Like many ambient artists Biosphere is just one person. Geir Jenssen takes obvious influences from Harold Budd and Brian Eno, two ambient artists that were very successful within the genre. Although Biosphere resembles the two gentlemen that I just mentioned above he does two things completely different from them. It’s not uncommon when an electronica song reaches the ten minute mark but Jenssens longest compositions are a mere seven minutes long. His songs don’t uselessly meander along without any interesting aspects, he keeps his compositions from about three to seven minutes long which is a positive thing if you’re not a patient listener.
A lot of minimalist songs have some sort of buildup, they tend to start off slow and peaceful yet eventually reach a point were there is some sort of a climax. This isn’t the case with Biosphere because only a few of these songs have sufficient build-ups. This can either be a good or a bad thing, it really depends on what you’re looking for. Jenssen creates murky, peaceful, and occasionally haunting soundscapes that dominate a good chunk of the album. Songs such as Uva-Ursi
use bird chirping sound effects that lull you into a peaceful atmosphere, Jenssen has the ability to smoothly turn the peaceful effects into a horrific tune as his haunting keyboard notes sound like something that would be used in one of the “Jaws” movies. Hyperborea
is another song that reminds me of the ocean as water ripples play over a scratchy, monotone voice. Its atmosphere makes the listener feel like he’s at the bottom of the ocean as Jenssen uses subtle yet effective bubbly effects. The albums closer Silene
is the most simple and calm tune off of the album as it is comprised of pure keyboard dynamics that grow louder and softer over the seven minutes. Although the music is extremely simple it is still a hypnotic and oh so relaxing.
is essentially comprised of keyboard bubbles that imitate sounds of the ocean. Throughout the album you can easy identify waterfalls, streams, the deep sea, and other various “water-esque” sounds. My main complaint is that none of these songs build-up which kind of ruins the fun considering the fact that you sit and listen for seven minutes and then the song just comes to a fairly disappointing end. On the contrary this provides an extremely mellow and relaxing atmosphere, Substrata
is most effective while reading, doing homework, or sleeping. While Geir Jenssen doesn’t create anything mindblowing with Substrata
it is an excellent album for those who want to relax and is certainly a worthy addition to any fans of ambient music.