The concept of minimalism is old as the mankind itself. After every flamboyant, ostentatious and showy style came something simpler, clearer, more ascetic. As much as classicism freed baroque from its dark, heavy, exuberant ornamentation, 20th century minimalism simplified neo-romantic pretentiousness. Those antagonistic passions to simplify then pre-combine, straight-up and then round-off are somehow too interwoven with each other. But the stylistic unity, almost imperative of stylish omnipresence are gone and, fortunately, enable the art to go more ways than just one of inter-changing emotional complex.
Geir Janssen, who has been performing under his Biosphere moniker for more than two decades is making an interesting U-turn back to his minimal techno beginnings. It’d be inaccurate to say he comes back to his minimalist roots since the idea of sparseness and sonic austerity has always been the bottom line of his careen. The evolution dwelled in his desire to explore new areas of electronic music. His perception of techno – slow, monotone and serene pulse of supercooled body (Microgravity) – led to epic warmth of cinematic electro (Substrata), which was later stripped down to the clicks and clacks of highly unapproachable ambient (Autour de la Lune).
That “come-back” to minimal techno was surely catalyzed by the selection of his impeccable concept. Exploring the sonics, architecture and security of Japanese nuclear plants, often built on dangerous places by the sea, under clashes of tectonic plates. Given the list of Japanese disasters, the subsequent album might have been eruptive drone, a kind of frightening setback into the challenging, but simultaneously hazardous desires of mankind. Such aesthetics would be too heavy and predictable; Biosphere is a man of not just concept, but also very personal approach and smart capture. So it’s no surprise he goes deeper; not into the depths of earthquakes or into the statics of these nine selected n-plants. He dives deep into the sonic nature of the processes made in the plants.
The imagination on the level of atoms evokes abstract didactic movies filmed in 70s and 80s for the masses to see the exceptional progress of modern science. What was once an unimaginable sci-fi becomes now every-day routine. The mixture of naïve enthusiasm, informed coolness, dedicated curiosity and scientific detachment are best defined in one of the longest composition Genkai-1. The omnipresent beat below the electronic mass is as sharp as it is soft. As if Biosphere intended to say that the nuclear fusion is so common and ubiquitous that we barely percept its inner beauty. That beauty arises from its dangerousness and abstractness which catalyze fantasy in search of some greater force. Such is the appeal of the entire N-Plants which is imaginative piece open for many explanations and warm with Biosphere’s unchangeable signature. Minimal, sparse, exact.