After exploring the various sounds of the sea with Substrata
Geir Jenssen tackles the chilly, frozen tundras with Cirque
. I find that both albums would be an excellent introduction to ambient music because Jenssen is able to paint a picture in the listeners head while using minimal effects. The cold, frosty echoes mixed in with the delicate keyboard touches creates vivid imagery and an extremely unique sound. It’s not often that ambient artists have their own original sound but somehow Jenssen manages to create such an exquisite and exclusive atmosphere.
Biosphere accomplishes this with his organic production and lush keyboard soundscapes. The overall sound of Cirque
is cold, dark, atmospheric and clammy. Throughout the album you’ll encounter a rain storm, venture into frightening caves, sit in icy caverns and walk up mountains. Jenssens knack for creating such vivid imagery is in full force, with a solid set of headphones the listener will be able to pick up on the subtle touches that really make Cirque
a special listening experience.
To describe the separate tracks on Cirque
would be pointless because the album functions as a whole, sometimes the music only consists of airy winds or rain droplets hitting the ground. Don’t worry, Jenssen manages to subtly incorporate guitars, pianos, and even flutes into his music even though they are nearly unnoticeable at certain points in the music. For an ambient album I can put Cirque
on for background music but I can also listen to it if I want something musically enthralling. However if there’s one aspect about Cirque
that I don’t enjoy it’s that the music is not epic, Jenssen relies on repetition to establish the cold, murky atmosphere of the album.
As far as ambient albums go Cirque
is one of the more interesting listens that the genre has to offer. It may take some time getting used too due to it’s sparse use of sound effects and instrumentation but when the moment is right Jenssen is able to create some jaw-droppingly beautiful soundscapes. It’s obvious that Biosphere may be to low-key and boring for some but if you have any interest in ambient/electronica then Cirque
will not let you down.