The Future Sound of London – Lifeforms

I remember when people used to advance the ridiculous claim that DJs served a shamanistic purpose in “rave culture” because, like, dOOd, the DJ is totally, like, making everyone sway to a thing that’s not flesh or bone man, but of the spirit.

Now, this album deserves better than that. It’s a classic. A masterpiece. Ambient-techno-dub-drone – NAY! Electronica! That’s the sort of place it was born into, and I guess you had to be there. I wasn’t really there in the flesh, but I certainly picked at the corpse.

But getting back to the whole DJ thing, what makes this trolling for meaning at the bottom of everyone else’s dead cultures so goddamn annoying is that it ultimately serves for a meaningless comparison. We don’t – to our utter detriment – send DJs to live at the fringes of culture and then come back to give us all a kind of unification experience within the terms and meanings of our own society.

They play music. That is a great thing. People like to dance to music, and for a short time, the culture created a space where people did lots of mindbending drugs to various kinds of electronic music in a semi-structured (even if purely a Temporary Autonomous Zone) space. More great things, in that they were chosen freely and without coersion.

And people had peak experiences, and they found them to be so wonderful, so far outside the imagination of their previous selves that they thought something new had been done. And the more wordy/nerdy, upon finding that there was a precedent to their actions, sought legitimacy from Something That Is Very Old.

To hell with that and back, sez I.

Do your dope, flip your tunes, have those peak experiences, but never mistake them for something that came before or since – they are unique and individual beyond any faux-ethnographic comparison. And since everyone is equal no one is special, and no one is special when everyone is equal.

Every Man and Woman Is A Star; and there are a lot of Stars out there, so hooeffinray for you and your peak experiences.

That said, man did I ever, ever, ever tell you about the time I put this on and had a peak experience? It was, like, memorable and indescribable and pretty much what happens when you eff with the ineffable.

No! Not that, not this, not now.

Lifeforms, despite the dated cover, and insanely timeless/perpetually crappy graphic design is just something else. Ninety minutes inside a time capsule; the brother twin(s) to The Orb‘s Live 93 album. Ambient techno is the best of all (electronic) worlds when done correctly, and the absolutely worst thing imaginable when done without the utmost of care and control.

Every downtempo cd collection you hear in a Thai restaurant or boutique sneaker shop downtown is the mutated offspring of bad ambient techno. It’s the place where mood went to die.

I love this album. It makes me feel young again.

(The website is terrible and I apologize in advance. But format is destiny and that’s just the way things are around here.)

1 Comment

Filed under music

One response to “The Future Sound of London – Lifeforms

  1. mk

    This was a good one, definitely. I also enjoyed Dead Cities.

    These days I am enjoying The Knife, but little else that could really be called techno.

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