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Future Sound of London, The

Entry updated 18 October 2012. Tagged: Music.

Also known as FSOL. UK dance music group comprising Garry Cobain (1966-    ) and Brian Dougans (1968-    ). FSOL's collage of instrumental musical styles is often rhythmically (if complexly) robotic, appropriate to its primary use in dance clubs and at raves. Some of the group's apparent sf qualities reveal themselves, on closer analysis, to have more mundane explanations – for example their early album Tales of Ephidrina (1993) sounds like a danceable sonic tour of an alien world, although "ephidrina" is actually a type of amphetamine popular amongst ravers in the 1990s. But, true to their band-name, FSOL have released some unambiguously sf texts. Lifeforms (1994), their breakthrough album, manoeuvres its listener sonically through a blissed-out future world, and includes many weird spacy sound effects amongst the sinuous music; ISDN (1994) includes samples from the movies Alien and Escape from New York; and Dead Cities (1996) is an atmospheric piece of post-apocalypse Dystopia. Subsequent albums have been more animist-spiritualist than sf, although occasionally these channel prog-rock or Kraftwerk-like inspirations and touch on genre themes. For example The Peppermint Tree and Seeds of Superconsciousness (2008, released as by "Amorphous Androgynous") contains the tracks "In Fear of the Electromagnetic Machine (Part 1)", "Opus of the Black Sun" and "Tiny Space Birds", although there is a playful hippy reinterpretation of these New Wave tropes at work. Their music, however, is as often gratingly indistinct as it is obliquely beautiful. [AR]


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