Artist: Future Sound of London
Title: The Isness
Label: Hypnotic
By: Kyran Connelly | 9 July 2002
  1. Elysian Feels
  2. The Mello Hippo Disco Show
  3. Goodbye Sky (Reprise)
  4. Osho
  5. The Galaxial Pharmaceutical
  6. Yes My Brother
  7. Go Tell It To The Trees Egghead
  8. Divinity
  9. Guru Song
  10. Her Tongue Is Like A Jellyfish
  11. Meadows
  12. High Tide On The Sea Of Flesh
  13. Goodbye Sky

Future Sound of London "The Isness"Future Sound of London "The Isness"

Out Now on Hypnotic

Rock music, shades of IDM, Asian influences, a distinct British sensibility, the Isness is above all not Dead Cities part two (or Tales of Ephidrena II). My first reaction of what’s going on quickly turned to what did I expect, what could I expect? After my initial adjustment I found the album to be exactly what I wanted, something so different I can stop trying to reference their earlier works.

The album, like the band, is cryptic. Postings on websites, the CD case and the press release from the record label that accompanied it all list different track titles and orders (with some of the confusion probably helped along by a difference between UK and US releases). Forgive me if I reference the incorrect track name, I can only go with what I received.

The opening track “Elysian Feels” introduces the sounds of the entire album in one frenzied burst, like a room full of musicians warming up to different songs (that just happen to share the same tempo). After the frenetic “Elysian Feels” the pace floats back down to earth with “The Mellow Hippo Disco Show”, a combination of down-tempo beats, organs, and a 60’s British rock vibe… imagine DJ Shadow making records in 1967.

Some of the shorter tracks come off sounding like snippets of more complete pieces; four of the thirteen tracks clock in under 3 minutes. “Go Tell It To The Eggheads”, stops pretty abruptly while “Guru Song” fiddles about, never quite settling on a direction. Of all the ‘shorter’ pieces “Her Tongue Is Like A Jellyfish”, is the one that is able to develop itself fully in a pop-piece amount of time. It begins by sounding the closest the guys tread to their old chill-out sounds before turning into a captivating collage of instruments and rhythms from around the world.

FSOL shines when they take their time working the tracks like on the aforementioned, “Mellow Hippo Disco…”. “Osho” shines as it wraps its’ sitars around the theme of a 70’s cop show. “Yes My Brother” is the out of the box single, warm vocals, strum-e guitars and the catchy na-na-hey that you won’t be able to get out of your head. “High Tide on the Sea Of Flesh” starts with a meandering guitar and ambient backdrop that turns into a Britpop via Pink Floyd jam (complete with answering machine).

Coming out with an album people didn’t expect to hear must be difficult, even if you have the ability to detach yourself from your work (can you even begin to…). I have a feeling many fans were waiting for something along the lines of a DC2 or even a return to their early 90’s style. The guys have cut a wide amount of mind space to begin construction of their future work on. They properly destroyed any kind of expectations of what they might come up with next and that is ultimately more rewarding for the listener. This album might not appeal to strict dance music fans but it will appeal to people who love music.

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