Although the EDM classic Papua New Guinea had got some decent attention in the world of electronic music, the first Future Sound Of London album was fairly forgettable. Shifting away from a singles based focus to an improved album based position, the namesake knew they could do better. And here, they did. This is an incredible and futuristic sounding album to date, so let’s hear what these guys had to offer way back in 1994.
We begin with Cascade which begins with a subtle techno feel, wind chimes, Chinese instrumentation and some wonderful sounds that are entirely original and unique. It is a superb introduction to the album, and sounds chilled and majestic. Then the sounds go into the background, with a main melody coming back into the mix. It sounds different in a good way, and is a great piece to hear in an Asian tropical rainforest, if you can get there. Some extremely quiet, yet excellent rolling drumbeats then come along. This is an imaginative and psychedelic experience in music unlike any other. The sounds are brilliantly conducted and executed here, taking you into another world. It eventually goes into some breakbeats whilst the chilled sonic landscape in is your ears. A great starter to this album, seguing gently into the next track.
Following is Ill Flower which is super science fiction like and trippy. It’s a shorter piece but takes you through the general theme of the album with a great ideal of imagination in it. It is an amazing and awe-inspiring listen. Very good music, with more strange sounds in it. There are sampled voices loaded with sound effects here too. A brilliant and intelligent piece of music. No doubt Leftfield were inspired by pieces such as this one from this album. Some well played chimes are at the end, a great listen.
Flak comes next with its quiet bongo beat, sense of musical arrangement that is fantastic and unique melodies. It has more wind chimes and a better sense of rhythm about it. Simple, yet psychedelic, imaginative and above all else, brilliant. A great listen with different melodies interchanged here. There is a great breakdown in the middle of it, which is cool and different. A supersonic and interestingly melodic piece of music. Some cool windpipe sounds and cleverly mixed vocals are at the end here.
Bird Wings is a bit of a surprise, with samples of said bird wings flying. If this is not psychedelic trippy music right here, then Syd Barrett was not a genius. Fortunately, it is. A short and interesting listen.
Next is a much longer piece Dead Skin Cells which has a repeating electric piano riff and more out-of-this-world sound effects. It is a great and refreshing listen in the intro, before some menacing beats kick in. This album is no doubt one of the greatest electronic albums made to date. It just sounds so magnificent, as much as this song alone does. There are some crickets chirping and strange samples, before a set of bongo beats drive in the background of this track. This is really intelligent and classy, no doubt many great EDM musicians in particular were inspired by music such as this. Refreshing and relaxing. Some science fiction style sounds are in the middle of this track, mixing with the rest of the music here. A lone acoustic guitar plays an awesome melody here as well. It fades out slowly and gradually, segueing into the next track.
The next piece Lifeforms is a catchy and uplifting track that sounds awesome and majestic, with an almost Acid House like melody that sounds cool. Definitely one to dance to, this is a great title track that you should hear today. It is awe-inspiring and different, with a good sense of groove to match. It still retains its intellectual vibe here, just a great track. It goes into a bongo beat based breakdown that is pretty cool. Some trippy sounds towards the end are pretty good. It is a mind melting and original music experience, check out this album today.
Eggshell is a weird track, both in name and sonic intention. There are some trippy wind chime style sounds, as well as a brilliant set of melodies here. Leftfield definitely were listening here, it sounds super good and different all the same. A great sense of sonic understanding and development is here from the FSOL (as they are known for short) and there is a killer Acid melody here at hand. There is also a windpipe melody that adds to the interesting feel of this track. A good and well designed and structured piece of sonic landscape. Catchy and memorable to hear. Good work. Some weird clanking sounds are here as well. This piece is very Jean Michel Jarre style of intent. There is a clock ticking sound in the latter part of this track, along with some great rainforest animal type sounds.
Among Myselves actually has some spoken word samples here to grab your interest, which are very unusual in character. After that, there is a loud Acid style sound that kicks off the instrumental side of the track. It then enter more tripped out rainforest sort of territory. It is a truly great listen which is interesting and unique. It must have been a great period of time to make electronic music, this was truly a great time of development for that type of music in general. There are some rather trippy bird imitation sounds in it as well, listen carefully to it. It still sounds high quality and has not aged much today. Eventually, beats enter the scene, making this a great listen. A well thought out and intelligent song and album, this is a great piece to take you places. Some well programmed beats and excellently executed sounds are here. It has an extended outro that sounds like it is out of The Matrix film. Neat.
Next is Domain which begins with loud wind rushing sounds than continue for most of the track. There are some light sounding melodies here as well, along with more tripped out noises. There is what sounds like fish jumping out of water, a very imaginative and effortlessly achieved piece of work. There is seemingly some Mandarin Chinese sampled and spoken here, which is strange indeed. A great listen.
Following is Spineless Jelly which has some heavily delayed vocals in the background of the sound of schoolchildren, before going straight into a science fiction like track with some awesome melodies. Sure, this is seemingly more of the same. However, it is a very good listen. There are some quirky noises that build and develop, here to take your mind elsewhere. A really excellent listen, with some alien sounding Morse code sound effects. There are some matching beats here, too. It fades into the next track.
Interstat sounds like aliens, more so that anything Steve Vai could ever think of. It’s a short and strange instrumental piece that goes straight into the next track without warning.
Vertical Pig has some lovely bamboo flute sounds by what we can hear here, along with some awesome rushing water to kick off the track with. Before long, some extra sounds enter which sound like helicopters. It goes into a paranoid sounding piece that sounds like it could have been in a film of sorts. Decent and trippy, it sounds as though FSOL were inspired by drug use, not drug addiction. Still, it is a great listen and sounds awesome and wonderful. A more song structured sort of piece minus lyrics, it is a good listening experience. It sounds completely different to anything else recorded before or since. Awesome stuff. A decent tune.
Next is Cerebral which is a shorter and more freaky sounding piece, with much of the instrumentation played before on this album. It is still a refreshing and good listen, with some acoustic guitar playing and some female backing vocals in the background. It is another relaxing and interesting listen. It has some loose bass guitar notes in it as well. It has some darker sounds in the track towards the end, changing the scene somewhat.
Following is Life Form Ends which has some repeated female background vocals, a constant humming male vocal and some more out-of-this-world sounds like Indian drumbeats and other strange compositional parts. It goes into a good track that sounds awesome and keeping in line with the theme of this album. It has a strange midsection that is super trippy, and another Acid melody joins the track. It becomes very catchy, and reveals this track as a great track.
Vit begins with the sound of traffic noises in the background, before going into a load of delayed rainforest sounds, continuing largely with the theme of the album. Some more noises, such as screaming jets, enter the track. It then goes into a very much Glitch style track, which is forward thinking and futuristic for EDM. It is a strange listen, but we go into a fairly straightforward EDM beat driven piece for your pleasure. Some digital animal cries are here as well. All in all, a strange and different listening experience. The outro is very relaxing sounding, music to meditate to, no doubt.
Omnipresence comes next, with a load of dark, delayed sounds at the start. It continues on with a lot of these sorts of sounds, making it a different listening experience. A percussive melody then enters the track, which is quite different. Some glass chimes are here as well. Some breakbeats are here as well, before ethereal melodies return to this track. There are some liquid melodies during the breakdown, before some other unusual sounds return in the track. Some bongo beats are here towards the end, making this another memorable listening experience. There are some great backwards sounds towards the end of the track.
Next is Room 208 which is extremely trippy, with a load of delayed vocals here. What this is supposed to represent is difficult to understand, but the piece is quite different to the rest of the album. Some backwards electric guitar sounds then kick off the next part of the track, with more Acid sounds and slow beats. It is a great listening experience, and is simple, melodic and refreshingly original. A strange, yet essential listening experience. A minimal, yet great listen. Some simple string melodies are here towards the end that just sound really fantastic. A great and very psychedelic listen.
After that is Elaborate Burn which is a highly unusual and strange listening experience, although continuing with the theme of the album here. It has some strange sounds in this track, but it is a solid listening experience. Many looped sound effects are here as we approach the end of this majestic listening experience.
Little Brother is the last track on this album, and begins with some sound effects and some really dark sounds to the track. Perhaps the darkest track was saved until last? Whatever may have occurred with the ideas of this album, it is good to finish it off here. Some really trippy backwards sounds as here. The wind instruments at the end are very unusual indeed.
The Future Sound Of London lifted their game here and delivered a great album worth having if you love EDM music. The only real problem with this album is that it is too much of the same thing, and drags on as a result. Still, a nice effort that could have been edited down.