Biosphere - Wireless [Touch - 2009]Biosphere is one of those names you hear about and think they’d be something you’d like but never get around to investigating. This album is a good opportunity to correct that. It’s a live album (Biosphere’s first) recorded at the Arnolfini in Bristol as part of the Touch 25. (25 (back in 2007) referring to the number of years Touch had been in existence). Touch have been keen to keep everything about this release “in house.” The concert was recorded by Chris Watson and the album mastered by BJ Nilsen and as you’d expect the cover is by Jon Wozencroft (though not in my opinion one of his better designs).
Musically you get a run through of Biosphere’s history with tracks taken from various parts of his 20 odd year career. The first and last tracks of the album are both pieces based around Trombone sounds which act as a good pair of bookends for the selections from the Biosphere catalogue. Whilst Geir Jenssen (the man behind Biosphere) works in a variety of styles, there is still very much a sense that all these pieces are by the same person. His music has a certain sound that makes it obvious all the pieces are by him even though they vary in content from Ambient Techno, to Cinematic soundtracks to some slightly more Avant Garde pieces.
Sound wise on the more ambient techno pieces you’re looking at warm soft synth sounds and drums that have a very long attack on them so they sound gentle and soothing rather than military and sharp. The nearest comparison I can make is to Seefeel (though type of sounds used is where the similarities end). The more cinematic pieces have a more orchestral basis to them, though presumably these are either samples or played on a keyboard.
In general it’s a fairly relaxed album to listen to. If I would want to pull it up over anything it would be that there are moments were you’re almost too relaxed and it almost borders on ambient elevator music. (It’s a long way away from the more challenging parts of the Touch roster). But thankfully those moments are few and for my first taste of Biosphere I find it pleasantly rewarding.