The Future Sound Of London ‎– Lifeforms

Astralwerks ‎– ASW 6113-2, Virgin ‎– 7243 8 39433 2 6, Caroline Records ‎– 7243 8 39433 2 6
2 × CD, Album

Tracklist Hide Credits

1-1 Cascade 6:00
1-2 Ill Flower 3:25
1-3 Flak
Guitar [Textures] – Robert FrippSounds [Bytes] – Ozric Tentacles, Robert FrippWritten-By – Grossart*, Williams*, Fripp*, Nightingale*, Thompson*
1-4 Bird Wings 1:30
1-5 Dead Skin Cells 6:51
1-6 Lifeforms 5:18
1-7 Eggshell 6:46
1-8 Among Myselves 5:53
2-1 Domain 2:48
2-2 Spineless Jelly 4:42
2-3 Interstat 0:55
2-4 Vertical Pig 6:45
2-5 Cerebral
Vocals [Texture] – Toni Halliday
2-6 Life Form Ends
Tabla [Tronics] – Talvin Singh
2-7 Vit 6:48
2-8 Omnipresence
Written-By – Schulze*
2-9 Room 208 6:13
2-10 Elaborate Burn 3:16
2-11 Little Brother 5:13

Companies, etc.



Total running time CD1: 40:36 CD2: 51:53 (CD Player)

Catalog # - Disc 1 (7243 8 39683 2 9)
Catalog # - Disc 2 (7243 8 39684 2 8)

Barcode and Other Identifiers

  • Barcode: 0 1704 66113 2 9
  • Matrix / Runout (CD1 variant 1): 124431-D2-4121-2 DISCTRONICS USA **ASW6113**
  • Matrix / Runout (CD1 variant 2): 124431-D4-4129-1 DISCTRONICS USA **ASW6113**
  • Matrix / Runout (CD2 variant 1 & 2): 124432-D2-4129-2 DISCTRONICS USA **ASW-6113-2**
  • Other (CD1 variant 2, hub ring): I
  • Other (CD2 variant 2, hub ring): B
  • Other (Catalog # - CD1): 7243 8 39683 2 9
  • Other (Catalog # - CD2): 7243 8 39684 2 8

Other Versions (5 of 20) View All

Cat# Artist Title (Format) Label Cat# Country Year
V2722, 7243 8 39433 1 9 The Future Sound Of London Lifeforms(2xLP, Album, Gat) Virgin, Virgin V2722, 7243 8 39433 1 9 UK 1994 Sell This Version
7243 8 39433 2 6, CDV 2722 The Future Sound Of London Lifeforms(2xCD, Album) Virgin, Virgin, EBV, EBV 7243 8 39433 2 6, CDV 2722 Europe 1994 Sell This Version
TCV 2722, 7243 8 39433 4 0 The Future Sound Of London Lifeforms(Cass, Album) Virgin, Virgin TCV 2722, 7243 8 39433 4 0 Europe 1994 Sell This Version
ASW 6113-2, 7243 8 39433 2 6 The Future Sound Of London Lifeforms(2xCD, Album) Astralwerks, Virgin ASW 6113-2, 7243 8 39433 2 6 US Unknown Sell This Version
0946 3816122 6 The Future Sound Of London Lifeforms(2xCD, Album) Virgin, Gala Records (5) 0946 3816122 6 Russia Unknown Sell This Version


Reviews Show All 19 Reviews

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October 14, 2017
edited about 1 year ago

As reviewed by me in May 1994 (see also my less charitable review from 2005):

Summary: I didn't need of change of underwear after I first heard it, but I think I just didn't have enough to eat that day. If you like electronic music at all, any kind, you must, I repeat, you MUST buy this album. If you don't like it, I'll send you a free gift in the mail.

I'm sorry. At the risk of being dipped in the Bog of Eternal Stench, I have to say that Future Sound of London are as overrated as Richard D. James and their new album Lifeforms, although it is the best thing they've ever done and I really do like it, is actually in some respects a turd of a CD that gives electronic music a bad name. Now before I get a flood of hate mail from the Intelligent Dance Music mailing list, hear me out. In a recent interview in MixMag promoting the album, Gary Cobain stated that he felt ambient music was 90% bollocks, full of bandwagon-jumpers, and that it was all a bunch of regressive crap, sounding like Tangerine Dream. Anyone who knows me knows that I am rather fond of Tangerine Dream, so I didn't take to this lightly. But what really struck me as odd is that their album is so full of artificial squawks, burbly galoops, zaps and pointless "hey, listen to this novel sound! oo! wasn't that cool?! buwahaha!" distractions that I have to compare it to early electronic music, like from the 50s and 60s, when self-righteous academics played artsy-fartsy noisescapes for each other. At times while listening to Lifeforms I think that without the extra effects, the links between the proper songs are extracts from those old compositions. It's like being stuck in a noisy aquarium.

On the other hand, I must say that I also listen to it and think, "This is also some of the most advanced electronic music I've ever heard." When the songs get going, man, parts of my brain I didn't even know existed turn on and start to hum, and goosebumps light across my neck. The press release says they blur the lines between ambient and techno to the point where you can't say it's either, and they're right. These two men are perfectionists of the highest order, and it shows. Taking the "noisy aquarium" analogy with a grain of salt, the textural merits of the less appealing parts are blessedly sweet, and every track is a standout. Absorbed in whole or in part, I don't come away unsatisfied. I think they don't realize that regression, no matter how unintentional, is a form of progression, and when they come to grips with that they'll be able to avoid the recklessness of making noise for the sake of noise. Perhaps with their next album, Amorphous Androgynous: Environments. As you can see, I've got mixed feelings about Lifeforms... but in the end I have to give it the highest rating. After all, I'm not one to complain. :)


January 2, 2017
The sound, production and mixing is ahead of it's time.


May 22, 2011
This is not a double album, but two albums in one package. The first has a strong nature influence and does inspire thoughts of life and nature in me. The second album is more typical ambient with more prominent drum beats and synth sounds.


January 12, 2009

Bought this one when it first came out cos i liked the picture on the cover and inside.Not perhaps the best criteria for choosing music but it seems to work for me every now and then and in the case of this album it was the best gamble i have ever made. Plenty of long winded reviews have been written about this album but all i can say is that the two discs are to me just two very different but fantastic musical journeys that need to be enjoyed with a like minded soul on with the stereo on loud or just on your own with youre headphones on and good wine or any combination of the above. Never do i get bored of the music or switch it of early or answer the phone. You get the picture !


October 6, 2008

Truth be told, I bought this album on a whim when I was first getting into electronic music purely because the cover looked cool and because I liked what I had heard on the Astralwerks label. It took me a few tries to really "get" what I was listening to but what I heard grew on me exponentially once I did. It has been almost 14 years since I first heard this album and yet I still consider "Lifeforms" to be by far one of the best ambient/downtempo albums I have ever come across. The entire album is filled with very lush and layered soundscapes. Anyone interested in this album should also listen to the "Lifeforms" remixes. That release can be considered a very definite continuation of this album.

I rated this album (and the remixes) 5/5. Highly recommended.


April 1, 2008
This is what I would call a timeless album. To fully appreciate this music you need to devote enough time to listen to both discs in one sitting... Whether thats while you're sleeping, surfing the web or even playing videogames. The result will be the same: you will be overcome by the world The Future Sound of London have created with this release. Impossible to describe. This is just something you have to hear for yourself. If you like electronica and ambient stuff then you could never go wrong with this release. Its worth noting that 2 additions for this release exist. The first being "Cascade" and the second is "Lifeforms (remixes)". Both are EPs and include tracks from the album reworked by FSOL themselves. Must-haves if you enjoyed this release. I hope someday FSOL will return to their 90's sound.


November 1, 2007

This is the ambient album which pretty much got me into the whole ambient thing really back in 1993 and i can honestly say that there is rarely a month goes by when i dont listen to it inspite of having hundreds of other albums to choose from. I never get bored of it and always find myself hearing something which i hadn't noticed before.I dont think they ever really got close to this although i like pretty much all of their stuff. Still sounds way out there even now.


March 18, 2007
edited over 11 years ago

My introduction the FSOL was a different sound entirely (with the great noise-electro track "We Have Explosive") than what this album had to offer. In 1994, when more and more electronic acts were throwing together cheap ripoff music of one another, there were handfuls of bands like FSOL who evolved to make beautiful music without the use of many 4/4 kick lines and standard trance melodys.

I would call this a very chill 2xCDs, mixing funky moments with ambience, mixing light-industrial drum beats with native American instruments, and taking the listener on a trip to an alien desert where all lifeforms are forced to get along and create harmony. No track on here should be considered a single (or better than others really) because the whole album has to be experienced altogether at one time. It's as if a travelling circus of sound made a CD in space and broadcast it for you to hear in your most vulnerable of times. Listen with extreme joy and experience the flavors of FSOL.


August 8, 2006
edited over 12 years ago

Among myselves is the core track on disc 1, although the liner notes mislead you to believe that Flak is the hit song. It says that Robert Fripp's guitar is featured, but it is just a guitar sample. They also make use of Pachelbel's Canon (did I spell it right?). Beware of the sudden volume spike in Among Myselves, though. There is a nasty arpeggiation/sweep type of effect running in the beginning of the song. On disc 2, Room 208 is the highlight. Like the artwork that is featured, the album as a whole makes you feel like an invertebrate floating in a saltwater tank. A sort of aural Discovery Channel experience. Very distant from the club scene and from wild, rampant youngsters with a die another day attitude.


July 19, 2006
edited over 12 years ago
Lifeforms was my introduction to FSOL.

At first.. I didn't much like what I heard. The music and beats didn't seem to have any real direction and they seemed, well, weird. However I gave it a few more tries and now realise what a classic this really is. I still openly admit that a lot of the tracks seem to have no direction - but maybe thats what makes this release so fun. Disc 1 is more ambient while disc 2 seems to be a little more club friendly. Both must be listened to in 1 sitting in proper order to fully appreciate though. Some favorites of mine are Ill Flower, Omnipresence and Room 208.