Payment options

Future Sound Of London

Artist Biography

Real Name: Garry Cobain, Brian Dougans
Monikers: Amorphous Androgynous
Genre: Ambient


The Future Sound Of London are Garry Cobain and Brian Dougans, one of the most influential and outstanding electronic acts of the last 15 years. After meeting in Manchester in the mid 80s, Garry and Brian started looking into electronic music. Brian had already started making electronica, while Gaz was more into the late 80s indie bands. They first began working in clubs, and in their early days worked close to the early Stone Roses for a short period.

In 1988, Brian embarked on a project for the Stakker graphics company. He created a track called Stakker Humanoid, which was accompanied by a mad video. Gaz got involved with the project and its accompanying album, featuring some 80s style vocal house. The following 3 years resulted in Gaz and Brian's partnership growing, in the form of many different alias's, and a lot of early techno and hardcore tracks. With Stakker Humanoid re-entering the chart in 1992, followed by the breakthrough ambient dub track Papua New Guinea (the first full "Future Sound Of London" release), they were getting more recognition. After hearing Papua New Guinea, Virgin Records were eager to snap them up in order for more succesful techno. They waved goodbye to their former record company, Jumpin' & Pumpin', and were happy to join the larger company, as they were likely to be less restricting than J&P.
They immediately lurched into experimental-ism with their "Tales Of Ephidrina" album under the Amorphous Androgynous alias, the link between the old FSOL, and the new FSOL. At this point, ISDN hit off. They began broadcasting to Kiss FM on a fairly regular basis, playing a mix of ambient and techno, not dissimilar to Aphex Twin's work of the time. When "Lifeforms" came out in '94, it was obvious where FSOL had gone. The reviewers loved it, it hit top 10 in the UK album chart, and went down as one of the greatest ambient/electronica albums of the 90s. By this time the number of ISDN broadcasts was growing, and each time they included more and more new material. A release of this material came out in the form of limited edition album ISDN, which was later re-released as a full LP.
In 1996 they returned again, with a tale of urban decay and hell on earth, Dead Cities. A mixture of the flavours they included before, and something new, this album was a success again. Another ISDN world tour followed, ending with a John Peel session of even more new music. Was this to be released? Alas, no. The continual stream of FSOL music came to an end with this. And a pretty abrupt and unexpected end it was. Two 12" records appeared with the EBV name on them - from Oil and Headstone Lane, on FSOL's own EBV label.
Later in '97 band themselves returned briefly for a DJ set on Kiss FM entitled A Monstrous Psychedelic Bubble Exploding In Your Mind. When the station heard it for the first time, during the live transmission, they were surprised and shocked. A mix of Psychedelic sounds and Acid Rock was coming from Earthbeat Studios. And then...nothing. Were they embarrased by the Monstrous Psychedelic Bubble show, gone into hiding and split up? Nothing like that, infact. After Dead Cities, they had realised that they were slowly heading in the wrong direction. They were getting more noisey, and yet they were hiding behind these sounds. Showing off. Making music they didn't really want to make. They began to write more song based music. Gaz went to America for a while. He was also beginning to worry about his health. Infact, he was slowly dying. His fillings were slowly giving him mercury poisoning. Luckily the doctors found this, took the fillings out, and he was more healthy. But this wasn't enough.
A spiritual journey followed, completely rebuilding his life and his body. Influences came from this intercontinental journey, which contributed to music when he came back to the UK. Meeting back up with Brian after many months without contact, they began to make music again. And once again, the studio doors shut. Except this time it's for the last time. Earthbeat is no longer. They move to the new studio, The Galaxial Pharmaceutical. And then in 2001, suddenly they reappear almost as if they never left. Psychedelic DJ sets, countless Papua New Guinea remixes, an entirely new mini-album of re-interpretations of Papua New Guinea entitled Translations, and news of a new full length album.
The new sound is very much that of the Monstrous Psychedelic Bubble show. Backwards guitars, sitar drones, vocals. Very ethnic sounding rather than the urban, clean finished sounds of the previous material. They add to this a website based around their new material. And then leave us high and dry once more, without news of the album. Since they parted company with Virgin (who payed them 500,000 to make an album which they didn't like and caused them to leave the label) they signed a new record deal and announced that the new album would be out in June. However, rumours of a new album or an album title change surfaced soon after. And finally, on August 5th, 'The Isness' appears on European shelves.
Even though some have already come across the album with a previous tracklist, this is an updated version - in a wonderfully designed pop-out luxury digipak case. The album was followed by a single release of The Mello Hippo Disco Show, which, in a similar vein to the old singles, contained several versions by FSOL, all mixed together. 2003 was a quiet year for FSOL, with only two re-releases of Brian's old acid house material on Rephlex: Stakker Eurotechno and Humanoid Sessions. These proved to be FSOL's only activity of the year, with things picking up again in 2004.
After a long delay, the release of The Isness & The Otherness, an Isness re-release with bonus remix disc, finally happened in January. The bonus disc contained many of the tracks previously only available on promo or vinyl releases. The CD was then released as a seperate entity in the US. The group re-emerged fully with new material shortly after, including the Divinity single, originally announced in Summer 2004, and talk of a new album.
An official follow up to The Isness, Alice In Ultraland was planned for release in the second half of the year, with some tracks previewed on their first radio show in over a year, the SixMix show in May 2004. As was becoming common with later-era releases from Dougans and Cobain (The Isness taking six years, both Mello Hippo and The Otherness being delayed by weeks and the complete no-show of Divinity and another untitled EP from '99), the record didn't appear until September 2005. Alice In Ultraland - one of the original titles for The Isness - was credited to 'The Amorphous Androgynous'.