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Biosphere - Shenzhou CD (album) cover




Progressive Electronic

3.51 | 9 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars Shenzhou is one of the most unique and conceptually interesting albums in Biosphere's discography while also being one of his most minimalistically ambient records.

For this album, Biosphere owes a lot to the French impressionist master, Claude Debussy, whose music is found in miniature samples and provides the melodic backbone for each track. Those familiar with Debussy's music can attest to the beauty and mystery that defines it, but on this album the composition of Debussy's famous music is broken down into minuscule sections that provide only glimpses of beauty and amplify the mysteriousness.

All of the music on Shenzhou is ambient, with no trace of the acid techno, ambient techno, or minimal techno from Biosphere's roots. Also, as opposed to the usually uplifting arctic atmosphere created on previous albums, this album is very cave-like and somewhat smokey. What's left is a very minimal ambient album that uses murky drones as a canvas for vinyl record cracks/pops and short repeated lines of mysterious melody. The atmosphere created on this album is like being deep in a cave equipped only with faint candlelight, and where distant sounds of external rain echoing throughout the tunnels from the opening can be heard.

Aside from the orchestral samples used being from beautiful and relaxing music that would suit just about any time of day, Shenzhou is a rather creepy sounding collection of music that I wouldn't recommend anyone squeamish to listen to before bed. While the album is beautiful, the tone is profoundly dark and unsettling, and this together creates a lot of tension that is barely relaxing. However, the tension of this album actually makes everything more compelling than most ambient music and is just as entertaining as Nujabes' instrumental hip-hop.

Fans of Biosphere and Claude Debussy alike should be able to find something to enjoy about this album, as long as the listener isn't a classical elitist or anything, because Shenzhou definitely puts and entirely different spin on Debussy's classic music. Furthermore, the music on this album sounds exactly like the album cover looks. If you're into mysterious ambient music then Shenzhou is a must have.

colorofmoney91 | 4/5 |


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