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SUBSTRATA▓

Biosphere

Progressive Electronic


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colorofmoney91
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Substrata 2 is actually Substrata packaged with the soundtrack for a 1929 film by Dziga Vertov called Man With a Movie Camera. Since I've already reviewed Substrata, I'll be focusing entirely on the soundtrack.

Man With a Movie Camera is a bit like the classic album that it is packaged with, being cold and ambient with almost no influence from the artist's techno days. However, this soundtrack doesn't quite pull of the sound as well. The music is drifting and relaxing but it fails to establish any kind of real mental imagery because everything seems emotionless and distracting. The reason for this, I think, is because this soundtrack is a commissioned work by Tromso International Film Festival instead of it being music that came directly from Biosphere's own intention, but I could be wrong.

Despite this album being emotionless, I am very confident that Man With a Movie Camera is Biosphere's most abstract and experimental music, which seems odd considering that it is based on an already defined theme (the movie). "Freeze-Frames" initially is based on the contrast between the thick rumbling of a train running on its tracks and thin high-frequencies in the vein of Ryoji Ikeda and Alva Noto, all the while a looped jazz melody plays via vinyl record that is later greeted by beautiful clips of classy '20s style operatic vocalization before the entire track dives into the perpetual darkened revolutions of industrial fan blades. "Manicure" samples nearby running water, high-pitched industrial grinding, jarring television static, unidentifiable clicking, and a void of dark drones that all work together to create an uneasily dense/tense atmosphere of elemental confusion.

Because of the large amount of experimental and industrial influence found on this album from the repetitive clicks and pops and various sorts of lengthy mechanical drones tied together with a very raw production, I sense a huge Conrad Schnitzler influence -- this may or may not have been the intention of the artist.

Man With a Movie Camera, despite being ambient, is quite different from the classic emotional work of Biosphere but it does show that he is capable of interesting experimentation with his craft. I've not seen the visual counterpart for this soundtrack, but as a stand-alone album I'd say that it is a very different kind of listening experience for people who are already fans of Biosphere's music, but it is worth hearing if you've already heard everything else.

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Posted Sunday, February 26, 2012 | Review Permalink

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