How often does experimental music succeed at challenging the listener while failing to satisfy? Far too often, if you ask me. That’s why my first encounter with Biome rendered me practically incapable of writing about any other release for my weekly review. Italian experimental label OOH-sounds delivers a post-dub, experimental album that will transport you to futures yet unknown.
Given the current popularity and abundance of advanced musical tools and technology that we music makers find ourselves immersed in today, claiming an original sound in this current musical era is no small feat. Sure, there is plenty of experimental music out there, music that breaks rules and challenges pre-conceived notions of how things should sound, but how often does this music succeed at challenging the listener while failing to satisfy? Far too often, if you ask me. That’s why my first encounter with Biome rendered me practically incapable of writing about any other release for my weekly music review. This album stands out, and left a serious impression.
French artists Yab and Yvanko’s latest collaboration, Biome, is a splendid treat for fans of the avant-garde, a sound designer’s delight. Rich textures and original timbres meet at a crossroads, captivating the listener with a fantastical exploration of futures yet unknown. While many of the tracks on the LP are stripped down and atmospheric, they simultaneously feel infinitely complex the closer you listen.
While each track on the album deserves attention and praise, the second track “Hydrè” stands out for its playful diminuendo. Lush pads gradually emerge and interlock, while aggressively thick 808 kicks, clicks, and snares, break free. A multitude of effects color and excite each element separately, and the result is an unpredictable waltz of fills, hits and brief melodies. Resembling the loose spontaneity of an impromptu jazz improvisation, this song propels its listener into an unworldly realm of the imagination, made of pure creativity and wonder.
Another one of the album’s highlights is the second to last track, “Parages.” Titled after the French word for ‘surroundings,’ “Parages” is truly an atmospheric experience. A sporadic, unpredictable LFO modulates and filters a dub-inspired synth line. A bright and resonant metallic bowed string, of sorts, glimmers and shines in full abstract glory, meandering its way left, right, and all around. This track has a more melancholic feel than ‘Hydrè,’ but shares a similar free-flowing sensibility. Science fiction meets poetic beauty, and the result is both moving and inspiring.
Last but not least is the final track “Espaces Sans Titres,” which leaves behind much of the percussion from the previous tracks on the album, and instead commits fully to utilizing ambient pads. From the get go, a twinkling chime allures the listener and invites them into a sacred space. Dreamy and dazzling, this track dives deep into the airy-fairy, without sacrificing any of its depth and substance. Consistent but not repetitive, one can imagine an entire odyssey unfolding before them while listening to this piece, or at the very least, it will have you basking in its tranquility and mystique. Who says ambient music has to put you to sleep?
Biome may not be well received by all types of music fans, but for those who seek unfamiliar, expressive and exploratory sound, this album is a must. Find this album available as a digital download via the bandcamp link below, or consider purchasing a super limited vinyl copy, featuring four selections off of the release on an elegant white wax pressing, while supplies last.