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SHENZHOU

Biosphere

Progressive Electronic


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philippe
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Content Development & Krautrock Team
3 stars I agree with the previous review about the fact that this album can be seen as a "denaturisation" of Debussy classical masterpieces. However I think that we have to listen to this album with new ears, without taking in consideration that it's taken from old recordings reserved for destroying electronic treatments. This is far to be perfection because there's no real compositions but we must keep in mind that the objective is to create an architecture of "souvenirs" for a new breath. As many avant gardist albums playing with "turntabalism" we have to consider de-structured sounds, distortions of audio tapes or vinyls as part of a sonic spectrum, putting in the music the physical materiality of the recording...this is more a deconstruction work for intimate thoughts. Moreover I consider that the choice of musical extracts is definitely original and go perfectly with micro processing, cuts & manipulations. The ensemble provides a vertiginous sensation, sometimes reaching the listener in a creeping darkness or dreaming emotion. Philip Jeck published similar works in the past and we can obviously detect his influence in "Shenzou". After all "Shenzhou" is a difficult album, it needs several listenings but it remains an important musical document.

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Send comments to philippe (BETA) | Report this review (#111401)
Posted Saturday, February 10, 2007 | Review Permalink
colorofmoney91
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.

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Send comments to colorofmoney91 (BETA) | Report this review (#641604)
Posted Sunday, February 26, 2012 | Review Permalink

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