Little did Geir Jenssen, the man behind the mythical ambient project Biosphere, imagine a few weeks after finalising the recording of his latest album, “N-Plants”, the concept behind it would become one of the most spine-chilling prophetic arguments in the world of music since the album sleeve of The Coup’s “Party Music”. The Norwegian had spent a lot of time thinking about the reconstruction of Japan after the nuclear cataclysm of WWII, and during that process he was fascinated and surprised to find that, in a region so sensitive to earthquakes, many of the nuclear plants in the country were built so close to the sea. And that was the theme and concept that shaped an album of which the title couldn’t be more descriptive and eloquent. Shortly after finishing the album, on 11th March, curiously enough, a tsunami as we know tragically hit Japan, setting off a series of explosions in the Fukushima nuclear facility, which got all alarm bells ringing and the old debates more alive than ever.
It’s obvious that without the weight of the disaster and that fateful coincidence, the impact of “N-Plants” would be much lessened. Its visionary character and the tragic event’s emotional influence on the musical content play an important and inseparable part in the history of this recording, but it’s not decisive or essential. Because, apart from the coincidences, we’re dealing with one of Biosphere’s best albums to date, creatively ambitious and with a fascinating expressive unfolding. In fact, it’s a surprising album even for the project itself, which over the years has got us accustomed to a series of releases that are clearly of ambient descent, some of them radically isolationist, with the drone as the main ingredient. Here, however, the sound is more craft, meticulous and variable, and the textures, sounds and work tools are notably richer and more organic.
Moreover, Jenssen has made his songs more dynamic rhythmically, providing beats for almost every track and using vintage IDM structures, which completely change the perception we could have of his sound over the past years, as if this were a premeditated return to his beginnings with “Microgravity” and “Patashnik”, and a new paragraph after a more hermetic and icy period. Mature, serious, exciting and profound, very inspired in how he takes care of the unfolding of each track and how he emphasises the almost cinematic feel of the album, this Biosphere invokes the spirit of Global Communication and The Orb in a context of reflection and critical perspective. One of the albums of the year.