|Garry Cobain and Brian Dougans (also known as The Future Sound Of London / The Amorphous Androgynous) are often credited with pushing the boundaries of music experimentation and of pioneering a new era of electronic music. In addition to music composition, their interests have covered a number of areas including film and video, 2D and 3D computer graphics animation, in making almost all their own videos for their singles, radio broadcasting and creating their own electronic devices for sound making. They have released works under numerous aliases.
Garry Cobain and Brian Dougans met in the mid 1980s while studying electronics at university in Manchester, England. In 1988, Dougans embarked on a project for the Stakker graphics company. The result was the acid house classic “Stakker Humanoid”. Cobain’s first collaboration with Dougans came via the accompanying album.
1991 saw the release of their first album as The Future Sound Of London (FSOL), “Accelerator”, and their seminal breakthrough ambient-dub track "Papua New Guinea" - playing below.
Following this success they signed to Virgin Records, giving them free rein to experiment, resulting in the “Tales of Ephidrina” album. Well received by press it marked a distinct shift from the more techno driven Accelerator, retaining some dance beats, but focusing more on texture, mood and sound. At this time the band also began experimenting with radio performance, broadcasting now legendary three hour radio shows to Manchester's Kiss FM from their studio.
"Cascade", released as a single in 1993, introduced the commercial music world to the new FSOL sound. Despite its length, clocking in at nearly forty minutes and stretched over six parts, the track made the UK top 30, and previewed what was to come. In 1994, they released the epic, ambient soundscaped double album “Lifeforms” to much critical acclaim. The eponymous single from the album featured Elizabeth Fraser of the Cocteau Twins on vocals.
Lifeforms was followed with the release of ISDN, which featured a compilation of live broadcasts they had made over ISDN lines to various radio stations worldwide. Pioneering the use of ISDN for music broadcasts these shows marked the evolution of the Kiss FM shows of 1992 and 1993, with previously released material performed alongside unheard tracks. One live performance to BBC Radio 1 featured Robert Fripp performing alongside the band.
In 1996, they released Dead Cities. Lead single, "My Kingdom", mirrored by the artwork, conjured images of a dystopian city. Following single "We Have Explosive" had been initially released in 1996 on the video game WipE'out 2097, along with the track "Landmass", which they wrote especially for the game. Since then they have continued to have an ongoing relationship with the Wipeout series, contributing further tracks and remixes to the game’s numerous sequels.
After a four year hiatus, the pair returned in 2002 with “The Isness”, a record influenced by 1960s and 1970s psychedelia and released under their alias The Amorphous Androgynous. The album, a surprise to some due to the marked shift in sound, still received an overwhelming positive press response with Muzik magazine offering the album a 6/5 mark and dubbing it "...a white beam of light from heaven..." and other British publications such as The Times, The Guardian and MOJO praising the album and the bands ability to do something so completely different from what they had done before. “The Isness” has been followed by albums “Alice In Ultraland” and “The Peppermint Tree & The Seeds of Superconsciousness”
Following on from the band's 1997 DJ set of the same name, a series of "A Monstrous Psychedelic Bubble Exploding In Your Mind" mix CDs were begun in 2006. The first, subtitled “Cosmic Space Music”, took over two years to compile, mix and gain sample clearance. Second volume “Pagan Love Vibrations” won MOJO’s compilation album of the year. Beyond further releases in the series the “Monstrous Psychedelic Bubble…” brand has now been expanded out into remixes, DJ performances and events organised by the duo.