavily influenced by 1960s and 1970s psychedelia and released under their alias Amorphous Androgynous. It was preceded by Papua New Guinea Translations, a mini album which contained a mixture of remixes of FSOL's seminal track as well as new material from The Isness sessions. Three years on, Dougans and Cobain followed the album with a continuation of the Amorphous Androgynous project, Alice in Ultraland. Rumoured to be accompanied by a film of the same title, the album took The Isness' psychedelic experimentation and toned it down, giving the album a singular theme and sound, and replacing the more bizarre moments with funk and ambient interludes. The album was ignored by the press, but more favourable among fans than its predecessor. Unlike The Isness, which featured almost a hundred musicians over the course of it and the various alternative versions and remix albums, Alice in Ultraland featured a fairly solid band lineup throughout. In 2006 FSOL released a best of album, Teachings From The Electronic Brain, then a year later they released 4 Archives albums thru their own FSOL digital platform (yage.co.uk) where all their releases are available for .
In early March 2008, the band released a new online album as Amorphous Androgynous entitled The Peppermint Tree and Seeds of Superconsciousness, which they describe as "A collection of psychedelic relics from The Amorphous Androgynous, 1967-2007". The release retains the sound of their last two psychedelic albums, while expanding on the element of funk first introduced on 2005's Alice in Ultraland. They recorded their following album, The Woodlands of Old, under the alias of their imaginary engineer Yage. Unlike the techno work recorded as Yage in 1992, this new record was darker, more trip-hop and world music-oriented and featured ex-Propellerheads member Will White.
Following on from the band's 1997 DJ set of the same name, a series of "Monstrous Psychedelic Bubble Exploding In Your Mind" mix CDs were begun in 2006. The first two were released under the Amorphous Androgynous alias, subtitled "Cosmic Space Music" and "Pagan Love Vibrations" respectively, with the first taking over two years to compile, mix and gain sample clearance, both featuring the band's psychedelic influences. A third is set for release sometime in 2010, and will be more electronic, mixed by The Future Sound of London.Further mixes in the series are expected up to 6 now available on line (Pod Room) Aswell as 6 Kiss 100FM transmissions from theearly nineties.
Between 2008 and 2010, the band showcased a series of radio broadcasts and podcasts called The Electric Brain Storms. Proton Radio hosted the first on 16 June 2008, PBS radio in Australia were due to showcase the second, and Frisky Radio broadcast the third. The remaining shows appeared on the band's official site.The shows featured electronic, krautrock, experimental and psychedelic favourites of the band mixed in with known and unknown FSOL material, including newly recorded tracks, archived pieces, and new alias recordings such as EMS:Piano. Many of the new tracks featured on Environments 3, but some pieces remain unreleased and are planned for the next Future Sound of London album. They keep up a fascinating The Future Sound Of London YouTube Channel under the guise of the electronic brain.
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Environments is the first part in a series of planned releases by The Future Sound of London over 2007/2008 via digital download
Environments is more of an audio journey in two large parts than multiple, exclusive tracks, and is described on FSOL's website as capturing city-scapes, jungles, outer and inner space: typical FSOL music in many ways. Originally planned for release in 1994 under the Amorphous Androgynous alias, it was scrapped, despite being given a catalogue number for its US release and being announced in the liner notes of "Lifeforms". In 2007, Brian Dougans reconstructed the album from archived material. Contained within the record are samples and elements from released tracks such as "Tired", "Wookii", "Cascade Part 1", "Life Form Ends" and "Ill Flower". A CD version of the album was released on Jumpin' & Pumpin' records on July 21, 2008, giving fans a chance to own an actual copy of the album fourteen years after its initial planned release
The Future Sound Of London - Environments (flac 280mb)
01 Environments (Part 1) 27:58
02 Environments (Part 2) 21:14
The Future Sound Of London - Environments (ogg 113mb)
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Continuing from the first album in the series, part II is equally ambient (as opposed to the more breakbeat led material of their albums and archive series), but features strings, choir sounds and synthesiers, in contrast to the more abstract, sample-based nature of the original album. There are a few low-fi type tracks with subtle beats, similar in sound to tracks from Aphex Twin's "Selected Ambient Works..." series. The strings mentioned are Goldenthalian in sound and weave into the electronic ambience. The album features contributions by Max Richter, Daniel Pemberton, Chris Margory, Robert Fripp, Colin Bell and Will White.
The Future Sound Of London - Environments II (flac 299mb)
01 Viewed From Above 2:34
02 Glacier (Part 1) 8:55
03 Serengeti 4:32
04 Colour-blind 3:39
05 A Corner 3:24
06 Newfoundland 2:03
07 North Arctic 3:19
08 Factories And Assembly 4:59
09 Ice Formed 4:20
10 Small Town 3:14
11 Nearly Home 3:38
12 Boca Manu 2:22
13 Journey To The Center 3:40
14 Glacier (Part 2) 6:18
The Future Sound Of London - Environments II (ogg 127mb)
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Future Sound Of London - Lifeforms (94 ^ 98mb)
Future Sound Of London - Lifeforms II ( 94 ^ 99mb)
Amorphous Androgynous - Alice In Ultraland (05 175mb)
The Amorphous Androgynous - A Monstrous Psychedelic Bubble Vol 1 - Cosmic Space Music 1 (153mb)
The Amorphous Androgynous - A Monstrous Psychedelic Bubble Vol 1 - Cosmic Space Music 2 (154mb)
The Amorphous Androgynous - A Monstrous Psychedelic Bubble Vol 2 - Pagan Love Vibrations 1 (148mb)
The Amorphous Androgynous - A Monstrous Psychedelic Bubble Vol 2 - Pagan Love Vibrations 2 (148mb)
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