B IS FOR BIOSPHERE (PT2)

Some more icy artic ambient from Biosphere. Biosphere is the main recording name of Geir Jenssen.

Extracts from an article in Trance Europe Express 3:

Long before the Aphex Twin et al, Geir Jenssen, aka Bleep, aka Biosphere, all but defined the modern post-acid idea of ambient house.

Listen in particular to the extraordinary pair of albums which have so far appeared under the Biosphere moniker, “Microgravity” and “Patashnik”.

You’ll find no birds tweeting, no sheep bleating, waves breaking or traffic humming through country lanes. Instead there is a series of disturbing, unsettled, decidedly twilit dreams in sound, inspired by the colours that surround Jenssen in his home of Tromso, on the northern coast of Norway, thirty miles inside the Arctic Circle; the disorientating white of the clear, cold winters, the ultramarine skies, the vivid amber, the fire-red sunsets.

In 1982, the year he finished high school, Jenssen bought his first analogue synthesiser.

“I didn’t understand the knobs, so I just experimented, recording tracks on cassette recorders, very primitively. I didn’t have any sequencers, so this stuff I was doing then was heavily influenced by Brian Eno. I guess we all wentr through that stage.”

By 1986, he had joined Bel Canto, who were influenced by British post-punk bands like the Gang Of Four. They toured extensively throughout Europe and Jenssen learned a lot, but found the strain of working with other musicians, the constant compromise and submission to the demands of ego restricting.

“I wanted to make more holistic, minimal music. I didn’t want to have to make space for vocals all the time. At this time, people hadn’t fully realised that simple sounds can express as much as words. It took acid house to establish this fact.”

In 1989 Jenssen left Bel Canto.

Where to go after the rave reviews afforded “Microgravity” and the chilling “Patashnik”, though? Well, Jenssen is already hard at work on the follow-up. Inspiration, it transpires, was gained on a recent trip to Nepal, where he spent five weeks climbing two mountains with a group of friends.

“It was very inspiring musically, in every way, all the new sounds, the strange instruments, the chanting of the Buddhist monks…”

Obviously, you took a DAT machine along?

“Er, no, I forgot to take one! It was one of the most stupid things I’ve ever done. In the end, I had to use my brain as a sampler, just remember what I was hearing. You know how, sometimes you might pick up a particular smell in a particular situation and then, afterwards, that smell will always bring back the original memory. I find sounds are like that too. I played my friends some stuff I’ve been working on the other day and they all said it brought back Nepal for them.”

“Anyway, I was telling one of the Sherpas about how, in the west, people often sample ethnic music and he said, ‘Oh, but this is holy music, I don’t think they’d be very happy about your sampling it.’ So maybe it was beter I didn’t bring a DAT.”

Most recently, in 2006, Jenssen released “Dropsonde”, a half beatless, half rhythmic album comprised of jazz rhythms. He had long lost me by this point.

Biosphere – Two Ocean Plateau

Nicolette – No Government in the Biosphere

Biosphere – Cloudwalker 2

Biosphere website

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~ by acidted on June 24, 2008.

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