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04'06 INTERVIEW
Mountains Interview
Mountaigns

Nightmares On Wax Interview
Nightmares On Wax

Trunk Records Interview
Trunk Records

04'06 FEATURES
Biosphere / Egbert Mittelstädt live
Biosphere / Egbert Mittelstädt Live

03'06 INTERVIEW
Jimmy Edgar Interview
Jimmy Edgar

Clark Interview
Clark

04'06 REVIEWS
Luigi Archetti
Bird Show
Caroline
Depth Affect
Dextro
Dictaphone
Glissandro 70
Kieran Hebden & Steve Reid
International Peoples Gang
Izu
Kyler
Loka
Lionel Marchetti
Miller + Fiam
Matmos
Modern Institute
Same Actor
Thomas Strønen
Terrestrial Tones
Uniform
Vizier Of Damascus
Zeebee

04'06 COMPILATIONS
Pop Ambient

04'06 SHORT CUTS
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Christ.
Fisk Industries
Winter North Atlantic
Chin Chin

 
   
   
   
 
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BIOSPHERE / EGBERT MITTELSTÄDT
Gate Cinema, Notting Hill Gate, London
Wednesday 19 April 2006


Norwegian musician Geir Jenssen is no stranger to unusual venues, and it is not the first time that he lends his music to support moving images, most famously for the 1997 Erik Skjoldbjærg film Insomnia and his vision of the soundtrack for Man With A Movie Camera (Touch, 2001). Yet, here the concept is actually quite different. For five special dates in collaboration with Picturehouse cinemas across the UK, Jenssen has teamed up with Cologne-based award-winning video artist Egbert Mittelstädt for an audio-visual treat.

Playing host to the first sale-out date of this UK tour, the Gate Cinema in London’s Notting Hill may not look much from the outside, but the beautiful Edwardian setting of the auditorium is everything a cinema should be: rich warm reds and golds on the ceiling, wonderful soft lighting, nice comfy sits with plenty leg room… Nothing short of a perfect venue for this performance.

Opening for this first of two London gigs, the second, concluding the tour, being at the Ritz in Brixton on Saturday, was a fifteen minute performance of The Joining Of Heaven And Earth, an sound and film interpretation of the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostella, burial place of Saint James, which once was through to be the end of the Earth. Although the film has something of an old amateur holiday movie, it also provided an interesting counterpoint to the delicate soundwaves

After a short interval and a false start due to a defective video cable, the Biosphere/Mittelstädt set got on its way just after eight. Mostly based on Biosphere’s recent Dropsonde, the soundtrack for the evening provided a good opportunity to experience Geir Jenssen’s highly textural soundscapes and lush jazz-tinted beats in full surround sound. Yet, Mittelstädt’s images of urban life, public transport, roads, bodies or landscapes undoubtedly stole the show. The result of sharp video editing and imaginative use of shapes, his work is the kind of stuff dreams are made of. Or chemically infused delusions for that matter.

Although none of the pieces were especially created to support the music, or Jenssen’s compositions created for the displays, there is a surprising synergy between the work of both artists as they confront the idea of still/motion in a variety of ways. Jenssen’s work can appear monolithic and repetitive for the non-initiated, but rapidly, layers appear that animate the musical structure in totally unique ways. Equally, Mittelstädt’s images often combine still elements within moving forms, challenging the brain to cope in a rational way with distorted reality. At one point for instance, shots of cars driving up and down a busy street are suddenly caught up on a still conveyor-belt-style frozen image from one side of the screen to the other then become animated again, at times vanishing into nothing and reappearing at another point on the screen.

The human brain cannot cope well with so much conflicting information and the work becomes totally hallucinogenic, the music adding another layer of trance to the experience. Lost, one is left with no choice but surrender to the combined assault of visuals and sound for the entire set. The only real concession to Biosphere’s natural open-space settings came as he performed an extended version of The Things I Tell You from Substrata, accompanied by a film shot on a small speedboat. As the camera continuously goes round, the moving image, in the middle of the screen, freezes on each side and just washes away. And this is very much the impression left by the experience. A still life caught in motion somewhere between reality and sur-reality, a mind-blowing moment with no real references to normality…

For details on remaining dates, check out the Picturehouse and Biosphere websites.

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Reviews
10'05
Dropsonde
08'04
Autour De La Lune
06'02
Shenzhou
07'01 Substrata 2
08'00 Cirque
05'00 Polar Sequences / Birmingham Frequencies

Interviews + Features
08'04
GROUND LEVEL Interview with Geir Jenssen

THE SURFER'S GUIDE TO BIOSPHERE
Biosphere
Beatservice Records
Touch

THE SURFER'S GUIDE TO EGBERT MITTELSTÄDT
Egbert Mittelstädt

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