Album: Lifeforms
Artist: The Future Sound of London
Label: Virgin Records Ltd
Released: 1994
Summary: Dozens of rare glimpses of shimmering beauty.

Two years after their disappointingly average debut Accelerator, Garry Cobain and Brian Dougans adopted the Future Sound of London moniker again. This time the resulting album, Lifeforms, is a patchwork collection of ambient music and sounds of nature, with some dialogue from Scanners thrown in for good measure.

Lifeforms is a truly sublime album. Various shimmering pieces of music fade in and out with no real beginning or end. You can catch a glimpse of a heavenly melody hidden between various tranquil soundscapes, then start to wonder if perhaps you only imagined something so exquisite, before hearing something else equally breathtaking.

The music itself is mainly very simple, but that's no bad thing. For one of the tracks, Domain, the duo even go as far as to simply play Pachelbel's Canon in D major on a warm pad while some relaxing sounds, drenched in reverb, are played over the top. If you concentrate on the tracks' beauty rather than wondering how easily anyone else could have made them, you'll realise that this album is unique after all, despite how obvious its concept appears and how simple its melodies are.

While it takes a while to get used to the style of this release - ever so slightly too upbeat to be truly ambient, but far too serene and haunting to be anything else - the effort is easily worth it, and your patience is rewarded with glimmering fragments of ethereal beauty. Recommended to anyone who likes contemplative music to relax to.

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