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Finally, I've deciced to make some time available for something I should have done years ago: Overhaul of the FSoL Soundscape...

The big reason for this is that Olohof is no more. All good things come to an end, so it's time to polish the site and migrate it to Hyperreal. All of a sudden I'm very grateful to Brian Behlendorf and Mike Brown again, who run Hyperreal, so I'm going to put my Hyperreal account to good use once more.

(My other site @ Hyperreal is here: Advanced Vinyl Handling - an introduction to DJ'ing and Mixing.) If you spot similarities in lay-out, you know why.

How it all started...

The Art of Noise Before I got in touch with music from FSOL I already was a great fan of Art of Noise. They were one of the first ever together with Mike Oldfield and Kraftwerk to use samples and synthesizers to produce their music. One of their most famous hits is "Paranoimia", which reached the status of Classic track in the electronic musicworld.

The history of Future Sound of London can roughly be split into 2 parts, Pre Accelerator and Post Lifeforms. The Accelerator album, and especially the track Papua New Guinea functions as turningpoint.

The Pre-Accelerator time is unknown to most people -including myself untill a while ago. To some people names like Mental Cube, Humanoid, Semi Real, Yage, Smart Systems and Indo Tribe sound familiar. Dance floor/underground/house music. Everything produced before the Accelerator album is no longer avaliable at regular record stores. It is no longer in vendors' catalogues.

Their breakthrough to the masses started with Papua New Guinea. This track featured in a TV-series on the BBC. It is said that this was what attracted the attention of Virgin -where Brian Dougans and Gary Cobain, the two people behind The Future Sound of London- signed up.

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Before Accelerator

cover from the 
EarthBeat V/A compilation album The earliest indications of the Future Sound of London date back to 1988 where Brain Dougans writes and produces the Humanoid-releases. Partner in crime during this peroid is John Laker, co-producer of all Humanoid-releases. Gary Cobain starts to get involved in 1989. (Vocals on the " Global Humanoid" album.) The name "Future Sound of London" starts to appear as name for producers of the albums. Later on, when Gary and Brian write/produce Accelerator (1992), they start to use "The Future Sound of London" as artist-name.
Their special Artworker Buggy G. Riphead joins the team in roughly the same period. The first traces of his artwork show up on the Papua New Guinea album, Stakker Humanoid 92 and Semi Real.

See the Discography for more details

If you are looking for music from this period you will have a hard time. It is very difficult to get hold of. Do you feel lucky? Ask the better/bigger record store to look up the Earthbeat Compilation Album, which is still avaliable if you look closely.

Click on the EarthBeat cover for more Pre-Accelerator covers/artwork.

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Accelerator

cover from the 
Accelerator CD

As with all the work from FSOL, styles differ from album to album. Accelerator is much more dance-like, compared to Lifeforms and it's successors. (Accelerator was recorded in 1991) The track "Papua New Guinea", was more or less their first large scale success and it's still one of the most famous FSOL tracks, originally part of the music of a BBC TV-series.

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Amorphous Androgynous - Tales of Ephidrina

cover from the 
Tales of Ephidrina CD To keep it simple: You are making an album for your new big recordlabel who recently offered a huge contract (Virgin). This is the Lifeforms album. In the process you end up with a lot of material that just does not fit in. Throw it away then? Let it get covered with dust? No, release the "leftovers" under another name. This is what became Tales of Ephidrina. However, do NOT get the impression that this album holds inferior material! The fact it doesn't mix with the rest of the Lifeforms album doesn't mean it's bad, on the contrary.
Another reason might be that they wanted to test the album, and they did not want to risk their name. At times like that aliases can be handy. Result: Tales of Ephidrina is both a try-out, as well as extra goodies.

One of the tracks on Tales of Ephidrina has some samples taken from the first album of Deep Forest. The intro of the CD, "Liquid Insects", is taken from the movie "Predator" (With Arnold Schwarznegger).

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Lifeforms

cover from the 
Lifeforms CD

Lifeforms, FSOL's first release under the wings of Virgin. This 2CD packed with over 90 minutes of ambient music became a huge success. Next to this album there is a video avaliable with MTV Chill out Zone-like material. Unfortunately it's hard to get. A little sample of this can be found on this server, mirrored with permission from Astralwerks. Follow the internal link to the 1.45 MB quicktime movie.

Lifeforms is music you listen to lying down on a couch or in bed, preferably with a headphone on, letting your mind flow along the stream of ambient sounds. As with most ambient music this music can be like a drug. Don't get scared off when you temporarily forget reality when listening to this music.

As with all music from FSOL it's always a quest to find out where they got their samples from. Movies, like for instance the Alien trilogy (on ISDN), are one of the sources. The 2nd CD starts with the theme from a classical melody, which slowly disappears. Canon in D major, by Johann Pachelbel (1653-1706). Not something one would expect at first from FSOL...

Also look at Cascade and Paths.

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ISDN

cover from the 
ISDN CD The title ISDN -Integrated Services Digital Network- refers to the fact this album has been recorded live during various ISDN transmissions, directly broadcasted on one or more radiostations.

Originally this was a limited version, 10.000 for sale in the USA, and another 10.000 in the UK and the rest of Europe. Sold out within 3 days of release. The re-release contains 3 different tracks in comparison to the first version. The original limited version is easily spotted, it has a cover made of thin black cardboard with the text "FSOL ISDN" pressed in the cardboard. The huge succes in sales made Virgin and Astralwerks decide to re-release ISDN, this time with a white cover. The white version holds a little 16 page booklet with artwork from Buggy G. Riphead.

The 3 tracks that replaced 3 tracks on the original black limited version have also been released as CD-single " The Far-out Sun Of Lung".

Compared to Lifeforms this album is rougher and less accessible. Still it has the potential to send chillings down my spine. A few samples can be recognized: "Come fly the teeth of the wind, share my wings" is from the movie "The Heretic -Exorcist II". People who have seen the Alien trilogy will hear some familiar samples as well.

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Dead Cities

cover from Dead Citiesimage of the Dead Cities CD Again different from what you heard before from FSOL, though the quality remains at that very high level of the previous albums. Together with the album they have made a 192 page book. 10.000 limited versions of Dead Cities have been sold in combination with the book, which contains artwork from Buggy G. Riphead. Old artwork and new never used artwork together with a very weird story. In all a nice photo-album of the FSOL-space/time.

Those of you who have seen the tracklist on the Dead Cities album can get quite confused. It's not what one can call an obvious tracklist... For the curious people: The tracklist that goes with the review is the nearest you get to the truth. Check out and see why.

Both "My Kingdom" and " We Have Explosive" have been released as CD-single.

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CD-single Releases

thumbnail Artwork The CD-singles got a page for themselves...But the .html file has gone AWOL. It will be back up at a later date. For now URLs for the singles below don't work and give Not Found error.

  • Back to the top. ISDN Transmissions: the Live Radio Broadcasts

    icon Thanks to Martin Snijder, another huge fan from The Netherlands, I got hold of a recording of one of their concerts, broadcasted on 11/11/1996 on VPRO Radio.
    (If someone can get me a copy of -for instance- the concert on 9-9-94 on VPRO radio, let me know!)

    And now: The ISDN.SHOW, one of their live Broadcasts via ISDN-line, is Online via RealAudio! Go to Transmissions: Dead Cities, Alive.

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    Discography and other related info

    To get an idea of what these guys have been doing over the years, check out the FSOL discography. You can download the version of december 25th 1996. The Discography is maintained by Swab. (See the text for more details) There's also a text avaliable with an early interview with the people behind FSOL. It's an article found on the net from mixmag october 1993 issue. Oh, and there's a FSOL-FAQ. Which needs drastic re-writing btw.

    • Download the Discography.txt file [version 3.2 December 25 1996]
    • More recent .DOC file.
    • Mixmag Interview october 1993 [original article located at Hyperreal]
    • mini-FAQ (kinda [huge understatement] outdated) [original article located at Hyperreal]
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    Artwork

    Artwork from Lifeforms Almost all the artwork you can find on the covers/backsides and in the booklets is the work of Buggy. G. Riphead. There are a few exceptions to this:

    • the remix album with Papua New Guinea mixes. (Hypnotic Recordings)
    • the re-release of Accelerator. (Hypnotic Recordings)
    • the artwork from the "We Have Explosive" CD-single releases.
    • the early Accelerator release at R&S records.

    The biggest collection of FSOL/Buggy G. Riphead Artwork is located at The Raft/The Electronic Brain. RealAudio streams, Images, Quicktime movies Quicktime VR and Shockwave Toys.

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    Links

    Since I started this page I've surfed and searched the net for every possible bit of Future Sound Of London-related information. This section of the page got so big I decided to give it a separate page.

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    Credits

    I would like to take this opportunity to thank a few people. Without them this page would have been very poor/a terrible mess/not even existing.

    • Collin Oosterbaan, for most of the Pre-Accelerator material.
    • Joost Landgraaf -aka Theo- for forwarding some reviews and generally making me aware of FSOL-things.
    • Martin Snijder, for the copy of the 11-11-96 ISDN recording (VPRO-Radio).
    • Astralwerks for their kind permission to mirror Lifeforms.mov, (1.45 MB quicktime movie)
    • Wibo Lammerts -aka Oui Beau- for more Pre-Accelerator scans.
    • Everyone who helped me with suggestions, ideas and most importantly: Debugging!

  • © 1999 - 2002. It is not allowed to duplicate this text or parts thereof without written permission of the author: Geert-Jan Pluijms.