Monday, October 31, 2011

N-Plants - Biosphere (CMG Review)


Touch Records.

CMG Rating: 62%
SCQ Rating: 67%

Much has been made of N-Plants‘ origin-point: a photograph of the Mihama nuclear plant which, located so near to the sea, provoked Geir Jenssen (aka Biosphere) to write an album probing both the designs of Japanese nuclear plants and the implicit dangers given its fault-lines running underneath. Recording wrapped up in February and, a month later, the Tōhoku earthquake devastated tens of thousands of lives. That the online community has jumped behind—and, in several cases, championed—N-Plants on the heels of this sad coincidence for its prophetic eeriness isn’t surprising, but it’s telling when Biosphere and Touch Music also embrace the troubling connection for press release fodder. Quoting Jenssen’s friend, who inadvertently broke news of the earthquake to him over Facebook, Biosphere’s press release closes with an unwitting cliffhanger: “But more importantly: how did you actually predict the future?”

There’s a fair amount of reaching going on behind the scenes of Biosphere’s marketing think-tank and it doesn’t take a devious mind to understand why: N-Plants is sort of boring. An ambient record that covets textural dexterity above all else, Biosphere’s latest clings to painstakingly assembled beat concoctions that interact on microscopic levels. Don’t press play expecting to hear sweeping, emotional progressions or even discernible melodies; for Jenssen, these glitchy, intricate foundations represent the compositional whole. One would think the ambition behind Jenssen’s minimal craft should be story enough, his techniques rooted in stark opposition to electronica’s quest for instant gratification (via chiptune, Balearic, chillwave, etc.). Instead Biosphere offers nine buzzing, clopping and whirling IDM tracks that, despite feeling stubbornly remote, can seep into one’s subconscious over their generous run-times.

Read the rest of the review over at CMG.

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