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on 3 February 2006
The last couple of Biosphere albums were dissapointing compared to Gier Jessen's earlier works but Dropsonde is a return to form. If you liked Substrata and Cirque then your bound to enjoy this album as Jessen returns to the glacial textures and sounds that made those albums so stunning and beautiful to chill out to. Biosphere's use of jazz rythymes on some of the tracks is reminisent of the sounds he used on Cirque so this new album is equally as powerful and yet quiet and beautiful at the same time.
Note on the album artwork: For some reason the cloud/crosshair artwork from the original vinyl LP and currently shown on Amazon has been changed to a kalaedoscopic solar eclipse effect, which dose'nt really suit the music (or indeed Biosphere's concept) as well. Still this is a brilliant record to add to anyone's electronica collection.
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on 23 June 2006
After four ambient albums that have become increasingly experimental, Geir Jenson has evidently decided to take a new direction with Dropsonde. The key difference with this album to previous ones the use of some dense percussion in certain tracks. It seems like a move away from ambient into a different sub-genre of electronica.

It is not a radical transition. There are a old-style ambient style tracks, minimal and without drums, such as 'Dissolving Clouds' and 'Warmed by the Drift' which conjure images of a cloudy or rainy day like the artwork on the cd (it is a shame the artwork tells us what to think). Many of these are as good as previous works, but despite the different theme, it is indeed time for a change because he has done much of this before.

The new-style tracks have varying degrees of success. Some of the tracks have jazzy drum loops. They work well on 'In Triple Time' because there is a strong melody played over the top, but not as well in 'Birds Fly...'; I feel the synths and effects here are more subtle and the drums distract your attention from them. In this track, as well as others, I think he is stuck between two styles. On the one hand, the subtle ambient sounds are undermimed by drums but on the other, the drums cry out for a stronger melody to be played over the top to stop it being boring. The elements do not quite work together. It would be interesting to see him make some stronger melodies in his music if he is to continue to focus more on percussion.

Among some of the average tracks are a couple of highlights. 'Daphnis 26' is a glowing experimental piece with a beat that becomes increasingly catchy; you are tapping your foot by the end of it. You can almost class this as dance, though it is still nothing like tracks like 'Novelty Waves' in the days before Substrata. This is an impressive effort. The final track 'People are Friends' is a break from his new styles of music and is an excellent piece of ambient that would not sound too out of place on Subtrata.

It is great to see Biosphere continually changing his music, and once again he has produced a pretty good album. With Dropsonde though, he is less successful at creating interesting atmospheres, and at times I think Geir needed to be more melodic in his new approach.
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on 22 March 2006
This is beautiful ambient, electronic music. Along with Marconi Union, Loscil and a few others, Biosphere seem to be developing a new school of ambient music that draws on contemporary electronica especially from the Basic Channel / Berlin scene while maintaining the depth and beauty of such artists as Brian Eno ans David Sylvian.
Essential listening!
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on 31 August 2006
This is darker than Substrata which I loved and grew on me incidentally after some initial uncertainty.

Very minimalist and also quite repetitive more akin to "drone" music in places, but don't let this put you off if you're new to it. There's a lot to hear so you'll need a good system and some good speakers/headphones especially. Beautiful.
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on 4 July 2009
Forgetting about previous, & following works from Biosphere, Dropsonde deserves to be reviewed in its own right.
It's a truly great album, with very nice textures and drones.
Minimalistic beats creep in at points, offering a further lift, but not taking long to be absorbed by the pleasant monotony of the surrounding swelling tones.

I highly recommend this album to anybody who enjoys minimalist ambience of this genre.
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on 20 February 2013
For me, this is Biosphere's last great album and definitely warrants at least 4 stars. Prior to Shenzhou &Autour De La Lune, I wouldn't describe any of his individual productions as purely ambient - more collections of different electronica genres, which is no bad thing as purely beatless ambience can quickly become rather dull, unless sufficiently laced with relevant samples and/or melodies of some sort.

Cirque is one of my favourite Biosphere albums in that it features more "upbeat" tracks with interesting beats and drum patterns that border on drum & bass at times - the combination of Algae & Fungi Parts 1 & 2 is an absolute highlight for me. And Dropsonde marks a return to this slightly more upbeat style - we've got heart-warming ambience of course (Sherbrooke), but as a fan of jazz-infused drum & bass, there is plenty on this album to make the heart flutter. Hugely accessible and highly recommended.
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