“Secret Thirteen Mix 054” is a conceptually selected, sentimental music compilation that gradually connects 16 original vinyl records by such influential musicians as Throbbing Gristle, Yellow Magic Orchestra, Bill Nelson, The Human League, Pyrolator and other unforgettable talents. In 1992 the author of this mix listened to the works of Pete Namlook (1960-2012) for the first time and it reminded some of the electronic music heard around 1979-1981. This music was an inspiration for the author to start making music, so this mix is a try to create an atmosphere similar to the mood of the album by Namlook.
The author of the mix is Geir Jenssen (b. 1962), globally known as Biosphere, a Norwegian musician, sound recordist and active mountaineer who lives and works in Tromsø, 350 kilometres north of the Arctic Circle. In over two decades Jenssen has released a notable catalogue of ambient electronic music on such honorable labels as Touch, Origo Sound, Apollo and his own imprint Biophon Records. Jenssen doesn’t need no extended introduction – probably every reader has already heard of his works (“Substrata” or “Patashnik”) and follows his musical path, but in other case you can find more of his biography details on the online encyclopedia – Wikipedia.
“Secret Thirteen Mix 054” is a coherent and touching music selection that shrouds the listener with pleasing nostalgia. Ably balanced mystery and emotional tension uncover high-quality, lasting and the most inventive oeuvres related not even with ambient, but also with industrial, experimental music. The basis stands on the waving atmospheres, memorable resilient melodies and significant rhythmics created with a care and a precise knowledge of hardware and composition. Compelling, powerful and melancholic creations simply confirm that the fundamental concept of this continuous recording is mainly about sublimity of the nature and its fight among harmony, death and paradoxes. The developing of selection is smooth and calm, selected works are being played almost completely. It becomes an expositional compilation, so there is enough time for absorption of every track and freedom of interpretation. Suddenly varying electric piano chords and occasionally emerging sublime old synthesizers interpreted entries are woven together with the professional, wide range melodies. These melodies are submerged in the field of sustained kaleidoscopic and skillfully modulated sound space. All these elements bring a cinematographic feeling and a strange vitality to this selection. Progressively sweeping pad layers and emphatic, sometimes meditative instrumentation arrangements evolve into dramatic, mightily penetrating three dimensional texture which is carefully balancing between light and heavy musical tones. The final richness is extracted from subtly artificial acoustics, repetitive variable musical fragments and diverse rustles that are drowned in a minimalistic sound tension and lower, lightly distorted audio matrix patterns. Light crackles, got from old priceless vinyls, beautifully enrich the wholeness with the subtle and roomy effect which leads to the complete satisfaction of listening.
Robert Motherwell. Personage, with Yellow Ochre and White. 1947.
“Secret Thirteen Mix 054” is like a delicate Robert Motherwell’s modern art painting “Personage, with Yellow Ochre and White” where intuitively saturated and striking brushstrokes create a complex allusion of the existentialism through the abstract graphic composition emerged from artist’s deliberately constructive expression. This rare and exclusive mix should probably be called a masterpiece which fully demonstrates author’s philosophy of sensitiveness, inner peace, refined musical knowledge, ideology of influences and complete feeling of music.
1. Pyrolator – Minimal Tape 1/8 [Ata Tak, 1979]
2. Dome – The Red Tent I [Dome Records, 1980]
3. Throbbing Gristle – Beachy Head [Industrial Records, 1979]
4. B.E.F. – The Old At Rest [Virgin, 1981]
5. Chris And Cosey – Moving Still [Rough Trade, 1981]
6. Colin Newman – Fish Four [4AD, 1981]
7. The Human League – Toyota City [Virgin, 1980]
8. Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark – Progress/Once When I Was Six [Dindisc, 1980]
9. Throbbing Gristle – Distant Dreams (Part Two) [Industrial Records, 1980]
10. Thomas Leer & Robert Rental – Six A.M. [Industrial Records, 1979]
11. Throbbing Gristle – Walkabout [Industrial Records, 1979]
12. Thomas Leer & Robert Rental – The Hard Way In & The Easy Way Out [Industrial Records, 1979]
13. Yellow Magic Orchestra – Castalia [Alfa Records, 1979]
14. Thomas Leer & Robert Rental – Perpetual [Industrial Records, 1979]
15. Ryuichi Sakamoto – Thatness And Thereness [Alfa Records, Inc, 1980]
16. Bill Nelson – The Shadow Garden [Cocteau Records, 1981]
Photo: Trine Falch