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Patashnik

Biosphere

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Album Review

One reason why Jenssen's work stands out from the flood of early '90s ambient/techno releases is his strong sense of the quirkily creepy — not in an Aphex Twin mode, but in his own particular way. The contrasting samples of a child quaveringly saying, "We had a dream last night," followed by a rougher sample saying, "We had the same dream," gives opening number "Phantasm" an unsettling feeling. Intensified by the, on the one hand, pretty, on the other, disturbing music, buried synth strings and a soft pulse accentuated by clattering noises deep in the mix, it kicks off the striking Patashnik very well. Though not as openly dark as acts like Lull, for instance, Biosphere still has an edge which isn't just melancholic, it's downright ominous at point. There's the slow crawl of "Startoucher," for instance, with its buried vocal snippets and deep bass drone, or the blend of the space signal atmospheres of "Mir" into the low, brooding intro to "The Shield." Not everything is so shadowy, though; Patashnik is primarily a relax and chill listening experience, but not without its gentle high points. "Novelty Waves," which became a crossover single in some quarters, has a good dancefloor sharpness to it even as Jenssen slyly sneaks in odd drones and samples through the mix. The opening snippet talking about an extraterrestrial disc jockey on "SETI Project" is good for a smile, as well as acting as a sharp lead-in to a fast rhythm track. Mostly, though, things continue on a deliciously unnerving pace throughout, gentle enough to go down easy but still just off enough to ensure you can't call this new age folderol for the rave generation.

Biography

Born: 30 May 1962 in Tromsø, Norway

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Biosphere's Geir Jenssen hails from Tromso, Norway, a city 500 miles above the Arctic Circle. A founding member of quasi-new age Norwegian trio Bel Canto, Jenssen recorded a pair of albums with that group for Belgium's Crammed label before departing to record solo, first as Bleep, then as Biosphere. He released a number of Bleep singles through the late '90s on Crammed subsidiary SSR, as well as the full-length The North Pole by Submarine, issued in 1990 and an acknowledged precursor of what became...
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Patashnik, Biosphere
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