Biosphere - July 27, 2011

Brian Eno used to say that the word "ambient" is a synonym of music of a particular place. Following the guidelines of his master, the almost fifty-year-old Norwegian uses sounds to paint the landscape of the polar circle. Making use of the technical inventions and his in-field recordings, he creates sound images of his homeland Tromsø. His trans sounds combined with barely audible cracks and swoosh aim to present a picture of a place where boundlessness snow touches the line of the horizon. His professional path started in Bel Canto band and led him to the point where he can convey the ultimate feelings and atmosphere.

July 27, Wednesday, 22.00
T-Mobile Music in Arsenal

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Biosphere is the main recording name of Geir Jenssen, a Norwegian musician who has released a notable catalogue of ambient electronic music. He is well known for his "ambient techno" and "arctic ambient" styles, his use of music loops, and peculiar samples from sci-fi sources. His first Biosphere releases were the 12-inch single "The Fairy Tale" and the album Microgravity, both of which were rejected by SSR as unmarketable. Microgravity was released in 1991 on the Norwegian label Origo Sound, and saw wider release via the R&S Records subsidiary Apollo in 1992, to much critical acclaim. In 1992, Jenssen contributed "I'll Strangle You" to Hector Zazou's Sahara Blueproject.

In 1994, the second Biosphere album, Patashnik (allegedly Russian for "traveller" or "goner", but this word does not seem to actually exist), was released. Through Patashnik, Jenssen continued to explore his ambient-house stylings to an even greater extent. Patashnik contained the first hints of the reduction in beat-driven song structure that would mark later Biosphere releases. Unlike the first album, Patashnik was quickly picked up by a comparatively large international audience, which brought Biosphere greater recognition. Jenssen also recorded as Cosmic Explorer, scoring a hit in Belgium with the EP The Hubble.

Released in 1997, Substrata is a purely atmospheric ambient Biosphere album, released on Brian Eno's All Saints Records. Substrata, which marked Jenssen's embarkation towards an intensely minimal style, is not only often considered to be Jenssen's best work to date, but is also seen as one of the all time classic ambient albums. Substrata contains notable samples from the American TV show Twin Peaks.

In 2000, Jenssen released Cirque on his new home Touch, an ambient album driven by muffled beats, samples, and minimal atmospherics. Though Cirque briefly revisited territory covered by earlier Biosphere releases, the rhythm section throughout the album remains an element of the background, unlike Jenssen's first two Biosphere releases, wherein the drums occupied a dominating proportion of the foreground.

In 2002, Shenzhou was released. Shenzhou, Jenssen's fifth full length album under the name Biosphere, was a more abstract work, comparable to Aphex Twin's 1994 album Selected Ambient Works Volume II. The material on the album draws from elongated, pitch-shifted loops taken from Debussy's La Mer (The Sea), and Jeux.

Released in 2004, Autour de la Lune stands as the most minimal and austere Biosphere album to date. The drones employed on this album are comparable to Coil's 1998 album Time Machines in their timbre and slow rate of change. The bulk of this work was originally commissioned and broadcast in September 2003 by Radio France Culture for a musical evocation of Jules Verne.

In 2006, Jenssen released Dropsonde, a half beatless, half rhythmic album composed of jazz rhythms evocative of Miles Davis' 1970s jazz fusion works. A partial vinyl sampler was released a few months earlier in 2005. His latest release is Wireless: Live at the Arnolfini, his first live album, containing new tracks such as "Pneuma I & II".

ticket: 30 PLN
for festival pass holders: 15 PLN

The ticket includes entries to all concerts in the Festival Club on July 27.

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