Back when Future Sound of London was promoting their amazing album Lifeforms they performed live via ISDN to various radio stations. ISDN is a collection of these performances and it is spectacular and groundbreaking even today.
Before there was a name for it, Future Sound Of London, was part of the burgeoning electronic music scene in the UK. Though most of their early work is classified as ambient, ISDN is by no means an ambient album. It is not background music and from the first few seconds (“Could you leave the light alone please. Stop flashing the fucking lights!”) it demands your attention.
The music features samples and references to many sci-fi movies such as Repo Man, Aliens, and Predator but they blend it so well with the hip-hop and acid jazz tinged music that you barely notice them. Everything works together so organically.
One of the best things I can say about an album is that I don’t know the names of any of the songs on the album. That means I usually listen to the album as a whole and I’m not searching for the one or two good songs. This is true of ISDN, it is truly a single 75 minute masterpiece.
I am reviewing the second edition of the album. There is an earlier, limited edition version with a solid black cover and the last four songs are different. It is my opinion that the second edition with the white cover is the better one and fortunately is the more available version.