Patashnik has been my favourite album for years: as I am on here to replace the snapped tape in immortal optical plastic, I thought I’d share my impressions. Its actually a good one to own on tape, for a bit of analogue comfort-noise and ease of continuously looping it.
First off, the album is haunting but hummable. Certain other works of Jensen’s (eg Shenzou) sound like a whale with wind but patashnik is an earlier work and remains more strongly in the dance-music tradition, plunging from ethereal heights to pulse-racing breaks with the fluency of a falcon, then cruising in an intellectually active but viscerally tranquil state of grace which can last for subjective days. One track I take issue with has the cheesy sample “…an Extra-terrestrial disk-jockey” repeated several times. In the end I re-recorded the tape with just the intro and the first part of the sample re-cued a few times (”can you imagine..?”). I also threw in the drum solo from a nameless sixties rock song to fill up the rest of the space, and provide a much needed bit of analogue palate-refreshment. 10 minutes of silence were another excellent adjunct to the music, at the end of the other side of the tape.
Listen and love.
‘Novelty Waves’ is the Biosphere song used in the Levi’s advert so many years ago. With its ominous melody and growling bass, it probably is the piece of work that Biosphere (Geir Jennsen) is best known for, but it hardly reflects his full sound. This song was recorded at the time when Jennsen was slowly moving away from the beat driven songs on his previous album ‘Microgravity’, into a much more ambient soundscape electronic field of music.
This album though is probably the best one to go for for first time listeners to Biosphere. It contains a mixture of beat driven and ambient soundscape tracks, as well as icy electro tracks and warm sounding electro tracks. Out of all his albums it is certainly the most listener friendly.
But that doesn’t mean it’s not innovative or cutting edge, far from it. Biosphere is widely respected as a man who can conjure up sounds which other electronic artists can only dream of. This album is quality from start to finish.
Bass Communion – Ghosts on Magnetic Tape
The 2004 masterpiece Ghosts on Magnetic Tape by the musical mastermind Steven Wilson shows his versatility as a musician by creating evocative pieces of minimalism with the aid of processed field recordings as well as using old 78 rpm records played at half speed to achieve an aural, ethereal sound that is all together haunting as it is beautiful. The tracks feel seamlessly linked together but at the same time each inherits a uniquely different sound world.
The tracks make the listener feel very confined within the music, trapped in the pulsating sound, but at the same time drawn in and trying to capture all that is going on. It is that pulsating sound that is so near and dear to myself as a listener of Bass Communion because it makes the experience of intently listening to the record all the more satisfying and rewarding.
The piece, unlike most contemporary music (of which this is most definitely not) has no crescendo or memorable part to the music. It is one constant piece of flowing, morphing sound and should be viewed as such.
To even call it music in the traditional sense is a bit awkward and a moot point. The piece is an experiment in pure sound and what can be done with pure sound. A piece like this challenges what the regular tradition of what sound should be. I recommend this to any beginner of Bass Communion, as this was the first piece that I had heard by one of Steven Wilson’s alter egos and would not be writing this review if I had not heard his other Bass Communion pieces as well.