Boomkat Product Review:
Sublime new Biosphere album - his first in five years!
After spending the last five years reissuing and reminding us of his former glories, Biosphere presents a captivating sort of ambient psychogeographic study, Departed Glories, intersecting his home region, Trømso in the far north of Norway (near the Russian border) with the Wolski forest near Krakow, Poland, and the pioneering colour photography of Sergey Prokudin-Gorsky.
These far-flung references provide an ætheric zone of inspiration for his 12th studio album (his first with Smalltown Supersound, for that matter), imagining the frightened thoughts of a medieval Polish queen, Bronislawa - who, in the 13th C. hid in the Wolski forest from invading Tartars - filtered through fragments of Ukranian and Russian folksong, and animated with the absorbing aura of Prokudin-Gorsky’s early colour images, which are best summed up in his haunting portrait of an Armenian woman garbed in traditional costume - beautifully framed on the front cover.
The resultant album of glossolalic noumena and isolationist sensations unfolds with all the faded grace and nostalgic reverie that its title implies, smearing the sampled folksongs’ timbral essence into 18 parts of phosphorescing superimpositions and ever elusive harmonic structures that fizz and drift around the upper frequency registers in a gaseous state that recalls The Caretaker’s spectral sashays, Roland Kayn’s sweeping tones, or what Gurdjieff might have made with access to a computer.
What comes to light is Biosphere’s most minimalistic, plaintive, and perhaps psychedelic album to date, pursuing and refining a spirit which has manifested one of the greatest ambient albums of all time, Substrata, and has seen him collaborate with some of the genre’s greats over the years, including Deathprod, Pete Namlook, Higher Intelligence Agency and Bel Canto.