Andy’s Ambient Selection #1: ‘Substrata’

(The first in an occasional series where Andy quacks on about some music he likes)

I don’t just listen to ambient music, honest. but sometimes I’m just not in the mood for loud guitars or something with drums on.  Times like that – often late at night after drink has been consumed – I put on an album like this.

This is an almost beat-less album,  filled with beautifully glacial synthesizers, location recordings of Nepalese glaciers, and field recordings of melting ice and winds howling around mountain peaks.  This is the kind of album you can put on and be taken for a journey. Or as David Stubbs wrote in Melody Maker:

“The best ambient album I’ve heard in an ice age, an album of terrifying, desolate and all-enveloping beauty.”

Biosphere is  Geir Jenssen  from Tromsø, northern Norway, the most northerly city in the world,  350km above the Arctic circle (also the hometown of Röyksopp). It’s hard to see how that environment couldn’t have influenced the sound of the album. The original album sleeve being pure white and icy blue re-enforces that idea.  This is an album that has a sense of place, and I rather like that.

A lot of people claim this is the greatest ambient album ever made. It might just be.

The album can be purchased from Biosphere’s own Bandcamp









One comment

  1. I think you’re on to something big and true with the Scandinavian landscape, climate, culture, psychology and their profound impact on artists. In music alone, as well as Jenssen and Roykssop, I can immediately think of Olafur Arnalds, Gus Gus, Bjork, When Saints Go Machine, Trentemoller, Jori Hulkkonen, Sigur Ros, MO who all bring something ethereal, profound, edgy, poetic, humane, organic, surreal, forlorn, optimistic etc etc! to their music that is hard not to equate, somewhere, somehow, with their Scandinavian provenance.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s