Boomkat Product Review:
Biosphere heads you won't wanna miss this - a full suite of alternate versions of Geir Jenssen's iconic "Substrata", for many people of the most influential ambient albums of all time.
There aren't many electronic albums quite as impactful to the flow of ambient music as "Substrata". Released 25 years ago on the All Saints imprint, the record combined gloopy textures with dusty samples, appearing at the intersection between Brian Eno's "On Land", Thrill Jockey's jazzy post-rock experiments and the grungy early Mo Wax releases. This set of parallel universe versions of 10 of the original tracks provides further proof of Jenssen's mindset at the time: recorded between 1995 and 1996, all of these tracks come from the same sessions as the 1997-released album, but highlight how different it could have sounded.
'Poa Alpina', originally pitch-black and indistinct, is now lounged-out doom-jazz, graced with low slung bass, pitched drums and shimmering guitar. It's like screwed Tortoise, basically. While 'The Things I Tell You' is expanded from six and a half minutes into almost 12, blossoming into a jazzy final act that lays a beat over the track's giddy, tremoloed ambience. 'Sphere of No Form' is bumped up too, expanded into over eight minutes of frozen drone.