The Future Sound of London
Environments 3


4.0
excellent

Review

by Mike Stagno EMERITUS
January 4th, 2011 | 18 replies


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Environments 3 isn't quite as innovative as Lifeforms, but it is among the best ambient albums of 2010.

In a way it seems somewhat surprising that a group with records as highly acclaimed as Lifeforms and Dead Cities can work as The Future Sound of London has recently. That Garry Cobain and Brian Dougans have released music under a very large number of aliases doesn't exactly help, but we're talking about a duo that was quite successful commercially and a favourite of critics. And yet, they've been diligently working under the radar as of late, taking on a variety of projects which include a couple remix albums, b-sides collections (From the Archives, the sixth of which was also released earlier in 2010), diverse forays into progressive rock, and the Environments series.

For those who haven't kept up with The Future Sound of London since the mid-'90s, the opening sequence of "Viewed From an Obscure Angle" will likely surprise. Completely absent from the duo's sound is the spacey ambience that in part defined Lifeforms or the unsettling vibes of Dead Cities. Instead, Environments 3 plays on much more minimal sound. "Viewed From an Obscure Angle", for instance, is not much more than a soothing piano melody accompanied by soft ambience and short field recordings, and in spite of all the sparseness, it's still quite vivid. This isn't a formula Cobain and Dougans adhere to completely; "Summer's Dream" sounds desolate and lonely (not unlike something you would hear on Aphex Twin's Selected Ambient Works, Vol. II), while "Absolution" relies on a more beat-heavy, in your face style. However, the album is thematically linked together, similar to Lifeforms and Dead Cities. Cobain and Dougans capture the environmental concept rather well, allowing them to explore a number of different sounds, while maintaining a natural sounding record. Not unlike the actual environment, Environments 3 is unpredictable and diverse; "Hall of Mirrors" is lush and peaceful before transitioning into the frantic "End of the World" and back into the more delicate atmosphere of "Sense of Being".

Despite being a bit of a departure from The Future Sound of London's more heralded albums, Environments 3 (and really, the Environments series as a whole) stands out among the group's ever-growing discography. The generally minimalist structure of the record allows Cobain and Dougans to express a nuance of their sound not often explored, particularly as of late. It isn't quite as innovative as Lifeforms, to be sure, but Environments 3 is certainly among the best ambient albums of 2010. Given The Future Sound of London's penchant for quality, that isn't too surprising.



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user ratings (12)
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Willie
Moderator
January 4th 2011


16019 Comments


I thought these guys had broke up or had just become so bat-shit insane that they couldn't record music anymore. The number of side projects and aliases is just nuts.

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Enotron
January 4th 2011


7695 Comments


HOW DID I NOT HEAR ABOUT THIS?

foreverendeared
January 4th 2011


14678 Comments


wtf same here

Kaleid
January 4th 2011


711 Comments


Excellent. I'm glad to hear it doesn't get repetitive. I can always do with another FSOL album.

Mikesn
Emeritus
January 4th 2011


3709 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I thought these guys had broke up or had just become so bat-shit insane that they couldn't record music anymore. The number of side projects and aliases is just nuts.
I think they were completely inactive between Dead Cities and The Isness, but after that they've been releasing stuff pretty consistently, especially since 2007. From the Archives is gold.

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
January 4th 2011


31215 Comments


For me this was about as good as the first Environments, some nice ideas that lose their steam when spread out over a whole album

Digging: LV and Joshua Idehen - Islands

Spare
January 4th 2011


5310 Comments


didn't know this existed. really need more than lifeforms from this band.

Digging: Best Witches - Wishes

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
January 4th 2011


6145 Comments


Dead Cities was awesome too.

Gonna lay my hands on this.

Digging: Raven Throne - ???????? ?????????

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
January 4th 2011


31215 Comments



didn't know this existed. really need more than lifeforms from this band.


Accelerator, ISDN, Dead Cities & Environments II are all worth your time

There's also gold to be found in the From The Archives..... series, but they're essentially b-sides

Zettel
January 4th 2011


598 Comments


I liked ISDN, but I did not like Lifeforms and Dead Cities. Is there a good chance I might like this?

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
January 4th 2011


31215 Comments


If you don't like Lifeforms you don't have a soul

Spare
January 4th 2011


5310 Comments


i can see how someone would find it hard to get into

Mikesn
Emeritus
January 4th 2011


3709 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Well I haven't heard ISDN, but this is completely different from Lifeforms and Dead Cities so go for it

MO
January 6th 2011


18755 Comments


Dead Cities is a great album

Willie
Moderator
January 6th 2011


16019 Comments


If you don't like Lifeforms you don't have a soul


scissorlocked
January 10th 2011


3510 Comments


their music desperately begs for acid

gonna check this album,Lifeforms and dead cities were ace

FatChickIrl
January 11th 2011


4096 Comments


Bout time this had gotten a review

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
January 15th 2011


31215 Comments


Digging From The Archives Vol. 6 more than this funnily enough



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