Title: From the Archives, Vol. 1
Label: Jumpin’ & Pumpin’, FSOLdigital
Format: Digital, CD
Genre: Ambient, abstract, leftfield, experimental
At long last, we’ve been graced by some new material… well, material that was somewhat new to us. Up until this point, a lot of us FSOL fans were hungry for unreleased material. Some of us craved it so much that we’d spend hours on the net, trying to find whatever ISDN show clips that were left, either intact or in pieces. When FSOL announced and finally released the first volume of their archived material, we rejoiced. This was something we had waited a long time for, and we no longer had to rely on hit-or-miss quality bootlegs.
Right away, a sweet Lifeforms era ambient piece sends us into the familiar and wonderful universe that FSOL created. And as we fade into track two, we get some material from Dead Cities, used chiefly during live ISDN transmissions in the late 90s. A lot of the material here was used for that purpose, either as links between tracks during shows (like “Birds,” “Is This Real,” “WT Pavement,” and, “Gongs”) or as full pieces for live sessions. Having it all in one place after years of waiting is a very welcomed thing. Some tracks, like “Field of Flowers,” while they contain some clips from tracks from earlier albums, sound newer and completely reconstructed or remixed. This seemingly gives new life to familiar staples. This also includes tracks like “Turn Around,” and “Hallucination.”
For all of the older material that resurfaces, there’s a massive amount of tracks that standalone, created perhaps for shows or just set aside during album recording sessions and forgotten. Pieces like “Pale Moon,” “Arrived,” Woodland,” and “Nuru Device Send” are good examples. These could have well stood on their own feet on an album for sure. It certainly is an enjoyable mix of old and new on this CD, and despite being an archival album, it’s quite good.
Should you buy this? The music here should please fans of FSOL, especially those who’ve been waiting for some of that live material to become available. There are some short tracks here as well as some average length pieces, and the genre mixing of ambient, soundscape and field recordings are sure to please most ambient fans as a whole. I’ll let the fact that this isn’t seamlessly mixed like their album go; the material here is fine as is and I really cannot complain. This is a good kick off for the archive series and with five more to review, I’m eager to replay them.
4.5 out of 5.