Biosphere Dropsonde

Dropsonde updates the austerity and coolness of Biosphere’s earlier works with jazz samples. To describe this as jazzy might not be altogether accurate, though. All the "jazz signifiers” are there: ride cymbals, brushed drums, warm Fender Rhodes sounds. However, the rhythms and slowly unfolding melodic structures are way more minimalist, and there’s nary a solo on the disc. The samples, too, are in odd meters, sometimes missing a beat or two just to keep you on your toes. A few songs are more straightforward melodic ruminations over a steady, In A Silent Way-like pulse — like "Birds Fly By Flapping Their Wings” — but others are almost militaristic in their drive; even the name "Fall In Fall Out” evokes its spirit. This disc needs a few spins to appreciate all the long-form ideas that progress over the length of a six minute song, as well as the little stutters here and there that spice up the mood. Perhaps, a series Bad Plus-like deconstructed acoustic jazz arrangements could be the next phase in Biosphere’s journey into rhythm, and this disc could be his tipping point. With such an approach, Biosphere’s next disc might land him on ECM or — gasp! — Blue Note. (Touch)