In the early to mid-nineties, I was probably still in the remaining few years before moving on to secondary school, and discovering new music was as fun as you might imagine. With no widely-available internet, my news came from TV, radio and magazines… and to be honest I was still trying to ascertain my likes and dislikes when it came to new tunes. Consequently, when Future Sound of London were releasing Lifeforms in 1994 I was probably still listening to radio-friendly dance “hits”, but even though I discovered the album many years later, it still sounds as refreshing and mesmerising to this day. The mix of soothing effects, hard beats and shifting styles makes for a fascinating listening experience whether you’re playing the album for the first time or digging it out after countless replays. Lifeforms wasn’t the first album by Future Sound of London that I picked up – I actually purchased Dead Cities first – but listening to that album made me want to discover more of their older music, and I’m glad I did. Only last week I actually reorganised the music library on my phone and decided to add some old FSOL back in there because it’s still so good, and so news of the reissue of Lifeforms has come at an interesting time for me.
Getting prepared for the reissue of Lifeforms
If the reissue of Lifeforms means nothing to you, it’s worth finding a playlist on Spotify or YouTube and taking some time to familiarise yourself with the album. (If you’re looking for the CD in a store, check the spine and back of the case, as there are no words on the front cover… although you might be lucky and there will still be a sticker on the front of the case.) There’s a soothing and melodic vibe throughout the album, where synthy sounds aren’t too harsh and contend with thumping kick drums and more gentle effects. There’s nothing like the menacing tones of We Have Explosive here – so if WipEout 2097 was your only previous exposure to their music, Lifeforms may not be what you expect – but if you like the chilled and experimental side of electronica, you should definitely set some time aside to listen to the album.
How to get hold of the reissue of Lifeforms
According to the product page on Bleep’s website, the reissue of Lifeforms will be coming at the end of the month, and as well as getting the album on 180g vinyl there will also be a download code provided for those that prefer their music as digital files and their vinyl as sealed art. I still have the album on CD somewhere around here (just in case the news of Apple phasing out music downloads is true and I need a backup solution for getting tracks from the album) and a personal highlight for me has always been Omnipresence – a gentle beginning leads into a twee melody and some rumbling beats, and it’s a track that’s bursting with character, much like most of the music on Lifeforms. Whether you missed out on the album first time around and pick it up as a history lesson for yourself, or your original album has been thrown out or damaged, you now have an excuse to pick up the reissue of Lifeforms (and as an aside, Bleep’s official store is generally very good, offering MP3 downloads with the CD album purchases I’ve made, and delivering them quickly and in good condition.) And of course, if this is your first time listening to Lifeforms by FSOL, please let us know what you think of the album in the comments below.