Electronic / IDM / Ambient / Drone listening club


Folks, there’s a separate rolling ambient thread. This is the listening club.


Oddly, I’ve just been getting into 18 musicians the last week - I think someone mentioned it on a quietus baker’s dozen. Great piece of work.


I am so behind on this. Going to try and catch up today, starting with some Seefeel.


Genuinely one of my favourite pieces of music of all time. I love the way it kind of remains static but evolves at the same time.


Alright then, I’ve been asked to do the next pick, so here we go…

Lifeforms by The Future Sound Of London

Released in 1994, during an explosively creative time for new left-field electronica, Lifeforms is FSOL’s “classic” album. I first discovered it around 1998 I think, and I believe it was the first electronic record that I really got into.

I discovered the track ‘Dead Skin Cells’ on one of my dad’s Q Magazine sampler CDs of all places, was blown away by this weird, baffling, beautiful music, then went to the library, got out the CD and recorded it to tape. That tape spent a lot of time with my mates and I parked up in hidden country lanes in a smoky car.

This record was unlike anything I’d ever heard before. A portal into a squelchy, gooey alien world. Tropical and sweltering at some points; chill, inhuman and mechanical at others.

Now, I don’t think I’ve listened to this album for probably the best part of a decade, so I have no idea if going back to it will reveal it be a classic of that tie-dyed, psychedelic, weirdo IDM that was prevalent for a few years in the first half of the nineties, or whether it’ll turn out to be some Global Hypercolour Hippy bullshit.

But I figure there’s no better place to put that to the test. I’m looking forward to rediscovering it, and also hearing owhat other people make of it.



Funny to think this was Virgin Records trying to take ambient electronica into the relative mainstream.



Madly, I think this got into the top 10! A 92min psych-dub-weirdo-ambient-IDM double album in the top 10 :grinning: And at a time when you still needed to sell more than 12 copies of something to get in there!


I know you love a bit of wonky-ambient-hippy-dub.


It reached number 6!

Other noteworthy ambient/IDM releases in 1994…

  • Autechre - Amber was #81
  • Aphex - SAW 2 was #11
  • Orbital - Snivilisation was #4!


Yay, an album I know and can comment on! I remember seeing the early CGI video on MTV at the time (not sure which track).

Lifeforms was my going to sleep listen for quite a while back in the day!


Fuck it, I’m picking Ott next time I’m up


I’ll be really interested to listen to this again. Played it quite a lot way back when, but I’d be surprised if I’ve listened to it at all this century…


I’ve got the next picker lined up then it’s yours if you want it :slight_smile:


That’ll be mid September ish, right? Go on then!


I’ve done my first re-listen. The standout track for me is and always has been Dead Skin Cells (76 plays according to the ol’ last.fm) - love how that piano melody runs around the beat in a different time signature, and all those squelchy sounds in the background, the birdsong… Then the transition into bongos. Magnificent.


Don’t tell people there are bongos on it! They’ll never listen now! :joy:

Dead Skin Cells has always had a special place on it for me too. I don’t know whether it’s because it’s the track that opened it up to me in the first place or whether it’s just because it’s the “best” track on there, but it’s definitely brilliant. Listening to it earlier, the beat is a lot more straight-up and hip-hop sounding than I remember.


Had it and liked it at the time. Don’t think it’s aged too well


I have a really vivid memory of listening to this at a mate’s house as a teenager and convincing him that it wasn’t as good as The Orb and then going home and sticking Uforb on.

First listen in 20+ years (I think?) and I still dont’ think it’s as good as UForb.


It isn’t.


IMO it’s better than UFOrb but less good than the orb’s adventures beyond the ultraworld (but then that’s a stone cold 10/10 classic)


Bloody love all the textures on this - feels like the music is alive and kinda doing its own thing at points.