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Biosphere - Dropsonde CD (album) cover




Progressive Electronic

3.96 | 11 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars From the polar caps to the equator.

Whereas Substrata, Cirque, and even some of Autour De La Lune had the trademark arctic sound that Biosphere has been known for, Dropsonde remarkably warms up the atmosphere to about room-temperature. Instead of open drones and cold synth lines that recall the vast openness of the arctic, here we have heated crackling and warm light radiating pulses similar to the sun's rays.

As if that weren't a change significant enough, there is also a light jazz influence present in the percussion on some of the tracks, that starts off with the second track, "Birds Fly By Flapping Their Wings", driven by hard-bop rhythm that relies heavily on the hi-hat while a repetitive bass line a la electric-era Miles Davis thumps away atop warm solar synth ambience. The exact same style is used on the following tracks "In Triple Time" and "Fall In, Fall Out" with small alterations that keep the album from seeming monotonous. Something else worth mentioning is the tonality used on "In Triple Time" and "Arafura" is very Pink Floydian, reminding me a lot of the beautiful acoustic chord progression that opens "Dogs".

Adding on to the changes in Biosphere's sound on this album, Dropsonde also includes a little urban instrumental hip-hop sound. "Daphnis 26" has certain elements such as a steady mid-tempo beat that sounds almost like boom-bap or like a considerably toned-down Flying Lotus while still maintaining a clear intention of being ambient.

Regardless of the alterations in Biosphere's sound on this album, it's still ambient and relaxing just as all of his classic albums are. To me, the light jazz and hip-hop percussion are indications that Biosphere wanted to evolve past his roots in both acid techno and ambient techno and experiment with sounds that he felt would work well with the much warmer textures used on his new electronic soundscapes. Considering this is his first try with such experimentation, it seems that he's pulled it off quite well and hopefully he will continue to explore different sounds and influences.

Biosphere has proven himself to be rather versatile in a genre of electronic music that initially seemed to be doomed by monotony, and continues to do so with Dropsonde. So, for ambient fans who want another great progressive electronic ambient release that isn't simply a rehash of the classics, this is a great choice.

colorofmoney91 | 4/5 |


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