Jump to content

Amorphous Androgynous - We Persuade Ourselves We Are Immortal


Recommended Posts

They've been working on the new AA album for like 4 years now, and preparing an EP length single by the end of 2019, full length album to (hopefully) follow next year.

IMG_6612.JPG

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

This appears to be one of their classic "Paths" EPs, with one main "radio mix" and then multiple radical reworkings of the track.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 1 year later...

Jeez. That sounds so awful, I cannot decide whether or not it's a deliberate piss-take.

And the videos - pure pretentious 70s prog garbage.

If it is deliberate, that's an awful lot of time spent on something you'd flush down the toilet.

I think I'd rather just concentrate on FSOL and pretend than this crap doesn't even exist.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Definitely not a piss-take. Gaz is far gone into the prog & psych thing... I think his only link with electronic music now is being in FSOL. 

It's got to the stage where Amorphous and FSOL have almost entirely separate fanbases now - there's a crossover of a couple of hundred hardcore fans, but otherwise they're pretty much separate in terms of audience. With The Isness you can still hear the FSOL production in there, but Amorphous is definitely a 'band' now, with Gaz going out to studios and recording with people, and Brian working behind the scenes with some synths and mixing and stuff. I think the main album will be pretty much all songs, unlike the earlier ones where there were lots of semi-electronic instrumentals on there (Elysian Feels, The Wicker Doll, Riders on Circadian Rhythm, etc.) - those kinds of tracks are ending up on the Environments albums (Murmurations, In Solitude We Are Least Alone, Anacro Rhythm, etc.). So yeah, if ten minute full band prog tracks aren't what you want I'd probably just stick to FSOL and Brian's side-projects. 

I do like We Persuade Ourselves We Are Immortal. The main track is pretty well structured and I like the tune. I'm not convinced it needs 90 minutes of variations though, and some of the ones on that video are a bit much (especially the constant wailing vocals). As a standalone song on the album it'll probably work a lot better. My main reservation with the coming album is that now it's no longer Brian and Gaz jamming in the studio, trying to get psych/prog stuff out of their old FSOL hardware, it's all become too sleek and convincing. I still love the Abbey Road version of The Isness, and a lot of that is down to the fact it's constantly weird and surprising, jumping from genre to genre and mixing live instruments with electronics. Now Gaz is out there working in professional studios with prog musicians, it feels like a lot of the Dougans/Cobain sound has been lost and it's all become too much like Gaz's influences. Like when you start making IDM and you want to sound like Aphex, but you have no idea to and in the process end up creating your own sound and it's great. But if you actually learn how to sound like Aphex then you just sound like Aphex and there's a kind of 'eh' response. 

  • Like 5
Link to post
Share on other sites

i remember ages ago around when the isness came out gaz had this online memoir thing going. it was all about how at the height of fsol he lost his soul and was just like riding around in limos drinking champagne and getting blow jobs or whatever. then he got mercury poisoning which gradually made him insane for a while. once he got better he and brian would meet up (i feel like he described walking through woods to do this) and talk about new music ideas and share new recordings. it seems like at that point he was already full AA and started dressing like he lived in haigh ashbury. i went to a virgin megastore to get the isness the day it came out and i was like lol wtf is this. eventually i grew to like a couple tracks but over all the project was not for me. it's been a total surprise that they eventual put out so much more fsol stuff bc i was convinced it was gonna be all AA after that. gaz seemed all in. 

i also recall seeing some videos of gaz arguing with people on the streets of "united kingdom" about christianity while wearing a fur coat. then there's a video of he 'sol boys with this occultist rodney orpheus and they're all hyped up about how stereo is the most shit thing ever invented and moving forward every record was gonna be in full surround sound lol. gaz is such a treasure imo. without brian he would work at chipotle but he gives their work such bravado, such boldness. that mf tried to sell the cover art they made for lifeforms to virgin records for like $140k lmao. he keeps brian from just twiddling in total isolation. incredible pair, would recommend (not AA tho) 10/10 for the fsol brothers.

  • Like 5
Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh God, the Ramblings of a Madman page. His original plan was to do a story of early '97 right through to the completion of The Isness, but admitted that, after three very long, rambling chapters, about the Dead Cities tour, the first Monstrous Bubble radio mix, writing a song with Ian Astbury of The Cult ('The Shining Path' which ended up on FSOL's Archive 5 in the end), then going to LA and meeting people out there. He realised that he was still only halfway through 1997 and hadn't even got to the start of writing The Isness, so gave up as it would end with about 50 chapters. Sad that as of next year that won't even be browser-supported through archive.org because it was all flash files.

I'd love to read the whole story, though, those years are such a mystery. So many tales in interviews - Gaz's mercury fillings, him going to India to do the usual spiritual retreat, Brian and the label wondering where he'd gone and having to track him by credit card statements, Brian getting mysterious acoustic demo tapes in the post and working out how to make them into FSOL tracks, the pair having tentative bike rides in the woods after not seeing each other for months, Gaz stuck indoors with a broken angle writing the words and chords to The Galaxial Pharmaceutical - that don't even mention the recording of the album. Going way back, I remember the leading fansite of the time by Nick Woodfine, got a news update from their management. "New album will be released in early 1999, with a lead single - 'Little Miss Divinity' - in late '98". So it only took them just over a year to finish the first version of the album, that clearly includes material from the final mix, despite all this madness going on. At what point did they lose the lease on Earthbeat and Brian bought The Galaxial Pharmaceutical studio in Shoreditch? How many times did they 'finish' the album before delivering the final version to Virgin in 2001? When I finally get around to writing my epic FSOL biography, I'm going to grill Gaz about these years.

The original plan was to make an FSOL album with Gaz's words and guitar in there, and that probably wouldn't be so far off sounding like FSOL - he sings a few times on earlier FSOL records - but at some point he decided he wanted the whole lot on there, orchestras, sitars, guitar solos, everything. I still love how bonkers the album is, and how the mesh of electronic and psych-rock works together. There's only one live drum performance on the whole album (the 'rock' section of Galaxial), with the rest of the drums and a lot of the bass being programmed, as well as there being a ton of samples on it too.

If you replaced the four or five proper songs with archived tracks from the 1997 sessions ('Sendoro Luminoso', 'Trying to Make Impermanent Things Permanent', 'Private Psyche and Inner Life', 'Popadom', etc.) and stuff from The Otherness, and put some environments between tracks to make it gapless I still think you'd come up with a convincing psychedelic FSOL album, rather than an Amorphous one. Back then it was still Brian and Gaz working together in the same studio on a proper record label contract, so everything they were working on went into the same project, regardless of how it sounded. That's how you end up with Amorphous tracks like 'The Wicker Doll', a Dan Pemberton collaboration which is clearly the forerunner to the Environments and Views series of the last few years, that sounds nothing like Amorphous at all. Since they both left London, got their own home studios and started up their own label, they've been able to work on both FSOL and Amorphous at the same time, meaning all the loop-based instrumental stuff is now siphoned off into FSOL, leaving Amorphous open to sound like a proper band. If they'd stayed in London and had a record contract, I have no idea what would have happened, whether FSOL would have come back at all. I can't imagine it would have laid dormant forever, as I can't imagine Brian being happy to leave his synths alone for much longer. 

Gaz is truly a one of a kind. His spiel has always been 50% bullshit 50% inspiration - something I'm sure he'd be happy to agree with - but between the arrogant outbursts, those '90s interviews reveal someone who was really passionate about doing something totally new and exciting and pushing the boundaries of multimedia. There's one interview from '95 or '96 where he said there'll be a point where they'll no longer sell albums, but subscriptions to a connection to their studio where they'll broadcast a continuous stream of audio-visual material. Imagine if the Dead Cities era hadn't been such a dark point in his life and they'd carried on doing FSOL into the point where this became possible. They were so ahead of the time, and then they quit before all their dreams became possible. It's kind of tragic in a way.

It's also what makes my excitement about the new Amorphous stuff a bit muted: it doesn't feel as new and exciting as even The Isness did - retro-inspired as that album was, it really doesn't sound like anything else - it just feels like a very well studied impression of prog/psych. 

tl;dr - I think too much about FSOL.

  • Like 5
Link to post
Share on other sites

Lol, I vaguely remember some of the weird stories around the time the Isness came out and thinking wtf is this. The limo thing always struck me a bit weird because I wouldn't have thought they had money for that kind of lifestyle.

I remember listening to a rip of the Kiss FM's A Monstrous Psychedelic Bubble Show and then Isness quite a bit back then, because I was into that kind of stuff myself also, but gave up around the time of Alice in Ultraland.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Nice to read about these old tales. 
 

I remember first hearing FSOL in my high school physics class back in ‘98. I’m sure our teacher used to get high (and probably was in class). He would just sit at his desk each day and let us do whatever, including go through his playlists on Winamp on his PC. 
 

The guy was a terrible teacher and literally taught us nothing. But hearing Dead Cities tracks through those tinny computer speakers made me a life-long fan.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, purlieu said:

If you replaced the four or five proper songs with archived tracks from the 1997 sessions ('Sendoro Luminoso', 'Trying to Make Impermanent Things Permanent', 'Private Psyche and Inner Life', 'Popadom', etc.) and stuff from The Otherness, and put some environments between tracks to make it gapless I still think you'd come up with a convincing psychedelic FSOL album, rather than an Amorphous one.

01. Elysian Feels
02. The Isness
03. Trying to Make Impermanent Things Permanent
04. Rural Green
05. The Shining Path
06. Osho
07. Guru Song
08. Her Tongue is Like a Jellyfish
09. Meadows
10. Theram
11. Thinking About Thinking About Thinking
12. Popadom
13. Tiny Space Birds
14. High Tide on the Sea of Flesh
15. Tudor Oak

I think this is pretty good, a nice mix of guitar/organ-sampling psychedelic breaks and a few acoustic ambient interludes. Would have surprised a few people in 1999 but I bet it wouldn't have been the fanbase-destroyer that the Amorphous one was.

Who else is bored this weekend?

10 minutes ago, Extralife said:

Nice to read about these old tales. 
 

I remember first hearing FSOL in my high school physics class back in ‘98. I’m sure our teacher used to get high (and probably was in class). He would just sit at his desk each day and let us do whatever, including go through his playlists on Winamp on his PC. 
 

The guy was a terrible teacher and literally taught us nothing. But hearing Dead Cities tracks through those tinny computer speakers made me a life-long fan.

That's amazing. I was lucky enough to catch My Kingdom on Top of the Pops back in late '96. I'd just turned 12 and although my musical horizons were fairly broad (my dad played me 'Revolution 9' when I was ten), it was definitely a life changer. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

omg purlieu you brought me back to so many details i had forgot all about. amazing! i will be instabuying that biography when you complete it. i'm gonna explore this playlist, i know there's probably some really interesting AA gems i've completely missed. 

back in the mid-late 90s when i was first getting deep into electronic music i refused to listen to fsol for a while bc i had read an interview with jack dangers (who was The Man to me then - and now) and he remarked that he was disappointed they never asked him to remix papua new guinea considering they used his bassline for the track. i was like well fuck these guys, these guys must be chavs. but when dark cities came out the video for we have explosive really blew me away. it got a fair bit of traction on mtv at the time. shortly after i was over at my uncle's who is an electronic music head and he played my kingdom for me and i was like what the fuck. soon after i walked over to circuit city* and bought that and lifeforms and ever since they've been one of my favorite bands. 

i've always had the impression that gaz was the visionary but maybe that's just bc he's been the main spokesman for the band. but i consider brian one of the best producers in electronic music - i still regularly listen to lifeforms and i'm like man this sounds incredible. there was a fair bit of long form ambient stuff in the early 90s but that record is above and beyond. it's so intricate and detailed and all those different sounds are so perfectly mixed together. my guess has always been that brian was the man responsible for the technical side and gaz was the ideas man and that maybe they also met each other in the middle and shared duties. i guess i'll have to learn about this in your book purlieu.

but yeah hearing the 21st century fsol stuff has been amazing - it's very clear they've stuck with it and developed further mastery of their craft. some of the environments stuff is immaculate. incidentally i somewhat consider environments 4 to be like an fsol AA album. it has that psychedelic essence while being an electronic project. 

 

*back then circuit city and best buy had a lot of cool shit, i bought tons of warp stuff and other lush cds from them when i lived in the burbs with my mom.

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

There was some crossover in terms of engineering and ideas and such, but there's definitely some truth to the idea that Brian is the more 'technical' one and Gaz the more melodic / ideas guy. 

Environments Four and Five definitely feel the closest to the two sides coming together, a balance between live proggy/psych instrumentation and electronic collaging. I suppose the new Amorphous record has been in the works since those were completed, which might be why FSOL has taken a more overtly electronic/IDM path since then, with much of the psych stuff going into AA.

Just realised you're in the US so that Mixcloud thing probably won't work, there are daft restrictions on mixes having several tracks by the same artist over there.

The book is still a bit of a pipe dream - I have a vague structure planned out, but the closest I've come to doing any particularly length writing was this bio on a wiki I accidentally deleted from my server a couple of years ago. So it'll probably be years away still.

Link to post
Share on other sites

And yeah, Lifeforms has such a rich, detailed, complex sound that most of the mid-'90s ambient techno scene rarely touched - so many artists with three synths and a drum machine noodling away for 12 minutes per track.

  • Haha 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
10 minutes ago, purlieu said:

There was some crossover in terms of engineering and ideas and such, but there's definitely some truth to the idea that Brian is the more 'technical' one and Gaz the more melodic / ideas guy. 

Environments Four and Five definitely feel the closest to the two sides coming together, a balance between live proggy/psych instrumentation and electronic collaging. I suppose the new Amorphous record has been in the works since those were completed, which might be why FSOL has taken a more overtly electronic/IDM path since then, with much of the psych stuff going into AA.

Just realised you're in the US so that Mixcloud thing probably won't work, there are daft restrictions on mixes having several tracks by the same artist over there.

The book is still a bit of a pipe dream - I have a vague structure planned out, but the closest I've come to doing any particularly length writing was this bio on a wiki I accidentally deleted from my server a couple of years ago. So it'll probably be years away still.

i'll use the tracklist as a starting point though, thanks for making it. this bio looks awesome, i'll be digging in this afternoon.

Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, purlieu said:

That's amazing. I was lucky enough to catch My Kingdom on Top of the Pops back in late '96. I'd just turned 12 and although my musical horizons were fairly broad (my dad played me 'Revolution 9' when I was ten), it was definitely a life changer. 

I think my first touch with FSOL was the Stakker Humanoid video on MTV Europe. But it might have been also the Papua New Guinea video. Can't recall the exact order. I also remember seeing the Lifeforms CGI videos in mid '90s. First album I got was Accelerator though.

Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, purlieu said:

There was some crossover in terms of engineering and ideas and such, but there's definitely some truth to the idea that Brian is the more 'technical' one and Gaz the more melodic / ideas guy. 

Environments Four and Five definitely feel the closest to the two sides coming together, a balance between live proggy/psych instrumentation and electronic collaging. I suppose the new Amorphous record has been in the works since those were completed, which might be why FSOL has taken a more overtly electronic/IDM path since then, with much of the psych stuff going into AA.

Just realised you're in the US so that Mixcloud thing probably won't work, there are daft restrictions on mixes having several tracks by the same artist over there.

The book is still a bit of a pipe dream - I have a vague structure planned out, but the closest I've come to doing any particularly length writing was this bio on a wiki I accidentally deleted from my server a couple of years ago. So it'll probably be years away still.

That bio was a great read. Thanks for sharing!

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Alcofribas said:

omg purlieu you brought me back to so many details i had forgot all about. amazing! i will be instabuying that biography when you complete it. i'm gonna explore this playlist, i know there's probably some really interesting AA gems i've completely missed. 

back in the mid-late 90s when i was first getting deep into electronic music i refused to listen to fsol for a while bc i had read an interview with jack dangers (who was The Man to me then - and now) and he remarked that he was disappointed they never asked him to remix papua new guinea considering they used his bassline for the track. i was like well fuck these guys, these guys must be chavs. but when dark cities came out the video for we have explosive really blew me away. it got a fair bit of traction on mtv at the time. shortly after i was over at my uncle's who is an electronic music head and he played my kingdom for me and i was like what the fuck. soon after i walked over to circuit city* and bought that and lifeforms and ever since they've been one of my favorite bands. 

i've always had the impression that gaz was the visionary but maybe that's just bc he's been the main spokesman for the band. but i consider brian one of the best producers in electronic music - i still regularly listen to lifeforms and i'm like man this sounds incredible. there was a fair bit of long form ambient stuff in the early 90s but that record is above and beyond. it's so intricate and detailed and all those different sounds are so perfectly mixed together. my guess has always been that brian was the man responsible for the technical side and gaz was the ideas man and that maybe they also met each other in the middle and shared duties. i guess i'll have to learn about this in your book purlieu.

but yeah hearing the 21st century fsol stuff has been amazing - it's very clear they've stuck with it and developed further mastery of their craft. some of the environments stuff is immaculate. incidentally i somewhat consider environments 4 to be like an fsol AA album. it has that psychedelic essence while being an electronic project. 

 

*back then circuit city and best buy had a lot of cool shit, i bought tons of warp stuff and other lush cds from them when i lived in the burbs with my mom.

 

I used to find import Aphex stuff all the time at Best Buy circa ‘96 for a fraction of the price at US record stores, lots of FSOL singles/EPS as well.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Some great posts there @purlieu, I also find them fascinating, their 90s output is peerless. I was absolutely gutted when they went quiet after Dead Cities and was really confused then I bought The Isness with no knowledge of what it would sound like. Took me many years to appreciate it although I still struggle with some of tracks, I should really check out the Abbey Road version and see if that works better for me.

I’ve always suspected that the more epic moments on the 90s albums was more down to Gaz and that’s why there’s much less of them in the newer stuff. It might also be because the newer stuff is less of a melting pot and more focused on particular themes

Link to post
Share on other sites

Didn't those initial copies of The Isness have an FSOL sticker on the front? I think that's what probably confused/annoyed their fanbase the most, as they were expecting one thing and got something *very* different entirely.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • Similar Content

    • By purlieu
      Every time there's a new release there's normally a fair bit of discussion in the relevant thread, so I thought it was about time to start a general FSOL thread. Also, I just started a new blog called Fractional Difference, in which I'll be going through every release and song, in order, and looking at various things... all the facts, connections with other tracks, and my own personal feelings about them. It's going to take forever (they released 180 tracks on the launch of FSOLDigital alone), but I'm quite looking forward to revisiting the whole catalogue over the next however long it takes.
      So far I've done an About page which explains my discovery of the band and running the various fan sites I have over the years, a discography page which I'll fill in with links as the project goes along, and I've done a couple of entries, for Bacteria From a Baboon's Stomach and the original release of Stakker Humanoid.
      Hopefully will be getting a few stories, bits of trivia and pics from Brian over the course of it to spice it all up.
      Anyway, the blog is here if anybody fancies following: https://fractionaldifference.wordpress.com/
      And, in terms of general discussion, this is still my all-time favourite piece of music:
      Weird that it hasn't changed for nearly 25 years.
    • By purlieu
      Copypasting this from my FSOL news page...
      This year, Record Store Day partially follows the pattern of last year's staggered format, with two drops. The first is on 12th June, and this will include a record three releases by Dougans and Cobain. The first, and most interesting, is the latest in the series of re-imaginings of the band's '90s tracks. This time, We Have Explosive is in the chair, with a set of new re-interpretations of the track. Given that the last two releases have featured archival works among the new tracks, it's possible that tracks like 'Exploded Funk', 'Abandoned Housing Blocks of Prypiat' and 'Blue Green' may be among the tracks here, but in general expect a series of new tracks based around the band's second-most-famous piece. An expanded CD version a couple of weeks later is, at this point, a near certainty. Interestingly, the cover and given title lists no 'Re-Imagined' or '2021', as with previous releases.


      Secondly, The Amorphous Androgynous tease a forthcoming reissue of Alice in Ultraland with a 10" EP, with The World is Full of Plankton as the title track. The b-side will feature two as yet unknown tracks, apparently from the album too. This is clearly more for the collector, although taken on its own, it's really nice to see 'Plankton' get its dues as one of the finest compositions in the Dougans / Cobain ouvre. The album itself, of course, passed back into the band's posession last year at the end of their contract with Harvest; a reissue is overdue, and one hopes a bonus disc in the style of The Otherness will accompany it. No release details have been revealed for the reissue yet.


      The third and final release is the most curious: Accelerator is coming out again, this time on its 30th anniversary (the minor issue of J&P delayed the 1991 release until the start of 1992 notwithstanding). There are no details on the Record Store Day page (linking, annoyingly, to the WHE page), but the full listings have it down as a double LP, suggesting there'll be some extra material here (a 12-minutes-per-side 2020s style release seeming unlikely, given it being mixed to play as two gapless sides). One assumes it's likely to be a set of 'Papua New Guinea' remixes on the second disc - possibly the same set as the 2001 reissue, given a vinyl release at last - although given the amount of archived material being regularly uncovered over at 9LW, it's not impossible that we're getting a whole album of Accelerator-era outtakes. The cover provided is the same 'remixed' version from the 2016 RSD release, so it's not totally impossible that it's actually a 12" + 7" pack as we had then, simply mislabelled by the people at RSD. We're going to do some digging, but either way we'll find out in the next few weeks...
    • By Rubin Farr
      CD1 - Dead Cities Remastered
      CD2 - We Have Explosive Remastered / expanded single + remixes / with bonus tracks
      CD3 - My Kingdom Remastered / expanded single / with bonus tracks
      CD4 - The Lost '95 Sessions
      CD5 - The Expanded '97 Sessions
    • By auxien
      just happened across this YT channel that's basically just a trove of tape rips (mostly it seems at least) of DJ sets. clicked on a few and listening to this FSOL one right now: 
      and starting this Carl Cox mix right now it sounds wild:
      [edit: that bassline that comes in at 22:11 is so goddamned dirty. so many awesome synth lines all throughout this thing tho fuckin hell]
      anyway i imagine a lot of this is available elsewhere but i'm guessing there's definitely some in here that isn't. maybe dig and share some gems. seemed maybe worth its own topic for sharing ones from this channel and similar era rarities stuff in the same vein...archive.org probably has some up there as well.
    • By purlieu
      https://fsol.bandcamp.com/album/music-for-3-books
       
      Music for 3 Books compiles all 17 tracks originally released as bonus digital EPs when purchasing the first three Ramblings of a Madman zines/mini books, released between 2017-2019. They're compiled here as an album, available digitally, and also as a CD pre-order, shipping on 15th March.
      The 2017-2020 Calendar Albums are also now available on Bandcamp as full releases. On each page is a pre-order for a vinyl release: "what was considered the best tracks have been selected from the 4 calendar albums and reassembled on the 180g vinyl", shipping on the same day.
×
×
  • Create New...