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The Future Sound of London - A Space of Partial Illumination (e7.002) - FSOLDigital


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Second part of the Environment Seven trilogy is due out in July, Juno and Amazon listings report. Copies from FSOLDigital/Bandcamp will no doubt ship a week or two earlier. No cover yet. Only tracklist so far seems to be an incomplete one on Amazon, probably for the first side of the vinyl:

1 A Space of Partial Illumination
2 If That Were To Occur
3 Intents And Purpose
4 Embodied Cognition
5 All This Has Happened Before
6 How Forests Think

CD and digital will almost certainly contain more tracks than the LP as usual. 

Volume three is currently hoped to be out at the end of the year, vinyl manufacturing permitting.

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Oh, here we are:


1. In Solitude We Are At Least Alone (Waltz)
2. A Space of Partial Illumination
3. Frozen Light
4. If That Were To Occur
5. Informal Horizon
6. Intents And Purpose
7. Ephemeral
8. Embodied Cognition
9. Long Green Field
10. All This Has Happened Before
11. Temporary Aliasing
12. How Forests Think

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • Rubin Farr changed the title to The Future Sound of London - A Space of Partial Illumination (e7.002) - FSOLDigital

Yeah, God knows what happened here. Some stores are now reporting 29th July as a release date. I think a lot of customers are going to be disappointed by the three month wait on top of that.

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Always wondered why they never got a "watmm page" guess you gotta be (or have been) on warp or rephlex to get one of those. Can't wait to hear part 2 of this "trilogy".

Edited by nature
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  • 2 months later...

Stores are now carrying dates of 14th, 18th and 21st October - a Bandcamp release will come along before that, so probably the next couple of weeks.

Not sure if the tracklist previously given was an early draft of the album but this is the correct one, with a different running order and a renamed track:

1. A Space of Partial Illumination (5:30)
2. If That Were to Occur (3:16)
3. Intents and Purpose (4:06)
4. Embodied Cognition (4:03)
5. Long Green Field (2:24)
6. Temporary Aliasing (5:16)
7. In Solitude We Are Least Alone (Waltz) (2:38)
8. Frozen Height (3:07)
9. Informal Horizon (5:27)
10. Ephemeral (2:58)
11. All This Has Happened Before (5:42)
12. How Forests Think (4:56)

CD/digital will have four extra tracks and different artwork.

Edited by purlieu
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  • 4 weeks later...

Here are my initial track-by-track thoughts:


A Space of Partial Illumination - Water and birdsong, leading into mellow glitchy ambience with some tape hiss. Incredibly minimal. Not sure there are any real comparison points to previous FSOL tracks. Lovely, although not very direct and a strange choice for one of the streamable tracks on Bandcamp.
If That Were to Occur - Chunky drums, this is immediately reminiscent of the ISDN-leaning sound of Rituals, right down to the haunting ambient textures in the background. Some bitcrushed noises. "Where are you going?"
Intents and Purpose - IDM, slightly acidy, very Humanoid. Once more, the Rituals-style thick background layers bring it a certain sense of ambience, despite the hectic fast beats.
Embodied Cognition - Acoustic guitar, midtempo beats, very melancholic. Like a less epic 'Long Shadows'. Some familiar electronic noises in the background. Beautiful, my favourite track so far. "Something's wrong here..."
Long Green Field - Pemberton collab, from Mind Maps 2. Works really well following the last track. Some field recordings from the opening track present. Again, an odd choice for preview track as it's nothing like the bulk of the album so far.
Temporal Aliasing - Moody ambient intro, suddenly into some frantic breakbeats. Darkest track so far, begins to brighten a little with some melancholic synth pads, making it much airier. Definitely ISDN-reminiscent again. Distorted synths come in and it's all quite intense. Goes into an outro environment of rain, reversed sounds and dramatic, synth strings. Fades to almost silence, for the side-flip, but I think the digital version is technically gapless still, with a minuscule crossfade into...
In Solitude We Are Least Alone (Waltz) - Unsurprisingly the version from Mind Maps 2 and the NFT. Piano and violin from the original, given a more electronic arrangement. Female wordless vocals in the second half. I'm still not sure how I feel about versions of the same track appearing on two different albums, although this is more FSOL and less Amorphous, so I'm immediately more disposed towards it.
Frozen Light - Stuttering breakbeats, really gorgeous synth arpeggios and pads. Beautiful, immediately my favourite track now. Choral sounds. "Wait!"
Informal Horizon - Field recordings from the first track seem to still be present, recurring as a theme throughout the album. Back into IDM territory again here, this reminds me a little of early Locust records, very dark ambient techno. Reminiscent of some of the heavier Calendar Album material.
Ephemeral - Starts with some dark synth pads, but moves into Pemberton piano work around the minute mark. These E7 Pemberton tracks feel much more electronic than the previous Views collabs; this one has pulsing synths and chopped up pianos. Lovely stuff.
All This Has Happened Before - More piano chords, although these don't feel like Pemberton. Deep bass, thudding live drums, electric violin. This one has Gaz written all over it, very heavy proggy Amorphous vibes. This is really great, like a darker and more melancholic take on the Amorphousy material on Environment 6.5. Think there's a sound from 'Hallucination' in there (or something Dead Citiesy), the first '90s sound I've noticed on this album so far. I could honestly listen to an album of this kind of thing. Outro environment of gurgling sounds and hisses.
How Forests Think - Tinny drum machines, hypnotic synth arps, lots of weird noises going on in here. Voicemails! "Helicopter, £450..." An odd choice for the end of the vinyl album, but FSOL album closers have often been unusual.
Mangy Burger - The third Bandcamp preview and another that's a strange choice as it's another fairly minimal piece. Single kick drum, lots of textural sounds, some synth pads, chopped up acoustic guitar note. It's a good atmospheric piece in context of the album, but... let's say it's not exactly single material. Also that title...
A Stationary Air Mass - More ambience, reverberating glitches and hi-hats, slowly a mid-tempo acoustic drum loop and some pensive melodic stuff. EMS sweeps for the first time in a while. Chunky beats bring back that ISDN sound again, with some dubby delay. Noisy synths, some electric guitar noise, then wobbly synth pads and pianos bring in a much brighter, warmer sound. A very strange beast, but definitely a beast.
Exists to Remove Doubt - Track from 47:02 into Mind Maps 2. A hint of 2016-2019 sound here, very bleepy, some crunchy and clicky beats. A brief brighter moment as a breather just before the final track. "Can you hear us? Answer us! Follow my voice..."
Sophies Path - Track for Brian's cat. Synth pads, arps and melodies. Very dramatic, ending the album on an incredibly sad note. This is a much stronger album closer than 'How Forests Think'. Some of the synths here are heavily reminiscent of the more melodic Synthi A material, lovely old analogue sequences. Really beautiful stuff, another highlight. Closing environment of birdsong heavily reminiscent of the very start of the album, bringing things nicely full circle.

On the whole, it's not quite as different from Rituals as I was expecting, stylistically, with a similar mix of chunky breaks, IDM and ambient textures, but the overall mood is somewhat different. It feels less claustrophobic, much airier, if still retaining a certain darkness. There's a nocturnal feel, and the closest I'm getting, atmosphere-wise, is maybe the very first Environments album; for me that always had the feeling of being outdoors, at night, maybe on some alien planet, and that's quite similar here. Stylistically it's obviously very different, but tonally I think the two are comparable.
The main difference from Rituals, I think, is the real lack of the shorter bleepy tracks that were familiar from the E6/6.5 era. That sound feels like it's gradually been phased out, with more emphasis on Humanoid-style hectic IDM and more live sounding drums again.
I have to say, I immediately prefer it to Rituals, which I never quite got into the way some people have. This one is slightly more melodic and spacious sounding, so it's automatically going to be more my kind of thing, but I think it's very slightly more consistent, too, lacking some of the slightly jarring tonal shifts that Rituals had.

Favourite tracks: Embodied Cognition, Temporal Aliasing, All This Has Happened Before.
Least favourite: Exists to Remove Doubt.

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2 hours ago, purlieu said:

Frozen Light - Stuttering breakbeats, really gorgeous synth arpeggios and pads. Beautiful, immediately my favourite track now. Choral sounds. "Wait!"

Yeah, love this one too!

2 hours ago, purlieu said:

Intents and Purpose - IDM, slightly acidy, very Humanoid. Once more, the Rituals-style thick background layers bring it a certain sense of ambience, despite the hectic fast beats.

And this one!

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This album is very good. Initially, I'm enjoying it more than Rituals (love that too though) but first impressions are I'm going to like this one a lot!! This is going to be on Heavy rotation. Can't wait to get the vinyl! Cd will have to wait until next month. Spent far too much money this month!!

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