The Future Sound Of London ‎– Environment 6.5

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Cat# Artist Title (Format) Label Cat# Country Year
CD TOT 71 The Future Sound Of London Environment 6.5(CD, Album, Mixed) fsoldigital.com CD TOT 71 UK 2016 Sell This Version
ENVI65 The Future Sound Of London Environment 6.5(23xFile, FLAC, Album) fsoldigital.com ENVI65 UK 2016
ENVI65 The Future Sound Of London Environment 6.5(23xFile, MP3, Album, 320) fsoldigital.com ENVI65 UK 2016
LP TOT 71 The Future Sound Of London Environment 6.5(LP) fsoldigital.com LP TOT 71 UK 2016 Sell This Version

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doohickey

doohickey

January 31, 2018
referencing Environment 6.5, LP, LP TOT 71
Pressing sounds great. Need to boost the gain as it's such a long lp but mine is dead quiet. Excellent release.
Serenka

Serenka

January 15, 2018
referencing Environment 6.5, LP, LP TOT 71

I have to agree with the previous reviews this lp has something of a continuation but also a break with previous works. There is absolutely no mistaking it for FSOL but there’s totally a leaking valve dripping colors like I have never seen. This bursts wide open the spectrum.
bullfinchart

bullfinchart

May 6, 2017
referencing Environment 6.5, CD, Album, Mixed, CD TOT 71

Despite considerable variation in sound and concept, FSOL's Environments series has told a coherent musical story from the start, moving from spacey beatless ambience towards a blend of analogue electronics and progressive rock flourishes. Strangely, though, 2016's two releases - entries 6 and 6.5 - seem the wrong way around, with 6.5 sounding like the natural successor to 5.

It is difficult not to see 6.5 as picking up where 5 left off, opening with a trilogy of epic sounding, melodic psychedelic pieces. 'Solid Earth' fuses the otherworldliness of 1995's ISDN with vast analogue synth sweeps, while 'Anacro Rhythm' picks up the thread from previous Environments tracks like 'Murmurations' and 'In Solitude We Are Least Alone', replete with organic violin and funky beats. Elsewhere, 'Hollow Earth' and 'The Day the Poles Shifted', as their titles suggest, ramp up the scale of these pieces, backwards guitars and pounding breakbeats set against choir voices and Earth-shattering synth stabs. If some of the earlier Environments felt smaller in scale than albums like Lifeforms and Dead Cities, then these pieces make up for that in style.

Elsewhere, the album takes a turn for the darker and more electronic. In tandem with the recording sessions, FSOL were working on designing two new synthesisers with electronics company Digitana, and the album shows these off wonderfully. Shorter pieces like 'Some Degree of Sanctuary' and 'Next Town' feature gorgeous synth arpeggios alongside field recordings, recalling the collage nature of the band's '90s heydey.

If all these elements rework and redefine familiar elements of the band's recent and distant past, however, then the rhythmic electronic pieces take things in a new direction. The aforementioned synth design comes to its fore on a number of IDM-esque tracks that aren't really like anything else in the band's catalogue. Skittering beats, chunky analogue pulses and achingly melancholic melodies lead the way on a series of pieces created as one-take live jams in Brian Dougans's studio. 'Opal Light' flutters with sinister sorrow, 'Gradual But Not Continuous' punctuates heartbreaking chords with fast-paced breakbeats, and 'Emissions of Light' plays braindance as if it had come out of modern EDM rather than early '90s rave.

If earlier Environments occasionally faltered in their blending of familiar and unfamiliar styles - volumes 1 and 3 most notably - then 6.5 works admirably due to its focused recording sessions. Featuring all new-recordings, made alongside E6 in the space of a few months, the album feels like classic FSOL in its ability to meld together disparate sounds in a way that makes them sound as if they always belonged together. With unidentifiable sounds, epic psychedelia, unique electronics and a touch of analogue hiss, it's the closest the band have come to their '90s sound, whilst sounding entirely new at the same time.

For anyone who found the earlier volumes relying too heavily on older pieces, or too small in scope, Environment 6.5 is sure to be the FSOL fix they were after. For those who have been diligently following the series, it works as a brilliant follow-up to Environment Five. And Environment 6, released at the same time, feels like it picks up where this one left off, and moves further into uncharted waters. So the ordering seems wrong - but when have FSOL ever gone about things the obvious way? Highly recommended!
random-future

random-future

January 24, 2017
referencing Environment 6.5, CD, Album, Mixed, CD TOT 71
I just can't get over how great this album is, I'm in still in a bit of shock as I've just started listening to their 2016 tracks and they are all such quality! I just gave Environment 6 a quick listen but I am already blown away one great track one after another and I know with more listens there will be so much to explore in each individual track. I have to say my favorite so far is Next town, don't know why but I just connected with it immediately. This is the FSOL I know and love!
Collector_Cave_Guy

Collector_Cave_Guy

December 25, 2016
referencing Environment 6.5, CD, Album, Mixed, CD TOT 71

Wow, the masters of the electronic sound are back with a huge bang. These songs have all the hallmarks of the classic FSOL sound, with hints of Lifeforms and ISDN but with a nice dose of the more modern lushious new age neo classical sound witnessed in 2014's stunning Environment 5. The CD is littered with incredible, beautiful, thoughtful and blissful music that clearly sounds like FSOL but pushes the envelope further for me and widens their sound, to new levels of inventiveness. Just stunning and worthy of many many more listens.
LaserDuFutur

LaserDuFutur

November 12, 2016
referencing Environment 6.5, CD, Album, Mixed, CD TOT 71
A prodigal feast of luxuriant proggy post-idm neo-new-age music.
This dynamic duo never ceases to impress. The record is meticulously crafted, with superb sound quality and compositions typical of FSOL. One could argue that is exactly the problem; they have been a known quantity for quite a few years. This leaves me puzzled about the title: Environment 6.5.

You might have noticed Environment six and 6.5 were released simultaneously. While 6.5 is in the same vein as the previous 4 iterations of the series, Environment six is a major shift in both sound and structure. So, should you wish to abide to the lush and expansive sound developed since 2008 with Environment II, 6.5 is right in your alley. However, for a fresh stem in the FSOL canon, go for Environment six.

That being said, allow me to segue to the highlights of this record.
It opens with the innocuous “Axis of rotation”, a fine mise-en-bouche leading to the glorious twosome of “Solid earth” and “Anacro Rhythm”, full of boisterous breaks and Vangelis-like synthesizers. Next we have “Opal light” and “Something approaching happiness”, both more subdued yet guilefully melancholic. “Hollow earth” is simply majestic. “Aint gonna lie” reminiscent of IDM origins. “The day the poles shifted” is full of bombastic indulgence. The record closes with “Bright skies” and “Strange allure”, both delicate and nuanced, serving as a great windup to this splendid record.
seaeye

seaeye

November 3, 2016
edited over 2 years ago
referencing Environment 6.5, LP, LP TOT 71

It's hard to review it in separation from Environment 6, but .5 is different, better and is a great come back of FSOL. I really thought that name was dead, as a lot of Archives and previous Environments were IMO just plain copies of copies.
This one is different. It certainly has the mood of Lifeforms, but it brings some epic tracks like "The day the poles shifted" or "Anacro Rhythm". These are upbeat, melodic, well composed and arranged. Almost dance-able. There are a few beatless intermissions like "Next Town", there are more experimental tracks like "Emissions of Light", but the whole album is surprisingly coherent.
Summarizing. Take Lifeforms + a bit of Dead Cities (I think I can hear samples from it here) and you have 6.5. It's really that good. Substantial difference versus previous Environments. 5/5
Space_Partycles

Space_Partycles

October 9, 2016
referencing Environment 6.5, 23xFile, MP3, Album, 320, ENVI65

A massive return to form for FSOL - A stunning release, nuff said!!!