Shenzhou CD

Norwegian ambient musician Geir Jensen's current album goes way beyond the boldest expectations. The new tracks are filled with tranquillity, and even the characteristically sombre Nordic sound clusters stay in the background this time.

"Shenzhou" is Geir Jensen's hommage to the orchestral work of influential French classical composer Claude Debussy (1862 - 1918). Close listening to the tracks reveals unmistakable analogies to Debussy's music, with regard to the facets of the compositional build.

Debussy's music has often been linked to the ideals the Impressionist and Symbolist artists aspired to. Debussy was definitely influenced by Impressionism, an artistic movement that developed during the late 19th century and brought forth artists like Claude Monet and Pierre Auguste Renoir. However, Debussy never tried to develop compositional techniques that would resemble the techniques writers and painters of the Impressionist movement used.

In his orchestral works, Debussy used his own musical language, based on harmonic hierarchies, complex rhythmical structures, and the musical incorporation of time. The development of his compositional methods can be traced by listening to musical pieces like "Images", "Printemps", "La Mer" or "L' apres-midi d' un faun".

Maybe Geir Jensen's hommage to Debussy, one of the seminal composers of 20th century music, will rouse the listener's interest in the original works. Track 11, titled "Bose-Einstein Condensation", is mainly built on minimal and repetitive gentle piano clusters, while the final track "Gravityassist" (a personal favourite) perfectly characterizes Jensen's oeuvre: mellow and saturated, though chilly, sound collages from the wide and empty Northern territories (i. e. Tromso).

"Shenzhou" is an unusual release, nevertheless it fits Biosphere's discography perfectly well. 1997's "Substrata", however, can still be regarded Geir Jensen's masterpiece to date.

For a quick overview on the music of Claude Debussy, the following CD is recommended: New Philharmonia Orchestra/Cleveland Orchestra, directed by Pierre Boulez: "Debussy, The Orchestral Music" (released by CBS Maestro)

(rb, t: rh)

Label: Touch Records
>> Touch Records Website

"Shenzhou", the electronic hommage to Claude Debussy