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Biosphere - The Fires Of Ork 2 (with Pete Namlook) CD (album) cover

THE FIRES OF ORK 2 (WITH PETE NAMLOOK)

Biosphere

Progressive Electronic


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colorofmoney91
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars The sequel outshines the prequel by a longshot.

The first album from this collaborative duo was very boring to say the least. Fortunately, both Biosphere and Pete Namlook have been given enough time to mature as composers and reflect on what went wrong before. The primitive rave-influenced ambient techno has been traded in for an ethereal organic atmosphere that is deeply enlightening. The Fires of Ork 2 also trades in the dark moodiness of the previous collaborative effort for a bright and shiny, optimistic sound.

The Fires of Ork 2 is much more laid-back and ambient than the first installment, staying firmly at mid-tempo until the finale (more on that in a minute). The album opens on a perfect note with "In Heaven" which is appropriately ethereal and celestial with floating ambient soundscapes like clouds, lightly plucked harp chords, and soft breathy female vocals that are nothing short of angelic enough to put the manliest of men into a deep slumber. "Sky Lounge" is another beauty, featuring steady smooth jazz-ish drums with soft synth melodies and distant piano all strung together in a breezy ambient bliss, very reminiscent of the soft interlude portion of the song "Sanzen" by Dredg only extended for nearly 10 minutes.

This album does have its drawbacks though. One of the problems from the previous collaboration is still present on this album: the random manly spoken word segments. They're short, but grate on my ears like a German robotic cheese grater unfittingly walking through a blissful angelic garden. It serves no purpose other than to annoy, and that is certainly does very well. The biggest problem, though, is the finale track "Nouvelles Machines", which is a very subdued ambient minimal techno track that completely eschews the beauty of each previous track on the entire album, being sure of itself that it has absolutely no business hanging among the bunch. It's like eating an apple until you take the very last bite and discover a large rotting worm only in that 1-inch segment. It's an upsetting end to an otherwise pleasant journey.

The Fires of Ork 2 is a huge improvement on the previous collaborative effort between Biosphere and Pete Namlook, but it still isn't perfect. Regardless, this is still a worthwhile listen that is mostly profoundly beautiful. However, there are much better albums in Biosphere's discography that are more worth the money.

Report this review (#644897)
Posted Saturday, March 3, 2012 | Review Permalink
admireArt
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Way beyond!

I would not make a big issue about both "The Fires of Ork" Vol.1 and 2, 1993 and 2000 respectively, being misplaced in BIOSPHERE's (a.k.a. Geir Jenssen) discography, rather than in long gone Pete Namlook's one. But not even the first one's cover art, which were like a trademark for most of Namlook's works, helped a bit.

Anyway, this second encounter of both electronic musicians, is by far more structured and accomplished, than their first, highly raw and experimental, one. Both musical languages are tightly blended into a single one, and by the way, with its best possible results, maybe in a very low keyed manner, that may fool some in comparing it to each one's own language and works, but at close distance, as in all of Pete Namlook's collaborations, music composition wise, this effort explores teamwork as a way of expression and not just as mere addition.

Its relaxed mood, its non-cheesy embellishments, its detached and subtle but effective dark environments, its refined experimental nature and the cosmic overtone of the human spirit, is quiet intoxicating by its unpretentious but extremely deep songwriting.

To the followers of each or both musicians, the connection of both musical languages in this second effort will be more than apparent and for those who do not follow any of them, this is the kind of release that clearly shows that Progressive Electronic, is not just a bunch of polite Tangerine Dream's clones pulling off the same old tricks again and again, but the possible and endless future this sub-genre still has to offer.

As far as this unrepeatable Namlook & Jenssen association went, this is top game.

****4.5 (low keyed almost masterpiece) PA stars.

Report this review (#1472962)
Posted Monday, October 5, 2015 | Review Permalink

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