Select 1992: The Tomorrow People
Beyond The Rave Barrier With The Future Sound Of London
Where does the future begin? In London (NW2 to be more exact) where Brian Dougans and Garry Cobain have taken UK techno beyond the rave barrier as The Future Sound Of London.
After the flutey splendour of ‘Papua New Guinea’ opened the post-ambient house floodgates, FSOL’s sophisticated dub-inspired techno is proving the intelligent way out of blind-alley hardcore. And it’s getting them all the remix work, from Inner City’s ‘Praise’ to Unity’s ‘Unity’.
Dougans and Cobain served their house apprenticeships in Manchester impersonating Cabaret Voltaire and dabbling in performance art. Brian helped mould the shape of hardcore to come with Humanoid’s post-acid groundbreaker ‘Stakker’, and
FSOL’s numerous incarnations (as Mental Cube, AST, Candese, Yage, Intelligent Communication and Smart Systems) betray a serious eclectic nature.
“We monitor broadcast systems all the time,” says Garry. “We’ve got tapes whirring at this moment at my house, people taping for us, collecting for us. DJs come in and lay down tracks, musicians come in. This is the collecting point.
“It’s all about collecting your taste together into your sampler. We don’t ignore anything, because to not listen would be spiting your own face. But we don’t take samples whole and put the straight in – we really fuck around with them, we put them through processes, turn them backwards. It’s a constant evolution.”
What it comes down to is love of sound, sound for its own sake, sounds that don’t sound like anything else. Their brain-storming LP, ‘Accelerator’, crosses every boundary from acid through techno to ambient until it ends up sounding different from any of them.
“I don’t want our music to have any reference to any particular decade,” muses Garry. “I want it to still have something in years to come and I think the way we’ve pulled our sound sources together achieves that. It has no particular reference to now and I think that’s where dance music falls down a lot of the time. I want to tread on people’s toes and push it further.”
It’s this forward-looking impulse that they’ve brought to bear on the gospel-techno of Inner City’s ‘Praise’.
“We didn’t take it on just because it was Inner City. We’re not particularly precious like a lot of remixers. I don’t mind writing an entire backing track as long as there’s something in the vocal – a couple of lines, a section… just a fucking second of brilliance and we’ll do a remix.”
The Inner City track suits their style. Their music is a counter to cheap ravey rushes. It has mind-bending, cerebral overtones: a music for smart drugs.
“I’m sick of music that’s up all the time,” says Garry. “The beauty of music is dropping down, building up, variation. That whole syndrome has come out of being on E and time flying. Like, Wow! Is that the time?! I’ve just lost six hours of my life!!! Everything just flies, every track, and you don’t know what the fuck anything is.”
“FSOL is music for spliffheads,” adds Brian, “Not E-heads.”
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