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BIOSPHERE

Progressive Electronic • Norway


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Biosphere biography
BIOSPHERE comes as the solely made work adaptation of norwegian (born 1962 in Troms°) electronic instrumentalist Geir JENSSEN, being the most succesful and well-recognized of his main recording names, as well as the deepest reach ever done by him (extensively and qualitatively), as a project and as a way of interpreting the music gift. JENSSEN evolvs slowly around the imperatives of ambient music, electronic workings and, to the extent of a originality's delight, to the so-called "arctic sounds", drawn elegantly from (or in relation) to his life and spirit, having the close touch of the Arctic Circle, with its surroundings that managed to impress him in all soundscaping ideas possibilities.The alias basically comes from the "Biosphere 2 Space Station" a sealed dome project undertaken in Arizona Desert. In the early and anonymous years, Geir JENSSEN spend three years and two albums with the pop outfited dance oriented BEL CANTO (1987-1989) and also made his solo debut by peculiar and modest trance-oriented works, as BLEEP, in 1990, producing 12'' records, under influence of acid house/new beat music. The BIOSPHERE idea proved the most lasting and the most effective journey through mastering a never easy art and gaining a never lost sense of depth impressionistics.

Geir JENSSEN can go regarded as uncontrolably popular and easy-oriented (however, not necesarily in the deficit of everything). Several live festivals and clubs performances, under the auspicies of electronic mix approach, plus many commissions towards remixes and soundtrackings acknowledge a modern fame. Still, he remains a proving artist in the same modern world being present in the recognitions of art movement, inner feeling (or passion) and influenciality. "Substrata" is considered an ambient material peak, considered the best of its year. Moreover, he can be a spiritual person. With a hobby in active climbing and mountaineering, his highest reach was Cho Oyu, sixth giant from Himalaya, making the full summit sans oxygen. Plus, the constant allusion of cold, space, ice or exploration can be much more than just the common sense inspiration to his work, but, as already mentioned, a way of life transposed in a way of music.

Nine albums up to date and several collaborations express around that many tendencies, though the succint style remains the cold-entrusted ambient power, the naturalscapes environmental, the dark/light gravity, some loops accents and a bit of "analog popular" te...
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Microgravity by Biosphere (Geir Jenssen) (CD, Nov-2007, Beat Service) US $15.00 Buy It Now 10 days
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BIOSPHERE discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

BIOSPHERE top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.20 | 6 ratings
Microgravity
1992
2.00 | 1 ratings
The Fires Of Ork (with Pete Namlook)
1993
2.96 | 4 ratings
Patashnik
1994
2.00 | 1 ratings
Insomnia OST
1997
3.97 | 7 ratings
Substrata
1997
4.00 | 1 ratings
Biosphere / Deathprod: Nordheim Transformed
1998
4.00 | 1 ratings
Birmingham Frequencies (with Higher Intelligence Agency)
1999
3.00 | 1 ratings
The Fires Of Ork 2 (with Pete Namlook)
2000
3.91 | 4 ratings
Cirque
2000
3.00 | 4 ratings
Substrata▓
2001
3.44 | 5 ratings
Shenzhou
2003
3.92 | 6 ratings
Autour De La Lune
2004
3.96 | 8 ratings
Dropsonde
2005
3.96 | 5 ratings
N Plants
2011
3.47 | 6 ratings
Patashnik 2
2014

BIOSPHERE Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 1 ratings
Polar Sequences (with Higher Intelligence Agency)
1996

BIOSPHERE Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

BIOSPHERE Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

BIOSPHERE Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

BIOSPHERE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Biosphere / Deathprod: Nordheim Transformed by BIOSPHERE album cover Studio Album, 1998
4.00 | 1 ratings

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Biosphere / Deathprod: Nordheim Transformed
Biosphere Progressive Electronic

Review by admireArt

— First review of this album —
4 stars Two Norwegian artists remodeling a third.

The third in question is Arne Nordheim and both parties, Geir Jenssen (BIOSPHERE) and Helge Sten (DEATHPROD), render their reinterpretations to Nordheim's material "Electric". (originally recorded in late 60s/early 70s). The artists take turns in presenting us with their reinterpretations of this work.

The original score is respected to the point of recognition, but these "transformations" are in themselves full of sonic proposals that offer new directions in the whole scope of the original "Electric" music.

So we get an almost one and one understanding of the original project. And their respective languages serve the purpose of encompassing both approaches without direct collaborations as far as the scarce liner notes depict.

Music wise, both musicians are distinguishable between each other, so as each track goes by, it refreshes the concept from scratch, without losing thread of this as a single effort project.

Ambiental, experimental, contemporary and daringly attractive. A perfect introduction to three Norwegian electronic musicians at their best.

****4.5 PA stars! Slow and mesmerizing!

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 Substrata by BIOSPHERE album cover Studio Album, 1997
3.97 | 7 ratings

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Substrata
Biosphere Progressive Electronic

Review by admireArt

4 stars Geir Jenssen emerges to light!

In that not so distant "Ambient Music" planet, Geir Jenssen a.k.a. BIOSPHERE, is quiet known and respected. And as far as they tell "Substrata" (the 1997 release, which will later be added entirely to the "Sustrata2/Man With a Movie Camera" 2001, 2 cd album), was Biosphere's turning point. It even caught the attention of electronic/ambient pioneer Brian Eno, which of course made everyone else turn their heads and listen.

It takes no genius to figure out this is "game". The music itself, although confined in the "ambient" tagging, offers a taste of this musician's "trade", up to that point in his career and shows him as a mature "clean thought" electronic music experimentalist.

Now, all of this would be senseless, if it lacked song writing to match things up. "Substrata" is completely inspired in that regard. The music blends many ways of expression into single songs, unconnected with each other. With brushes of dark symphonics, plenty of attractive electronic environments, down to earth tape recordings, hypnotic lo-fi acoustic guitar melodies (Shoegaze-like), with intense and deep choirs and unintelligible voices here and there. All lightly threaded into huge musical structures in contrast to the minimal ones. But above all it is a great Prog/Electronic album, which offers to this genre a "new" OWN language musician, which we all know are so scarce.

****4 + my review, PA stars. Welcome to this machine!

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 Patashnik 2 by BIOSPHERE album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.47 | 6 ratings

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Patashnik 2
Biosphere Progressive Electronic

Review by admireArt

4 stars Everybody is entitled to have their own "space travelling" album, or at least song.

"Biosphere" a.k.a. Geir Jenssen's music has been somehow closer to earth, so to speak, in comparison to this 1992-1994 composed music, later released in 2014, "PATASHNIK 2" album.

It itself, has all the elements to be named "space-electronics", the art cover makes it quiet obvious in fact. Although it is far from being an all "ambient space music" project, in its usual understanding and considering of course, the subtle minimal lines this musician usually works with, this is "Biosphere's" trip to the stars record.

Attractive melody lines, unusual straight forward "drum boxes" , a sexy female voice in off, narrating and questioning here and there, the whole purpose of these cosmic voyages, while all the "atmospheric music" spirals around the lo-fi "trance-dance" electronics. This turn of events brings this project closer to the synth-rock/pop era of people like Gary Numan, Enigma, J.M. Jarre or even Brian Eno. But of course these are only references when it comes to musical language. Geir Jenssen's own way of expression, makes it all quiet clear that this is his OWN "rocket" to the stars.

If you are not set off by "drum boxes" (there are plenty, but not over the top), and of course belong to the selected few who enjoy Progressive/Electronics, this "Patashnik 2" is quiet a thrill, and low-key enough to always be surprising. As far as me, I've enjoyed it throughly and constantly, therefore ****4 PA stars!

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 The Fires Of Ork 2 (with Pete Namlook) by BIOSPHERE album cover Studio Album, 2000
3.00 | 1 ratings

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The Fires Of Ork 2 (with Pete Namlook)
Biosphere Progressive Electronic

Review by colorofmoney91
Prog Reviewer

— First review of this album —
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.

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 The Fires Of Ork (with Pete Namlook) by BIOSPHERE album cover Studio Album, 1993
2.00 | 1 ratings

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The Fires Of Ork (with Pete Namlook)
Biosphere Progressive Electronic

Review by colorofmoney91
Prog Reviewer

— First review of this album —
2 stars A subpar display of ambient techno and full-on ambient.

This album between Biosphere and Pete Namlook, one of the most famous and prolific electronic music collaborators, is an album that I can only call mediocre. The Fires of Ork is a collection of tracks that are either spacey ambient tracks or primitive ambient techno a la downgraded Microgravity. Regardless of which style is being heard, the music is unimaginative and bland, which is unfortunate considering the stature of these two musicians. The techno tracks are mid-tempo romps of '90s danceclubs, and are much less atmospheric and interesting than the similar and more successful execution of the same style on Biosphere's debut. The ambient tracks are slightly cinematic but develop into absolutely nothing and are far longer than necessary.

Pete Namlook is honestly an artist that I've never been a fan of, but I had my hopes up that Biosphere's usual wonder would save the day, but this seems to be a collaboration where both artists offered up their worst and previously scrapped ideas to create an album that sounds cheap and derivative -- kind of like the results of building a house entirely out of driftwood, scrap metal, and rusty nails. The worst part of the album, though, are the short samples of echoed German spoken word that really serves no purpose except to make this album sound like either Kraftwerk or Rammstein were somehow on board (they weren't).

Out of the five tracks on The Fires of Ork, exactly two tracks stand out to me, and they are both the unimaginative techno tracks. The title track starts off somewhat promising with a spacey synth melody that eventually is pushed along by trademark techno thumping, which is all fine until the 7-minute mark is reached and it becomes supremely annoying. "Talk to the Stars" is an improvement, though, starting off with a lightly atmospheric spacey synth backdrop that is ominous and enticing that eventually becomes more forceful until the trademark techno thumping kicks in yet again. It's a bit more of a open sounding track that has a nice acoustic piano melody that is both beautiful and unsettling but doesn't quite save it from being derivative.

The Fires of Ork is definitely not a standout in Biosphere's discography, and really isn't very interesting in the broad scope of electronic music available in the world, but I'd imagine it makes for a fairly exciting addition to the collection of Pete Namlook collectors.

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 Dropsonde by BIOSPHERE album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.96 | 8 ratings

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Dropsonde
Biosphere Progressive Electronic

Review by colorofmoney91
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.

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 Autour De La Lune by BIOSPHERE album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.92 | 6 ratings

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Autour De La Lune
Biosphere Progressive Electronic

Review by colorofmoney91
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Autour De La Lune is so far Biosphere's most drone-oriented ambient construction and one of his longest at just over 74 minutes.

This is ambient at its most ambient, like floating aimlessly into a void where the only sounds able to be heard are the ones generated by your own consciousness. Drone music is supposed to be empty and calm, but a lot of drone-oriented albums don't offer any variety at all and instead employ one constant drone wave length that runs through every track with an occasional blip-bloop somewhere to invoke annoyance. To be honest, I can't remember a drone album I've enjoyed as much as this one in a very long time. Biosphere's approach has variation. There are high-pitched drones, low-pitched drones, singular drones, multiple drones -- it's the Dr. Seuss drone album! In addition to the drones (they'd be boring by themselves) there are always either minimal progressions, mysterious and short melodic lines, or various textures added to each track as the metaphorical "bells and whistles" that make Autour De La Luna worthwhile.

However, the album doesn't start off as a drone album. The first track, "Translation", is a nearly 22 minute spacial/mechanical exploration into hums, buzzes, minimal synth textures, and faux-symphonic crescendos, also repeating a very short and hypnotizing melodic line that is more unsettling than pretty but somehow maintains both feelings. Something else that makes Autour De La Luna stand out among the millions of drone albums that throw the listener into a void of perpetual boredom is the use of bone/brain rattling bass frequencies usually only heard on the grimiest of modern hardcore rap. There are two tracks on this album, "Vibratoire" and "Circulaire", that consist of almost nothing except a constant vibration that would give Earth's Earth 2 a run for its money. Putting the bass aside, "Disparu" is a short (and almost silent) but sweet aquatic melody that sounds like it is coming from Gregorian chanters from miles away.

Whereas most drone album drone aimlessly into your ears and leaves you with nothing except restlessness, Autour De La Lune has drones deep enough to vibrate your brain into a euphoric paralysis while stimulating your need for melody with mysterious and almost nonexistent hooks. I'd be hesitant to say that this album is as good or enjoyable as Biosphere's classic albums like Substrata and Cirque but it definitely is different in a great way that show's this artist isn't simply a one trick pony -- so far he's at least a five trick pony, and that's more than I can say for many other artists. Autour De La Luna is the album that fills the void in Biosphere's ambient techno based discography with... another void.

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 Shenzhou by BIOSPHERE album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.44 | 5 ratings

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Shenzhou
Biosphere Progressive Electronic

Review by 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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 Substrata▓ by BIOSPHERE album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.00 | 4 ratings

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Substrata▓
Biosphere Progressive Electronic

Review by 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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 Cirque by BIOSPHERE album cover Studio Album, 2000
3.91 | 4 ratings

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Cirque
Biosphere Progressive Electronic

Review by colorofmoney91
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Following Substrata, a classic in the ambient electronic genre, Biosphere decided to combine his cold, floating ambient soundscapes with the minimal techno of his first two albums. Fortunately, the techno elements do not get overly repetitive as previously used but instead integrate naturally and create a soothing control point for the drifting ambience.

Cirque could maybe be seen as a continuation of Substrata; the atmosphere it gives off is cold and icy, it's aurally dense yet relaxing, and even the album art is somewhat similar. However, because of the buried techno beats, this album is a bit more energetic and is even more similar to Boards of Canada's classic works. This is still not dance music in the least -- beats may be present and energetic, but they're only energetic in a way as relaxing and cerebral as the effects of REM sleep. Because of the added energy in the music coupled with the icy synth textures, the atmosphere created by this album is similar to the arctic imagery created by Susbtrata except with waking wildlife and sped-up glacial time- lapsed scenery.

Whereas Substrata didn't work very well as individual tracks for the most part, Cirque has quite a few tracks that stand out well enough for individual listening. The two part epic "Algae & Fungi" is the progressive centerpiece of this album, moving from polar ambience to the raciest techno influence on the album to what I'd like to call "ambient breakbeat", and it is all a great adventure that is bound to keep even the interest of non- ambient music fans. "When I Leave" is my favorite, and is a Scuba-esque cinematic dubstep/UK house track complete with a hypnotizing vocal sample. "Iberia Eteria" is one of the more relaxed ambient songs on this album with a very vague jazz twist from distant clarinets, which starts out groggy like waking up on a snowy morning but eventually picks up pace.

Cirque shows the same ambient electronic talent of Biosphere's classic Substrata, but seems like an album that would appeal to people looking for something a bit more engaging and upbeat while still maintaining the arctic feel. It is my personal opinion that both albums work great together as a team and that both share the same high level of quality.

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