Prolific Norwegian ambient artist Biosphere releases “Shortwave Memories” LP
Over the last few years, you might have clocked that prolific and somewhat under celebrated Norwegian ambient artist Geir Jenssen, has been slowly but surely re-issuing a slew of his early work/s, alongside newer material.
Recording as Biosphere since the early 90s – he’s renowned amongst fans for his archetypal ability to summon the realms of the frozen north in flavours and texture, across his work. With a knack for creating and shaping loops, a penchant for peculiar samples taken from sci-fi sources, the length and breadth of his discography is testament to his talent.
Low and behold, as we start the new year – Jenssen has seized the moment and delivered an absolute delight in the shape of “Shortwave Memories”, 8 tracks of subtle shape shifting Electronica that effortlessly holds the attention. Having chosen to ditch software and computers, swapping to a fully analogue set up comprised of synths, drum machines and effects units. Jenssen states his main inspiration for this latest project was the post-punk era electronics of Daniel Miller and Matin Hannett.
What might initially feel like a passing reference, he has ended up delivering a less dancefloor-focused take on the sound he made his name with during the early 90s. And, the results are nothing short of brilliant, drawing on the highly evocative framework 70s and 80s equipment has to offer – without falling into any particular trap.
Far from being an exercise in rehashing some sort of nostalgic new age rave trip, this is clearly an attempt to conjure up the new. Underpinned by simple and steady drum programming throughout, you’re met with shimmering alien landscapes amidst the hum of machines, as evolving padded melodies and snake like arpeggiations fill the spaces in between. Letting you stew in the sparse and cavernous nature of what is almost a new wave take on dub.
From the opening rhythmic filters and ice cold melodies of “Tanß”, the errie nodes of “Night Shift” balance out throbbing low-end with gently modulated pads. Notwithstanding the sheer weight of “Formanta” as Jenssen hits his mission home with a certain majesty. The title track hits a similar notes again, with slow motion synths circling around swung rhythm and sci-fi strings. Last but not least, closing track “Transfigured Express” seems to have absorbed the style and bump of modern era bass music, yet remains fully welded to a claustrophobic drone like palette he slowly lets unfold over 15 or so minutes.
With repeated listening, the art and craft of this record seems to give more without ever imposing. We hope you’ll agree and get as much out of this as is intended.