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The Future Sound of London - Environment 7.003


Rubin Farr

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1 hour ago, purlieu said:

Surprises:

ISDN homage art

No title beyond Environment 7.003, after the past two had proper names

'I'm Eating Here' up there with the least FSOL titles.

How Brian comes up with song titles 

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Given how many releases there have been I'm amazed there are any left to use.

Apparently the album is titled Environment 7.003: Where All is Ending, only the title isn't on the sleeve or Bandcamp. There are two ways to live your life: the easy way or the FSOL way.

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"Going deeper and darker than the previous two albums, the flavour here harping back with memories of the groups 90s sounding pre “Dead Cities” album. On this release they have swamp laden electronics dripping from cavernous breakbeats weaving in and out of otherworldly chords and strings firmly back in the driving seat."

1 Future Testaments (4:13)

2 Resting Point (2:16)

3 A Desolate Stretch of Night Road (5:50)

4 Where All Is Ending (4:37)

5 Overwrite (4:11)

6 I'm Eating Here (4:01)

7 Echos of Inherent Sense (1:21)

8 A Space in the Subsequent Familiar (4:23)

9 Drift Incline (4:52)

10 Trichome (4:19)

11 Absence of Solution (4:23)

12 Kwaahu (5:02)

CD Bonus Tracks

13 Ruler (4:14)

14 Awkward Shape (4:04)

15. One Solar Radius (4:24)

LP time: 49:28, CD/download time 62:10.

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Future Testaments - Pure ISDN, chunky live drums and bass guitar, muted trumpet. Layers of weird noises swirling around. 303 comes in at the end.
Resting Point - Rain, birds, wordless male voice, warm drone - organ and reversed guitars? Suits the title perfectly an a nice breather after an intense opener. Beautiful.
A Desolate Stretch of Night Road - Owls calling. This is a bit brighter sounding than the name suggests. Backwards guitar and synth textures over a sedate beat. Bells from 'Eggshell' appear. Gorgeous synth pads appear in the second half. This is really stunning.
Where All is Ending - Continues the warm, enveloping atmosphere. Some tabla from 'Life Form Ends'. Birds speeding up. Windscreen wipers. Some stuff from 6.5, backwards guitar and flute. Flute from 'Serengeti'. Light percussion from one of the '94 transmissions. This is like a history of FSOL minced into an ambient mulch. I think this was part of the warmup show for the last Touched Night. Gorgeous stuff.
Overwrite - First appearance of the more recent IDM type sound, drum machine with a lot of glitches. The beats are sparse and slow, though, fitting in with the earlier tracks, and there's a lot of texture going on behind things.
I'm Eating Here - This was on one of the Touched Music nights, chopped up 'Mountain Goat' guitar with live drums and bass. Wonderful synth pads. Yet another stunner. That fucking title though.
Echoes of Inherent Sense - Melancholy ambient guitar interlude.
A Space of Subsequent Familiar - Thick wads of synths, old analogue drum machine, carries on the warm atmospherics of the album. Beautiful twinkly synth melodies near the end.
Drift Incline - Merges seamlessly from the last track. Plucky synth arps, building up in intensity. Breakbeat! Tense atmosphere here, adding a refreshing darkness. Ends with Deuter field recordings from Lifeforms Path 4.
Trichome - Weird spoken voices. Sparse glitchy beat, dark brooding synth melodies. Quite E6-ish in sound. One of the synths is heavily reminiscent of 'Northern Point', I wonder if it was recorded at a similar time.
Absence of Solution - Another seamless mix, this could easily be part two of the last track. Beats build up, then really atmospheric synth pads. Violin, some familiar field recordings, loads more unidentified textures in the background. Feels like I'm saying the same thing about each track here, and there's definitely a sense of consistency between the tracks that the last two albums haven't had, but at the same time each clearly has its own identity.
Kwaahu - Seems to be a Native American word. And we're back in ISDN territory again, live drums. String melody, tuned percussion and FM synths, reminiscent of Heads of Agreement. Piano, oboe. Cor, this is dramatic. Another tiny bit of Lifeforms Path 4, that track seems to be scattered throughout this album. I wonder if any of this originated in the Lifeforms Path re-recording sessions. That's a very strong end to the vinyl edition. Bonus track time.
Ruler - Weird groovy jazzy drums. Synths, textures, keeping in line with the rest of the record yet totally different.
Awkward Shape - Suddenly into pitch black ISDN territory, growling synths, timestreched drums, cavernous reverb. Enjoyably gnarly.
One Solar Radius - Starts with silence which, combined with it not appearing on the printed tracklist, suggests this was a fairly last minute addition. Which makes sense as it sounds nothing like the rest of the album at all. Bright, bouncy, twinkly IDM. It's lovely and actually works as a bit of a palate cleaner at the end, but it's bizarrely different to the previous hour.


So the issue I had with the previous two volumes of the trilogy was the comparative lack of ambience and texture - they were maybe slightly more conventional IDM and breaks type stuff - but this really harks back to Environmental from A:E:V in its use of field recordings and synth textures as a general background throughout the whole thing. I'm really into textural stuff and this delivers in spades. It's heavier on harmonic elements - no big melodies but definitely much more in the way of rich synths - than the previous two, and has some very emotive stuff. It's not as dark as the description suggested, but by combining the chunky beats of the last two albums with the textures of some of the 2017-2020 material, it's definitely reminiscent of pre-Dead Cities. It's probably the densest, most detailed production of any FSOLDigital-era release. There's lots going on so play it loud! The more IDM-leaning tracks are a world away from the Humanoid-esque clatter of the last two volumes. And every track runs to what seems like its natural length, there's none of the slightly-too-short sketches that have sometimes turned up lately. One thing I did notice, there's no obvious Gaz-written Amorphous-style track here. 'Kwaahu's sense of scale and use of acoustic instruments is the closest, but there's nothing like 'Hopiate' or 'All This Has Happened Before' here at all.

I'd say there's actually quite a parallel with the E6 trilogy here - the first volume has a dark, almost claustrophobic vibe, the second is more varied and possibly slightly disjointed, the third is more homogenous, subtler and heavily textural.

From the tone of all that I think you can tell that I enjoyed this. Going to have to give it a few more listens first, obviously, but I think it has potential to be my favourite FSOL record of the last decade. Depending on how well it holds up to E4, it might even end up being my favourite all new album (ie not E2) since Dead Cities.

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  • 1 month later...
On 10/24/2023 at 4:35 PM, purlieu said:

Yeah, Environmental was recorded at the same time as 6 and 6.5. Brian considers it the third part of Six.

What's with this new E7 extended thing they just dropped on Bandcamp? Are these all new tracks or is it just a collection of previously released pieces?

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2 minutes ago, fumi said:

What's with this new E7 extended thing they just dropped on Bandcamp? Are these all new tracks or is it just a collection of previously released pieces?

It's just Parts 1-3 combined

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