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Biosphere / Departed Glories / Smalltown Supersound

Biosphere, Departed Glories, Smalltown Supersound, Geir Jenssen, Dr Rob, Test Pressing, Review, Wolski Forest, Krakow, Poland, Sergey Prokudin-Gorsky

Geir Jenssen`s latest set as Biosphere draws on the history of the Wolski Forest, near Krakow in Poland. On the ghosts of the 13th Century Poles who attempted to evade the invading Tartar hordes, hiding amongst its trees, and the echoes of those executed and murdered there during the Second World War. It is also inspired in part by the images of a lost Eastern European landscape and people captured by the early 20th Century three-colour photography experiments of Sergey Prokudin-Gorsky. Hundreds of fragments of traditional Polish and Ukrainian song have been used to construct a harmonic haze. A hum that rises and falls throughout “Departed Glories” duration. The Folk instrumentation occasionally breaking through. The air haunted, but not melancholy. Not reflective, nor nostalgic, you are instead surrounded and lifted by spirits, by the lives of others that have passed, by history. The air thick with it, buoying you like the salt water of a sensory deprivation tank. Listening to the album is an amazingly, deep, mediative, immersive and transportive process. The best musical clues I can muster might be Isaos` comforting angels (1) inhabiting Grouper`s “Ruins” (2). Apparitions, you can feel them at your fingertips, but they are oblivious to you, busy with the tasks that they have been ascribed for eternity. Observing, unseen, you are ether yourself. Towards the album`s close, sadness does creep in with, with an elegiac Popol Vuh-like grace (3). The music as still as the silvered surface of an isolated lake. Its vapour stretched thin, near invisible.

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