Biosphere Cirque

A cirque is a bowl-shaped hollow situated on the side of a mountain — kind of like the one photographed for the cover of this release. More than just a title, it's the most appropriate metaphor to describe the philosophy behind Biosphere's music — that in order to climb higher, you must first go deeper into the sound as well as your senses. The 11 tracks on Cirque evoke this kind of meditative excursion. They're a series of soundscapes progressing with tremendous subtlety, colour and passion. The album tends to operate in ambient modes, but the Biosphere's production style de-emphasises the electronic-ness of it all, and as a result the sounds have a natural feel. Low-attack synths move like oceans and 808s step like footsteps in the forest. The highlights of the album include "Iberia Eterea" and "Algae Fungi (parts 1 and 11)," with their frenetic rhythms rushing like rapids against the layers. With such vivid scenes in the tracks, Cirque is one of the finest pieces of chill-out music to come out in years. (Touch)