Part of our Albums of the Year 2016
Widely regarded as one of the chief ambient producers the world has ever seen, Biosphere follows up his Deathprod collab with new LP Departed Glories on his home country Norway's Smalltown Supersound imprint.
Having emerged onto the post-rave/club scene in the early 90s with a string of mind-blowing records that really took the album format and extended the journey from two sides of vinyl to whole evenings lost in the hypnotic sounds he produced. Biosphere was instantly propelled to the ranks of fellow club constructionists such as AFX, Global Communication and The Black Dog for his mysteriously alluring presence and sound. Biosphere's early records were the kind that when played in the early hours post-party could move entire rooms of people into the motion of a zoned-out trance-like sedated flow that mirrored the music drifting out of the speakers. Fast forward to 2016 and he's marked a return to this classic sound with the glacial Departed Glories.
Five years in the making, the album's core influence stems from the recently discovered work of Russian photographer Sergei Prokudin-Gorsky. A pioneer of colour photography who worked using sheets of glass to project images such as the one of the landscape that adorns the cover (an amazing image considering it's over 100 years old). The photos Biosphere discovered in Sergei Prokudin-Gorsky's archive provided a huge influence on the way he produced Departed Glories, as he quotes "the crystal clear yet haunting atmosphere fascinated me". There is a real strong feel of the otherworldly within the grooves and it convulses a strangely out of time feeling, that extends through the album’s seventeen tracks. In terms of scale and sheer innovation, we'd say it's best compared to SAW2. But, where Richard D. James described that album as "like standing in a power station on acid" Departed Glories is the trip through the woods after leaving, head still spun and a glazed shimmer over the senses and everything else around.
Ghosted vocals drift throw vast walls of reverb drenched sound that prove near impossible to pinpoint the sound sources each track is composed of, with each piece slowly unfurling before melting into the next and making for a 'journey' in the truest sense of the word, one that upon arriving at the final destination, the room around can be a very different place (or it's about 8 hours later and you have had it on repeat) Having produced countless records since the "greatest ambient album of all time" Substrata, Departed Glories is the true long awaited follow up and will reign tall as one of the crowning jewels in his discography.